Performance rights organization ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) has released the annual list of its top 25 most played holiday songs of the year, which includes nine of radio's 10 most played holiday recordings of the season, according to Mediabase's season-to-date holiday airplay chart. Twenty-two of ASCAP's 25 listed songs are represented – two of those 22 with as many as three different recorded versions – on Mediabase's top 50.
The ranking of songs written, co-written or arranged by ASCAP songwriters and composers, based on an analysis of streaming and broadcast radio data and continued ASCAP membership, shows the Meredith Willson-penned “It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” back at the top of the list for the first time since 2019. Bing Crosby's version of the song that dates to 1951 ranks ninth on Mediabase's chart, with versions from Johnny Mathis and Michael Bublé at No.'s 14 and 24, respectively.
Placing second is “Sleigh Ride,” written in 1948 by Leroy Anderson, whose instrumental version ranks 30th according to Mediabase. The Ronettes' take on the song, with added lyrics written by Mitchell Parish, is No. 8 in radio spins.
Johnny Marks, the only songwriter represented by more than one song on ASCAP's list, places three in its top 10: “A Holly Jolly Christmas” (No. 3) and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (No. 5), both from the animated “Rudolph” TV perennial, and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” (No. 10). Brenda Lee's version of the latter ranks third on Mediabase, while Burl Ives versions of “Holly Jolly” and “Rudolph” place at No.'s 4 and 13.
The Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne-written “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow,” fourth in ASCAP's ranking, is represented at radio primarily by Dean Martin's version, 10th-ranked on Mediabase, while three versions of the PRO's No. 6, “Jingle Bell Rock,” appear on the airplay top 50, led by Bobby Helms' 1957 original at No. 7.
Rounding out ACAP's top 10 are: at No. 7, “It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” the Andy Williams original of which places sixth on Mediabase; “Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town” eighth, with both the Jackson 5's version and Frank Sinatra and Cyndi Lauper's duet in the airplay top 50; and at ninth, Mariah Carey's “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” co-written with Walter Afanasieff and topping Mediabase's Christmas list.
Also on ASCAP's top 25 is José Feliciano's “Feliz Navidad,” currently at No. 2 on Mediabase's holiday airplay chart. Others listed by ASCAP and also in Mediabase's top 50: “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” “Winter Wonderland,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Jingle Bells,” “Deck the Halls,” “Blue Christmas,” “You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” Kelly Clarkson's “Underneath the Tree,” Paul McCartney's “Wonderful Christmastime” and “White Christmas,” written by one of ASCAP's founders, Irving Berlin.