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ALL TIME CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN

(Top 40 most popular Christmas seasonal songs based on the Billboard charts.)

(1940 - 1971)

(1st take)

Broadcast 25 December 1971

Christmas singles charted on the pop charts from 1940-1962. From 1963-1971 Christmas singles charted on the Christmas Singles chart. Peak positions for the biggest verisons and its biggest year (these often charted in multiple years) are listed. If a song made the Christmas Singles chart it is listed with an "X". (example #3X/63)

How compiled: All versions of a song were added together. Rank based on sales (as reported by the RIAA and record labels) and on chart performance (as reported by Billboard).

Song Artist with Biggest Version Version's chart history
1

White Christmas

Bing Crosby #1/42 #9/43 #6/44 #9/45 #2/46 #3/47 #6/48 #7/49 #16/50 #16/51 #21/54 #18/55 #65/56 #34/57 #66/58 #59/59 #26/60 #12/61 #38/62 #3X/63 #3X/64 #3X/65 #3X/66 #2X/67 #3X/68 #1X/69 #5X/70
2 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Gene Autry and the Pinafores #1/49 #3/50 #16/51 #70/57
3 The Little Drummer Boy The Harry Simeon Chorale #13/58 #15/59 #24/60 #22/61 #28/62 #2X/63 #1X/64 #1X/65 #1X/66 #2X/67 #1X/68 #2/69 #3/70
4 The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) Nat "King" Cole (The King Cole Trio) #7/46 #80/60 #65/62 #13X/63 #6X/64 #4X/65 #5X/66 #4X/67 #2X/68 #1X/69 #9X/70
5 Jingle Bell Rock Bobby Helms #6/57 #35/58 #36/60 #41/61 #56/62 #3X/63 #13X/64 #4X/65 #2X/66 #5X/67 #16X/68 #1X/69 #5X/70
6 Silver Bells Jimmy Wakely and Margaret Whiting (Supremes version played) This version was cited by AT40 as been the biggest selling version, but it never charted.
7 Winter Wonderland Perry Como (Ray Conniff's version played) #10/46
8 Santa Claus Is Coming To Town Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters (The Four Seasons version also played) This version was cited by AT40 as the biggest selling version, but it never charted.
9 Blue Christmas Elvis Presley #1X/64 #4X/65 #12X/66 #5X/67 #8X/68 #2X/69 #4X/70
10 The Chipmunk Song David Seville and the Chipmunks* #1/58 #41/59 #45/60 #39/61 #40/62 #5X/63 #6X/64
11 Jingle Bells Glenn Miller (Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters version was played) #5/41
12 Frosty the Snowman Gene Autry #7/50
13 Sleigh Ride Leroy Anderson and the Boston Pops Orchestra (The Ronettes version was also played) #24/49
14 Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane) Gene Autry (Bobb B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans version also played #9/47 #8/48 #24/49
15 I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus Jimmy Boyd* #1/52
16 Please Come Home For Christmas Charles Brown* #76/61 #4X/63 #3X/64 #2X/65 #3X/66 #3X/67 #3X/68 #4X/69 #3X/70
17 Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree Brenda Lee* #14/60 #50/61 #53/62 #12X/63 #4X/64 #3X/65 #4X/66 #8X/67 #14X/68 #4X/69
18 Nuttin' For Christmas Art Mooney with Barry Gordon (Ricky Zahnd and the Blue Jeaners version also played) #7/55
19 You're All I Want For Christmas Frankie Laine (not played) #11/48
20 I'll Be Home For Christmas (If Only In My Dreams) Bing Crosby #3/43
21 All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) Spike Jones and His City Slickers (George Rock)* #1/48 #18/49
22 Merry Christmas Baby Charles Brown* #4X/64 #5X/65 #4X/66 #6X/67 #2X/68 #4X/69 #8X/70
23 Christmas In Killarney Dennis Day (Bing Crosby version was played) #10/50
24 (There's No Place Like) Home For the Holidays Perry Como* #18/54
25 It's Beginning To Look Alot Like Christmas Perry Como and the Fontane Sisters (The Chipmunks version was played) #23/51
26 I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas Yogi Yorgesson #5//49
27 Santa Baby Ertha Kitt* #4/53
28 Mary's Boy Child Harry Belafonte* #12/56
29 Christmas Dragnet (Parts 1 and 2) Stan Freberg* #13/53
30 Pretty Paper Roy Orbison #15/63 #27X/64
31 Snoopy's Christmas The Royal Guardsmen* (not played) #1X/67 #15X/68 #11X/69
32 Little Saint Nick The Beach Boys* #3X/63 #6X/64
33 Baby's First Christmas Connie Francis* #26/61 #13X/65
34 Santo Natale (Merry Christmas) David Whitfield* #19/54
35 Santa and the Satellite (Parts1&2) Buchanan and Goodman* #32/57
36 Little Alter Boy Vic Dana (Andy Williams version played) #45/61
37 The Happy Reindeer Dancer, Prancer and Nervous* #34/59
38 Santa Claus Is Watching You Ray Stevens* #45/62
39 Merry Christmas Polka The Andrews Sisters and Guy Lombardo  and His Royal Canadians* (not played) #18/49
40 If Every Day Was Like Christmas Elvis Presley* #2/66 #12/67

*=Means the artist had the only version of the song in which points were totalled.

This countdown was done in conjunction with the year-end countdown for 1971 which came the following week.

The first of two attempts at a Christmas countdown, it would soon prove to be one of the most popular since the idea was both timely and novel. Christmas songs had been hitting the Billboard charts since the beginning. Their short chart stays obscured the fact that many of these singles were huge sellers. Many sold in the millions of copies, but they sold them only in the weeks up to Christmas, plus they sold each Christmas over the years if the label re-issued the record. So they rarely made such charts as the year-end charts. Add this to the fact that some times dozens of artist might record a song. So the time was right to see just exactly what Christmas songs (and in some cases what version of them) were the most popular on the charts and in copies sold.

 Since many of the songs came from the 40s or 50s, playable copies of these records could not be found. Where noted, alternate versions were played.

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