Five of the top 10 songs on Billboard’s weekly list are Christmas songs that have been around since the ’70s and ’80s.
Whether they’re fraught with personal or political meaning or simple holiday ear candy, one thing is certain: These songs return to the charts like clockwork every December. Other classic rockers managed to hold ground this week, too, minus the holiday fare.
Holiday songs may reach the chart for only six to eight weeks out of the year, but they do it year after year, ensuring multimillion-dollar royalty checks for the writers.
McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” was released in 1979 and charted in 19 countries. It has reportedly earned more than $40 million in royalties and nets McCartney between $400,000 and $600,000 a year, according to Celebritynetworth.com.
Lennon’s “Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)” came out in 1971 and reached No. 4 in the U.K. Part Christmas song, part Vietnam War protest anthem, it reflected the artist’s peace campaign. The song has been covered by a range of artists, including John Legend, Miley Cyrus, Neil Diamond, REO Speedwagon and Diana Ross.
Springsteen’s “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” first began to appear in sets with the E Street Band in 1973, but it wasn’t released until 1982 when it appeared on the children’s music compilation album In Harmony 2.
Eagles’ “Please Come Home for Christmas” was released in 1978 as a result of label executives’ impatience. The band was behind schedule recording its sixth album, The Long Run, and recorded a Christmas song to have something to show the label bosses. Blues singer Charles Brown first recorded the holiday hit in 1960.
You can see the Christmas songs on this week’s Top Rock Streaming chart below.
Billboard’s Top Rock Streaming Songs for the Week of Dec. 11, 2021
01. Chuck Berry – “Run Rudolph Run”
03. Paul McCartney – “Wonderful Christmastime”
04. Eagles – “Please Come Home for Christmas”
06. Elvis Presley – “Blue Christmas”
07. John Lennon and Yoko Ono – “Happy XMas (War is Over)”
10. Fleetwood Mac – “Dreams”
16. Journey – “Don’t Stop Believin'”
19. Eagles – “Hotel California”
21. Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
23. Bruce Springsteen – “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town”
24. Trans Siberian Orchestra – “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)”
25. Elvis Presley – “Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)”
Top 12 Classic Rock Christmas Albums
There’s only so much goopy holiday music you can listen to, right?