It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
|"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"|
|Song by Andy Williams from the album The Andy Williams Christmas Album|
|Writer||Edward Pola and George Wyle|
"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is a popular Christmas song written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle. It was recorded and released that year by pop singer Andy Williams for his first Christmas album, The Andy Williams Christmas Album. However, the song was not released as a promotional single by Williams' record label (Columbia Records) that year, as they instead opted to promote his cover of "White Christmas" as the official promo single from the album.
The song is a celebration and description of activities associated with the Christmas season, focusing primarily on get-togethers between friends and families. Among the activities included in the song is the telling of "scary ghost stories," a Victorian Christmas tradition that has mostly fallen into disuse, but survives in the Seasonal popularity of numerous adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Other activities mentioned include hosting parties, spontaneous visits from friends, universal social gaiety, spending time with loved ones, sledding for children, kissing under the mistletoe, roasting marshmallows (presumably over a fireplace and not a campfire as in the summer), sharing stories about previous Christmases (including, presumably, the first Christmas), and singing Christmas carols in inclement weather.
In a 2005 interview, Williams discusses how The Andy Williams Show figured into his recording of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year": "George Wyle, who is a vocal director, who wrote all of the choir stuff and all of the duets and trios and things that I did with all the guests, he wrote a song just for the show -- I think the second Christmas show we did -- called "Most Wonderful Time of the Year". So I did that, you know, every Christmas, and then other people started doing it. And then suddenly it's become—not suddenly but over 30 years—it's become a big standard. I think it's one of the top 10 Christmas songs of all time now."
In the issue of Billboard magazine dated November 28, 2009, the list of the "Top 10 Holiday Songs (Since 2001)" places the Williams recording of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" at No. 5. 2001 also marked the first year in which the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (also known as ASCAP) started compiling data regarding the radio airplay of holiday songs, and although the Williams classic started out at No. 25 of twenty-five songs that were ranked that year, it gained steam over the next ten years, reaching No. 18 in 2002, No. 13 in 2003, and eventually getting to No. 4 in 2010.
The song was also selected as the theme song for Christmas Seals in both 2009 and 2012.
- 1968: Jazz pianist Pete Jolly recorded an instrumental version for Something Festive, a multi-artist holiday compilation of A&M Records artists distributed by BF Goodrich. Jolly re-recorded the tune in 2009 for the Mack Avenue Records compilation Jazz Yule Love.
- 1986: Johnny Mathis released a version of the song on his fourth holiday album, Christmas Eve with Johnny Mathis.
- 1993: Plácido Domingo, Diana Ross, and José Carreras released the song on their live holiday concert album, Christmas in Vienna.
- 1998: Vince Gill released a version of the song on his second holiday album, Breath of Heaven: A Christmas Collection.
- 1999: Garth Brooks released a version of the song on his second holiday album, Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas. Brooks also became the first artist to chart a version of the song in North America, as his country remake peaked at # 56 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
- 2005: The Blenders released a version of the song on their third holiday album, Most Wonderful Time.
- 2006: Gonzo the Great and Rizzo the Rat released a cover of the song on the Muppets' holiday album, The Muppets: A Green and Red Christmas.
- 2007: Captain & Tennille included a version on their album The Secret of Christmas, and it was released as a single the same year.
- 2008: Harry Connick, Jr. released a version of the song on his third holiday album, What a Night! A Christmas Album. This recording peaked at # 9 on Billboard's Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart (the highest charting version of the song to date in the United States).
- 2009: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed the song, with guest vocalist Natalie Cole, during their 2009 Christmas concert at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. This version was included the following year as part of a PBS special of the concert, and was released on a DVD of the concert as well as the CD It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
- 2010: Celtic Thunder released a cover of the song as part a medley with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" on their holiday album, Christmas.
- 2010: Take 6 released a version of the song on their holiday album, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
- 2011: Paul Anka released a version of the song on his holiday album Songs of December.
- 2011: Chicago released a version of the song on their third holiday album, Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three.
- 2011: Scott Weiland released a version of the song on his holiday album, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
Use in advertising and parodies
For years, the song was used in a humorous fashion in the Staples office supply retail chain's annual back to school advertising campaign. In the commercials, the parents joyously shop for school supplies to this song in anticipation of the upcoming school year while their children sullenly follow.
Williams returned to the UK singles charts with his 1963 recording in December 2007, thanks to an advertisement for Marks & Spencer, reaching No. 21 in its first appearance in the British charts, also reaching No. 108 on the EU Top 200. It was also used for a Marks & Spencer Christmas advert in 2002.
In the Autumn and early winter of 2011, Nissan Motors advertising for their annual sale included a production number featuring an Andy Williams-like voice actor, with lyrics modified to promote the sale event.
In 2008, Bob Rivers teamed up with Richard Simmons to record a parody version, "It's the Most Fattening Time of the Year." The song is the lead track to the album More Twisted Christmas. In the parody, Simmons appears as himself, panicked at numerous indulgences occurring in the song, scolding Rivers when he (Rivers) asks for a hot buttered roll, ominously warning him that "I'm watching!!"
The song is also used for promotional reasons during The Ellen DeGeneres Show's "12 Days of Giveaways." Generally, Ellen DeGeneres segues into her giveaways segment by tricking her audience with something embarrassing or dramatic, with the song starting the segment.
In 2013, The Co-Operative's Summer advertising campaign features the song with all Christmas references taken out.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Christmas in the Charts (1920-2004). Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 65. ISBN 0-89820-161-6.
- Telling ghost stories is a lost tradition on Christmas Eve, By Jeffrey Peterson, Deseret News Thursday, Dec. 23 2010
- Told After Supper, Jerome K. Jerome
- Williams, Andy. Interviewed by Karen Herman. Archive of American Television, A Program of the Television Academy Foundation. emmytvlegends.org, 19 September 2005. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "Holiday Cheer". Billboard. 2009-11-28. p. 38.
- "ASCAP Announces Top 25 Holiday Songs -- Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" Tops List". findarticles.com. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "ASCAP Updates Top 25 Holiday Song List -- "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)" Tops List". ASCAP.com. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "ASCAP Announces the Top 25 Holiday Songs -- "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" Tops List". ASCAP.com. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- ""Sleigh Ride" Tops ASCAP's List of Most-Played Holiday Songs in 2010". ASCAP.com. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- Artist Chart History - Harry Connick, Jr., Billboard.com
- "Banderas set for Christmas ad". Metro. 2 Nov 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Antonio Banderas leading man in new M&S Christmas campaign". Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- Laing, Dave (26 September 2012). "Andy Williams obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- Video on YouTube