It’s better to give than receive, but the best is having a 24-year-old song that only seems to gain in popularity every year. I’m just guessing there, since I don’t actually have such a song to my own name, but it must be true! What could be better than sitting back and letting the cash and adoration roll in year after year?
I ask this because on the latest Billboard Hot 100 chart, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” hit a new peak—No. 6—making it the highest-charting holiday song on that tally in 60 years. According to Billboard, only David Seville & the Chipmunks’s “The Chipmunk Song,” which peaked at No. 1 on the December 22, 1958 chart and stayed there for four weeks, has placed higher on the tally.
The reason Carey’s perennial residuals magnet is peaking so high, 24 years after its release, has as much to do with enduring appeal as it does with changing chart rules (when it was first released, a song couldn’t chart on the Billboard Hot 100 unless it was physically released as a single, and for years, recurrent songs were not eligible for the main chart either) as well as the integration of streaming into the chart-tabulating criteria. That said, this is quantitative proof of the song’s unwavering popularity—the next highest-charting Christmas song this week is Andy Williams’s 1963 recording “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” which hits a new peak this week at No. 13. Two spots behind it is Bobby Helms’s 1957 song “Jingle Bell Rock.” Both positions qualify as new peaks on the Hot 100.
Christmas music: still wildly popular after all these years. That is as comforting as it is annoying. (Though “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is not nor never will be annoying!)