songs of all time
Listeners can’t get enough of these holiday tunes, which currently top the Billboard charts.
1. “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey
2. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Brenda Lee
3. “The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You),” Nat King Cole
4. “Jingle Bell Rock,” Bobby Helms
5. “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” Burl Ives
6. “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24),” Trans Siberian Orchestra
7.”It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Andy Williams
8. “Feliz Navidad,” Jose Feliciano
9. “White Christmas,” Bing Crosby
10. “Last Christmas,” Wham!
Silent nights are few and far between during the holiday season, especially for those who crank up the season tunes as soon as the turkey has been cleared. And local residents had no trouble naming that one Christmas song that really puts them in the holiday spirit.
For Greensburg’s Tim Dooley, one artist shapes his musical memories.
“To me, Andy Williams is the voice of the Christmas season,” he said.
Yet, the king of all Christmas albums comes from the performer once anointed king of rock ‘n’ roll, Elvis Presley. The Recording Industry Association of America’s figures show that the 1957 “Elvis’ Christmas Album” has sold more copies than any other holiday release — 13 million and counting in the United States.
Angela Lee of Columbus also leans toward the classics when she compiles her playlist.
“Christmas is never Christmas without Bing Crosby and Elvis,” Lee said. “There is just something about the oldies. The newer versions just don’t bring back the memories of childhood.”
Bill Beach of Columbus has listened to Bing Crosby’s “Merry Christmas” LP or its newer CD companion “White Christmas” release every Christmas season since 1950.
“I just like Bing’s voice,” Beach said. “Another one who sings ‘White Christmas’ really well is Kenny Rogers. I just don’t think any of the newer artists sound quite the same.”
Elaine Smith said her children love Mariah Carey’s “Merry Christmas” album and the bouncy single “All I Want for Christmas is You.” But the Columbus resident herself opts for Charles Brown’s “Cool Christmas Blues,” a family favorite for nearly 20 years.
Brown’s voice is as distinct as anyone’s on a holiday disc, Smith said.
Janie Gordon, the choir director at Columbus North High School, fell in love with The Carpenters’ “Christmas Portrait” album, released in 1978. She especially enjoyed the slow and romantic “Merry Christmas Darling” that Gordon later would croon as a vocalist in dinner theaters and elsewhere.
Gordon has included the tune in the North Stars show choir’s Christmas performance scheduled for next week. And her enthusiasm for The Carpenters has rubbed off on Aly Bowman, one of her students, who just discovered the Christmas disc a few days ago.
“I like the soothing nature of their voices,” Bowman said.
Choir student Karina Lugo reaches for Michael Buble’s “Christmas” when she needs to hear the sounds of the season.
“He’s really got a very different voice than most pop singers,” Lugo said. “And he does a little bit of jazz, too.”
Some of choir student Chloe Hundley’s warmest musical memories of the holidays are tied to a little-known 1994 disc of a hodgepodge of artists under the title “An Elder-Beerman Christmas,” sold by the department store. Vocalists include Andy Williams, Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand.
“That is one of our signature CDs,” she said.
Harry Connick Jr.’s “Harry For the Holidays” is the disc choir student Abby Fisher’s family plays each time they decorate their Christmas tree. One tune, “The Happy Elf,” about one of Santa’s helpers making toys, still makes her smile at herself as an excited child at Christmas years ago.
“We always would go get our toys,” she said. “And then we would dance to the song.”
For the children of Newbern’s Janelle Bailey, “Christmas With the Chipmunks Vol. 1” is No. 1.
But don’t ask Bailey to name a personal favorite, even though she’s been forced to listen to the high-pitched happiness in the van too many times to mention.
“I have to admit,” she said with a laugh, “that I try to tune it out.”