Kylie Minogue

It takes two to write a Christmas hit, PRS for Music reports

The songwriting society analysed its database of 22.2 million musical works and the top 20 most played Christmas songs on UK radio, and found that the majority of festive hits have two songwriters behind them.

  • By Lucy Doyle
  • 15 Dec 2017
  • min read
PRS for Music has revealed that it takes an average of two people to write a hit Christmas song.

The songwriting society analysed its database of 22.2 million musical works as well as the top 20 most played Christmas songs on UK radio, and found that the majority of festive favourites were written by two songwriters.

Ten of the most played Christmas songs on UK radio feature two songwriters, including The Pogues' Fairytale of New York, Band Aid’s Do They Know It's Christmas and Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody.

Chrissie Hynde is the only woman to have singlehandedly penned a top 20 most played Christmas song with 2000 Miles, released by her band The Pretenders in 1983.

Meanwhile, Paul McCartney and Chris Rea are the only solo songwriters in the top 20 to have written and performed their own solo Christmas hits, with Wonderful Christmastime and Driving Home For Christmas.

The report also found that contemporary festive tracks written and released after 2000 often feature more songwriters on them than the traditional ‘classics’.

Gwen Stefani's You Make It Feel Like Christmas credits four songwriters while Kylie’s Every Day's Like Christmas and Kanye West’s Christmas in Harlem both feature five songwriters.

Simon Aldridge, head of writer Relations at PRS for Music said: 'The essence of any successful Christmas song is its ability to conjure the festive spirit, be it as a celebration or as a deeper reflection of the season.

'At its core, this can only truly be achieved through writing the kind of lyric and melody that resonates with all our feelings at this time of year, and it’s why, so many of the same classic Christmas songs have been covered and played countless times across the years.

'It takes exceptional songwriting talent to pen a long-lasting hit that speaks to many generations.'

PRS for Music Top 20 Most Played Christmas Songs on UK Radio 2012 to 2016

1. Fairytale Of New York - The Pogues (Jem Finer, Shane MacGowan)

2. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey (written by Walter Afanasieff, Mariah Carey)

3. Last Christmas - Wham! (George Michael)

4. Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid (Bob Geldof, Midge Ure)

5. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day - Wizzard (Roy Wood)

6. Driving Home For Christmas - Chris Rea (Chris Rea)

7. Stay Another Day - East 17  (Dominic Hawken, Rob Kean, Tony Mortimer)

8. Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade (Noddy Holder, Jim Lea)

9. Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin' Stevens (Bob Heatlie)

10. Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney (Paul McCartney)

11. Happy Christmas (War is Over) - John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir (John Lennon, Yoko Ono)

12. Step Into Christmas - Elton John (Elton John, Bernie Taupin)

13. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Tom Stacks (John Frederick Coots, Haven Gillespie)

14. One More Sleep - Leona Lewis (Jez Ashurst, Bradford Ellis, Iain James, Leona Lewis, Richard Stannard)

15. Sleigh Ride - The Andrews Sisters (Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish)

16. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland (Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin)

17. 2000 Miles - The Pretenders (Chrissie Hynde)

18. Winter Wonderland - Richard Himber & Hotel Ritz-Carlton Orchestra (Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith)

19. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)

20. Christmas Wrapping - Waitresses (Christ Butler)