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Mariah Is Our Christmas Number 1 

Tuesday 22nd December 2009

Most performed Christmas songs of noughties revealed

With Christmas only days away, PRS for Music and PPL, the organisations that collect royalties on behalf of music creators and performers reveal the top ten most played Christmas songs over the past ten years.

Topping the chart is Mariah Carey’s classic All I Want For Christmas released in 1994 and written by Mariah and Walter Afanasieff.  Followed closely by the Pogues 1987 hit Fairytale of New York featuring the late Kirsty MacColl and written by Shane MacGowan and Jem Finer.

Chart Position Title  Artist  Release Date  Writer 
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU   Mariah Carey   1994  Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff  
FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK   The Pogues   1987   Jem Finer & Shane MacGowan 
MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY   Slade   1973   James Lee & Noddy Holder 
STOP THE CAVALRY   Jona Lewie 1980   Jona Lewie 
DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS?  Band Aid   1984   Midge Ure & Bob Geldof 
DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS   Chris Rea   1988   Chris Rea  
LAST CHRISTMAS   Wham   1984   George Michael 
I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS   Greg Lake   1975   Greg Lake  
STEP INTO CHRISTMAS   Elton John   1973   Elton John and Bernie Taupin 
10  WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS TIME  Paul McCartney   1979   Paul McCartney  

Source: PPL & PRS for Music

Data was analysed from shops, radio airplay, television, international performance and live music over the decade to establish which songs had been performed most.  

Over the last 10 years both organisations have seen an increase in Christmas themed music played in retail stores in the UK as businesses look to music to boost sales. Research carried out for MusicWorks* www.musicworksforyou.com identified:

  • 1 in 4 people claim to be more generous when buying gifts if Christmas music is played
  • 95% of people say they prefer shopping in stores that play music
  • 50% of people say Christmas music should only begin in stores in December!

A spokesperson for the licensing organisations said, “Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the music we all know and love.  Not only does it make us feel good when we hear it, it also has a direct benefit for those businesses that use it to set an atmosphere and mood and so encourage us to purchase. There is no doubt from the extensive research we have done at MusicWorks that the power of music is such that its use by businesses in public can considerably affect consumer behaviour."    


* Music Works is a joint research project by PPL, PRS for Music and Entertainment Media Research

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.

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