Skip navigation links
Our organisation
Our people
Our track record
Corporate resources
Policy and research
Press centre

Fairytale of New York most popular Christmas song 

PRS for Music announces top 50 Christmas Songs

The organisation which represents 95,000 UK songwriters and composers today published the top 50 most played Christmas songs in the past year. Topping the chart is the much loved ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl, followed by Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’.

The enormous 1980s hit, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure’s project Band Aid still proved a favourite coming a close third place. The song features a cast of iconic British songwriters from bands such as Spandau Ballet, U2, Ultravox, Genesis, Status Quo, Human League and Duran Duran.

John & Yoko’s ‘Happy Christmas (War is Over)’ released in 1971 was ranked equal seventh to Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmas’, originally released a few years later in 1979.

More contemporary songwriters, Coldplay came 25th with ‘Christmas Lights’ and British glam rock group, The Darkness ranked 39th with their hit, ‘Christmas Time - Don't Let The Bells End’.

Barney Hooper, PRS for Music said: “It’s fantastic to see so many British songwriters, new and established, consistently loved and played across our airwaves. A well crafted Christmas tune will be enjoyed for decades. It has been a great year for music in this country and Christmas is one of those times when a really good songwriter can shine.”

Notes to Editors:

PRS for Music’s Top 50 Christmas Songs was compiled using data from radio plays in the UK only for the past two years from 2010 -2012.

1 Fairytale of New York The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl  1987  Jem Finer, Shane MacGowan
2 All I Want For Christmas Is You Mariah Carey 1994  Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff
3 Do They Know It's Christmas? Band Aid 1984 Bob Geldof, Midge Ure
4 Last Christmas Wham! 1984 George Michael
5 Santa Claus is Coming to Town Harry Reser 1934 John Fredrick Coots, Haven Gillespie
6 Do You Hear What I Hear? Bing Crosby 1962  Noel Regney, Gloria Shayne
=7 Happy Christmas (War Is Over) John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir 1971  John Lennon, Yoko Ono
=7 Wonderful Christmastime Paul McCartney 1979 Paul McCartney
9 I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday Wizzard 1973  Roy Wood
10 Merry Xmas Everybody Slade 1973  Noddy Holder, Jim Lea
11 Merry Christmas Everyone Shakin' Stevens 1985 Bob Heatlie
12 Sleigh Ride Leroy Anderson 1950  Leroy Anderson
13 Stay Another Day East 17 1994  Tony Mortimer
14 Driving Home For Christmas Chris Rea 1988  Chris Rea
15 Rockin Around The Christmas Tree  Brenda Lee 1958  Johnny Marks
16 Step Into Christmas  Elton John  1973  Elton John, Bernie Taupin
17 2000 Miles  The Pretenders  1983  Chrissie Hynde
18 I'm Gonna Be Warm This Winter Connie Francis / Gabriella Cilmi  1962 / 2008  Hank Hunter, Mark Barkan
19 Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)  Darlene Love 1963  Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector
20 Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Vaughn Monroe / Dean Martin / Smokey Robinson & The Miracles 1945 / 1959 / 1963  Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
21 Stop The Calvary  Jona Lewie  1980  Jona Lewie
22 Frosty The Snowman  Gene Autry & The Cass Country Boys / Perry Como / Johnny Mathis / Kimberley Locke 1950 / 1957 / 2003 / 2007  Walter "Jack" Rollins, Steve Nelson
23 White Christmas  Bing Crosby  1942  Irving Berlin
24 I Believe In Father Christmas  Greg Lake / Toyah Wilcox / Elaine Paige  1975 / 1982 / 1986  Greg Lake / Peter Sinfield
25 Christmas Lights  Coldplay  2010  Guy Berryman, Johnny Buckland, Will Champion, Chris Martin
26 Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) The Nat King Cole Trio  1946  Mel Tormé, Bob Wells
27 Thank God It's Christmas  Queen  1984  Brain May, Roger Taylor
28 It's The Most Wonderful Time of Year  Andy Williams  1963  Edward Pola, George Wyle
29 Santa Baby  Eartha Kitt  1953  Joahn Javits, Phillip Springer
30 Christmas Wrapping  The Waitresses 1981  Chris Butler
31 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Frank Sinatra  1957  Ralph Blanew, Hugh Martin
32 Please Come Home For Christmas  Charles Brown, The Eagles, Jon Bon Jovi  1961 / 1978 / 1995 Charles Brown, Gene Redd
33 A Spaceman Came Travelling  Chris de Burgh 1976  Chris de Burgh
34 A Winter's Tale  David Essex  1982  Mike Batt / Tim Rice
35 Lonely This Christmas  MUD  1974  Nicky Chinn, Mike Chapman
36 Cold December Night  Michael Bublé  2011  Michael Bublé, Alan Chang, Bob Rock
37 Mistletoe And Wine Cliff Richard  1988  Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart, Keith Strachan
38 Merry Christmas Bryan Adams  2011  Bryan Adams
39 Christmas Time - Don't Let The Bells End The Darkness  2003  Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins, Frankie Poullain, Ed Graham
40 Mary's Boy Child - Oh My Lord  Boney M 1978  Jester Hairston, Frank Farian, Fred Jay, Lorin
41 Power Of Love Frankie Goes to Hollywood 1984  Peter Gill, Holly Johnson, Mark O'Toole
42 Blue Christmas Elvis Presley 1957  Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson
43 When A Child Is Born (Soleado) Johnny Mathis  1976  Ciro Dammiccom, Fred Jay
44 Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer  Gene Autry  1949  Johnny Marks
45 Winter Wonderland  Perry Como  1934  Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith
46 I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus  Jimmy Boyd  1952  Tommie Connor
47 Mary's Boy Child  Harry Belafonte  1957  Jester Hairston
48 It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas  Perry Como & The Fontana Sisters  1951  Meredith Wilson
49 The Little Drummer Boy  Harry Simeone Chorale  1958  Harry Simeone, K. K. Davis, Henry Onorati
50 We Wish You A Merry Christmas  - - -

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of over 125,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. As a membership organisation it ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced, championing the importance of copyright to protect and support the UK music industry. The UK has a proud tradition of creating wonderful music that is enjoyed the world over and PRS for Music has been supporting the creators of that music since 1914.

PRS for Music provides business and community groups with easy access to nearly 15m songs through its music licences. In an industry worth over £4.1bn, PRS for Music is uniquely placed to be a voice for music and music creators. Collecting £621.5m in 2016, PRS for Music is one of the world’s most efficient combined rights organisations. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators.

Contact us

Press Enquiries

Coral Williamson
Communications Executive

Stefania Pavlou
Communications Manager, Media Relations

+44 (0)20 3741 4777

Marketing Enquiries

Ben Dancer
Marketing Executive


PRS Big Numbers
Follow us on M Magazine Twitter Facebook Linked In YouTube
© PRS for Music