The big music news of the holiday season has been Mariah Carey‘s long-awaited rise to number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 with her modern standard “All I Want for Christmas is You.” But a rising yuletide lifts all boats. So while Carey spends a second straight week at number-one on the chart dated December 28, she’s not the only one getting a big Christmas bump.
There are actually four holiday songs in the top 10 this week (watch the countdown above). Following right behind Carey in the number-two spot is Brenda Lee‘s classic “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The 75-year-old singer released the song back in 1958 — like Carey she was in her 20s at the time — and its rise this week means it’s now higher than it has ever been on the chart. If it manages to overtake “All I Want” before the holiday season is over, it would be Lee’s first chart-topper since “I Want to Be Wanted” in 1960. Either way, this is the first time ever that the top two songs on the chart are holiday hits.
Burl Ives‘s 1964 classic “A Holly Jolly Christmas” also climbs to new heights as it jumps from number-10 to number-six. “Rockin’ Around” and “Holly Jolly” were both written by the late Johnny Marks, who was also the man behind “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Silver and Gold” and “Run Rudolph Run.” Interestingly, even though he composed some of the most famous Christmas songs of the last century, he was actually Jewish, just like “White Christmas” composer Irving Berlin.
Bobby Helms‘s “Jingle Bell Rock” moves up from number-15 to number-nine on this week’s chart, though that’s not a new peak position: it previously reached number-eight. But all this remarkable success on the charts for Christmas standards may just be the tip of the iceberg. After all, the sales and streams from Christmas Day won’t be factored in until next week’s Billboard charts. How many top 10 songs will be Christmas standards then? And which will be number-one?
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