Hot 100 Christmas Songs, 1955-2004

Ross Bagdasarian

These are the top 10 Hot 100 Christmas Songs in the rock and roll era, starting in 1955. While there was a particular Christmas chart from 1963 to 1972 and again from 1983 to 1985, the songs here charted on the pop charts.

Many of these will be quite familiar to you, though I’ll admit to being totally unaware of the NKOTB track, the only one I don’t own in a physical form.

The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) – The Chipmunks, #1 for four weeks in 1958. My family owned the single. I particularly liked it because I thought l did a passable imitation of the rodents. Ross Bagdasarian also had a #1 hit in 1958 with Witch Doctor as David Seville.

Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms, #6 in 1957. Background vocalists were the Anita Kerr Singers. The electric guitar was by Hank Garland.

Nuttin’ for Christmas – Barry Gordon with the Art Mooney orchestra, #6 in 1955. I never heard this until I heard it on a compilation CD. Fingernails on a blackboard.

This One’s For The Children – New Kids On The Block, #7 in 1989

White Christmas – Bing Crosby, #7 in 1955. This is the 1947 version, which supplanted the 1942 version.

Mary’s Boy Child – Harry Belafonte, #12 in 1956. The remarkable Jester Hairston, who had a fascinating life as a composer and actor, wrote the song.

The Little Drummer Boy – the Harry Simeone Chorale, #13 in 1958. We owned this single growing up, too. There was a 1965 remake of this song, which takes the ending much slower; I prefer the original.

Also Paul Young

Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid, #13 in 1984. It features members of Kool & the Gang, U2, The Boomtown Rats, Genesis, Ultravox, Bananarama, Culture Club, Heaven 17, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Wham!, Status Quo, The Police, The Style Council and others

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee, #14 in 1960, and #1 in 2023!

Pretty Paper – Roy Orbison, #15 in 1963. I never heard this until I bought Orbison’s Greatest Hits CD collection.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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