Chestnuts and Silver Bells

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

It’s no secret that many of the best Christmas songs were written by Jews:

For example, looking at a fairly recent ASCAP list of the most played Christmas pop tunes, it appears to me that of the top ten songs, Jews wrote five and co-wrote two more. Out of the top 25 songs, Jews were involved with at least 11 and possibly more. Here was the top ten:

  1. White Christmas – Irving Berlin (Jewish)
  2. Santa Claus is Coming to Town – J. Fred Coots (Jewish) and Haven Gillespie
  3. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) – Mel Torme (Jewish) and Robert Wells (Jewish)
  4. Winter Wonderland – Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith
  5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Johnny Marks (Jewish)
  6. Sleigh Ride – Leroy Anderson and Mitchell Parish (Jewish)
  7. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Ralph Blaine and Hugh Martin
  8. Silver Bells – Jay Livingston (Jewish) and Ray Evans (Jewish)
  9. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! – Sammy Cahn (Jewish) and Jule Styne (Jewish)
  10. Little Drummer Boy – Katherine V. Davis, Henry V. Onorati and Harry Simeone

The Christmas songs that Jews wrote seldom involved religion, and some were simply ditties about cold weather, but nobody thought to label them generic “Holiday” tunes.

Songwriters, and their bank accounts, appreciated having their efforts associated with the most popular day of the year. There’s no market for songs about snow in January!

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