December 15, 2004's 1st Annual Recent Christmas Song Search

Of course, not a lot of popular Christmas songs have been written since 1969, either. For example, each year, Madonna's 1987 version of "Santa Baby" moves closer to standard status, but the song itself was written in 1953, and originally performed by Earth Kitt.

Dru Sefton wrote:

There are just no up-and-coming, festive standards of tomorrow. Experts say that's because music styles have shifted from lyrics-based ballads to upbeat dance music. Composers have a hard time getting big names to record new pieces. And publishers just aren't interested in sentimental holiday songs anymore.

Virtually all the secular holiday tunes we hear and sing today were written between 1934 and 1958, said Ron Clancy, author of "American Christmas Classics," a set of three CDs, lyrics and an illustrated book.

A few of those favorites: "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," 1934. "White Christmas," 1941. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," 1944. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" 1945. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," 1949. "Frosty the Snowman," 1950. "Silver Bells," 1951.

"One reason why these songs resonate even today is better songwriting," said Clancy, of North Cape May, N.J. "There was a sentimental swing, just a feel to them." ..

To be crass, the incredible royalties you can make from a popular Christmas song ought to motivate songwriters -- for example, one-hit-wonder Elmo Shropshire, a retired veterinarian, still makes $80k annually from having written half of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" in 1979 -- but there are a lot of things our culture can't seem to accomplish anymore no matter how much money is available.

Here's an interview with Justin Wilde that explains the dire economics of modern Christmas songwriting.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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