'Have a Holly Jolly Christmas'
This Christmas song was written by American songwriter Johnny Marks, who wrote other contemporary Christmas hits such as 'Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,' 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day' and 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.'
'O Holy Night'
Adolphe Adam composed 'O Holy Night' in 1847, deriving from the French Christmas poem 'Minuit, chrétiens' ('Midnight, Christians') by Placide Cappeau. In 1906 Reginald Fessenden played a violin version of the tune, which ended up being the first music ever broadcasted over the radio.
'Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!'
The song was written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne in 1945 on one of the hottest July days recorded in Hollywood. The love tune never once mentions Christmas albeit the seasonal lyrics and holiday ambiance.
'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree'
Country singer Brenda Lee was only 13 when she was asked to record this Johnny Marks Christmas song with Hank Garland on the guitar. In its first release in 1958 it only sold 5,000 copies, but over the years has sold over 5 million copies.
'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year'
Despite the play time this Christmas song gets today, the song was never released as a single; Columbia Records instead promoted Andy Williams' cover of 'White Christmas' for his 1963 'The Andy Williams Christmas Album.' This song was also selected as the theme song for the Christmas Seals (seasonal mailing labels that raise funds for charities) in both 1968 and 1976.
'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'
This Christmas song first appeared in the movie 'Meet Me in St. Louis' with actress Judy Garland. Originally Garland objected to the song because it was depressing with lines such as, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas/ It may be your last." Revisions were made, resulting in the light-hearted ode we hear today.
'It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas'
Written in 1951 by Meredith Wilson, this song was later incorporated in Wilson's 1963 musical 'Here's Love,' an adaptation of the film "Miracle on 34th Street.'
The song is based off Pachelbel's 'Canon in D Major,' with lyrics sung by the St. Bartholomew's Church Choir (in New York City). 'Christmas Canon' -- released on the 1998 album, 'The Christmas Attic' -- is TSO's most recognizable tune, featured in iTune's Top 100 most downloaded Holiday and Christmas songs.
'The Christmas Song'
'The Christmas Song,' written by Mel Torme and Bob Wells, started by jotting down phrases, 'Chestnuts rolling...Jack Frost Nipping' in efforts to keep their mind off the hot summer day; forty minutes later the song was born. Cole has recorded four versions; the first version (in 1946) was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974, but the final 1961 version with Orchestration by Ralph Carmichael is the version widely heard on radio stations today.
Irving Berlin wrote this Christmas song in 1940 for the 1942 movie 'Holiday Inn' starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. The morning after he wrote the song Berlin told his secretary, "Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I've ever written- hell, I just wrote the best song that anybody's ever written!" The version we hear today is not the original recorded by Crosby in 1942 but a rerecording in 1947 due to damage of the master tape. Today there are over 500 versions in dozens of languages.