As the warm embrace of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” and the joyful strums of José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” welcome the holiday season, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers, is celebrating the rising stars of the holiday canon alongside our cherished seasonal standards. With a double dose of holiday cheer, ASCAP has announced both the Top 10 ASCAP New Classic Holiday Songs and the Top 25 ASCAP Holiday Songs for 2021.
With three songs out of 10 on ASCAP’s New Classic Holiday Songs chart, beloved pop star Kelly Clarkson takes home the #1 spot for her hit “Underneath the Tree,” written with songwriting powerhouse Greg Kurstin. Captivating holiday listeners, Ariana Grande’s playful “Santa Tell Me,” written alongside hitmakers Savan Kotecha and Ilya Salmanzadeh, and Justin Bieber’s charming “Mistletoe,” co-written by acclaimed songwriter Adam Messinger, round out the top three trending tinsel tunes for 2021.
ASCAP’s seasonal standards continue to shine bright, and a few are also celebrating significant anniversaries this year. Reminiscing about a cozy old-fashioned Christmas, Irving Berlin’s Academy Award-winning “White Christmas” has been gifting cheer for 80 years. Iconic holiday hit “The Christmas Song,” written by Mel Tormé and Robert Wells, continues to delight listeners after 75 years, while Meredith Willson’s lighthearted standard "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" turns 70 years old.
No stranger to the holiday charts, Johnny Marks’s timeless tunes “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” still enchant listeners, staying in constant rotation throughout the festive season. And Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” makes holiday history, becoming the first holiday song to sell over 10 million copies in the US, reaching RIAA diamond status. The instant classic, originally released in 1994, spent five weeks at #1 in 2020 and tops Billboard’s Greatest of All Time Holiday 100 Songs chart.
Below are the top 10 most played ASCAP New Classic Holiday Songs of 2021* and the top 25 most played ASCAP Holiday Songs of 2021**, all written or co-written by ASCAP songwriters and composers. Each song lists ASCAP-licensed songwriter credits and copyright date.
- “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson and Greg Kurstin (2013)
- “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande, Savan Kotecha and Ilya Salmanzadeh (2013)
- “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber and Adam Messinger (2011)
- “Like It's Christmas” by Gian Stone (2019)
- “Snowman” by Greg Kurstin and Sia (2017)
- “Christmas Isn't Canceled (Just You)” by Kelly Clarkson and Jessi Collins (2021)
- “Believe” by Glen Ballard (2004)
- “Cozy Little Christmas” by Ferras Alqaisi, Katy Perry and Greg Wells (2018)
- “Favorite Time of Year” by Chris DeStefano and Hillary Lindsey (2020)
- “Under the Mistletoe” by Kelly Clarkson (2020)
THE TOP 25 ASCAP HOLIDAY SONGS OF 2021:
- “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson and Mitchell Parish (1948)
- “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne (1945)
- “A Holly Jolly Christmas” by Johnny Marks (1962)
- “It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Meredith Willson (1951)
- “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” by Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie (1934)
- “Jingle Bell Rock” by Joseph Carleton Beal and James Ross Boothe (1958)
- “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Johnny Marks (1949)
- “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Johnny Marks (1958)
- “Winter Wonderland” by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith (1934)
- “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin (1944)
- “Last Christmas” by George Michael (1984)
- “Frosty the Snowman” by Steve Nelson and Walter E. Rollins (1950)
- “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Edward Pola and George Wyle (1963)
- “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Walter Afanasieff and Mariah Carey (1994)
- “The Christmas Song” by Mel Tormé and Robert Wells (1946)
- “Jingle Bells” by James Lord Pierpont; Frank Sinatra version arranged by Gordon Jenkins (ASCAP, 1958)
- “Do You Hear What I Hear?” by Noel Regney and Gloria Shain (1962)
- “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin (1941)
- “Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane)” by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman (1947)
- “Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano (1970)
- “Silver Bells” by Raymond Evans and Jay Livingston (1950)
- “Santa Baby” by Joan Javits, Anthony Springer and Philip Springer (1953)
- “Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season” by Kay Tompson and Irving Berlin (1942)
- “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Kim Gannon, Walter Ken and Buck Ram (1943)
- “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney (1979)
Spotify playlist: https://bit.ly/ASCAPTop25
*Based on an analysis of ASCAP streaming and terrestrial radio data for songs with a copyright date after 2001.
**Based on an analysis of ASCAP streaming and terrestrial radio data.