Feliz Navidad (song)

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"Feliz Navidad"
Single by José Feliciano
from the album Feliz Navidad
Released 1970
Recorded 1970
Genre Latin pop, holiday
Label RCA
Writer(s) José Feliciano
Music sample
For other uses, see Feliz Navidad (disambiguation)

"Feliz Navidad" is a Christmas song written in 1970 by the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter José Feliciano.[1] With its simple Spanish chorus (the traditional Christmas/New Year greeting, "Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad" meaning "Merry Christmas, a prosperous year and happiness") and equally simple English verse "I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart", it has become a classic Christmas pop song in the United States, throughout the Spanish-speaking world and internationally.

Feliciano's version of "Feliz Navidad" (in which he plays both an acoustic guitar and a Puerto Rican Cuatro) is one of the most downloaded and aired Christmas songs in the United States and Canada. The album drummer was Paulinho Magalhaes. The addition of the horns as a final touch was the idea of producer Rick Jarrard. It was also recognized by ASCAP as one of the top 25 most played and recorded Christmas songs around the world.[2]


The song has been covered numerous times and adapted to various languages and released as remixes. Well-known covers include those by Boney M, Michael Bublé featuring Thalía, Glee Cast, Il Volo featuring Belinda, Celine Dion, Clay Walker, Billy T. James, Luciano Pavarotti, El Vez, Walk off the Earth and Indonesia female group 7icons. The song was also performed by Charo on Pee-wee's Christmas Special.

Parody and controversy

In December 2009 a parody of "Feliz Navidad" entitled "The Illegal Alien Christmas Song" was created by radio producers Matt Fox and A.J. Rice and posted on the website for Human Events, a Washington-based conservative weekly publication. The parody, sung in English, played on the stereotype of Latino immigrants as heavy drinkers and that undocumented immigrants were going to "spread bubonic plague". Feliciano released a statement on December 23 on his official website:

"This song has always been a bridge to the cultures that are so dear to me, never as a vehicle for a political platform of racism and hate. It's disgusting and my only wish that my song and I are distanced from the whole affair as soon as possible."[3]

In a statement to the Associated Press the same day, Jed Babbin, Human Events' site editor, apologized for "any offense that Mr. Feliciano may have taken from this parody" and removed it from the site.[4]

In 1997 DJ Bob Rivers released the CD More Twisted Christmas, which included a drunk-driving spoof of "Feliz Navidad" called "Police Stop My Car." There is also a Dutch version about a stolen bicycle [5]