Up on the House Top
|Up on the Housetop
The Airmen of Note, 2009, Jazz Version
According to William Studwell in The Christmas Carol Reader, "Up on the House Top" was the second-oldest secular Christmas song, outdone only by "Jingle Bells", which was written in 1857 (although the latter was originally intended as a Thanksgiving song). It is also considered the first Yuletide song to focus primarily on Santa Claus. In fact, according to Readers Digest Merry Christmas Song Book, Hanby was the first to offer up the idea that Santa and his sleigh land on the roof of homes. Benjamin Russell Hanby was born in 1833 near Rushville, Ohio, the son of a minister involved with the Underground Railroad. During his short life, he wrote some 80 songs before dying of tuberculosis in 1867. Other than "Up on the House Top" his best-known song is "Darling Nelly Gray".
In 1992, a syndicated television special of the same name, produced by Perennial Pictures Film Corporation in Indianapolis, Indiana, was released. Co-writer/co-producer/co-director G. Brian Reynolds also was the voice of Curtis Calhoun, and also composed the musical score. His creative partner, Russ Harris, co-wrote, co-produced, co-directed and also did voiceover work in this special. The special is the story of Curtis Calhoun, a miserable man who wishes that there were no Santa Claus. But then on Christmas Eve, someone is on top of the Calhouns' roof, and Curtis doesn't know whether he is Saint Nick or a cat burglar.
Kimberley Locke version
|"Up on the Housetop"|
|Single by Kimberley Locke|
|from the album Christmas|
|Producer(s)||Mike Curb, Michael Lloyd|
|Kimberley Locke singles chronology|
In 2005, the song was brought back to life with a new recording by Kimberley Locke. The recording broke a Billboard record when it made the largest leap into the Top 5 in the AC chart's history, moving from 32 to 5 in only a week. It was also the second longest Billboard holiday AC chart topper in the chart's history, sitting at #1 for 4 consecutive weeks.
|Kimberley Locke Version|
|US Adult Contemporary||1|
|Hot Adult Contemporary Recurrents||15|
|Top AC Singles of 2006||36|
Other notable cover versions
- Lawrence Welk with Larry Hooper, as "High On The House Top", the same melody with significantly altered lyrics. (1956)
- The King Sisters
- Alvin and the Chipmunks – Christmas with The Chipmunks (1961)
- Eddy Arnold – Eddy Arnold Christmas Album (1962)
- The Jackson 5 – The Jackson 5 Christmas Album (1970). This version opens with a reference to Here Comes Santa Claus and also contains references to basketball (basketball games have been played on Christmas Day since the 1960s) and A Visit from St. Nicholas.
- Sammy Kershaw – Christmas Time's A-Comin' (1994)
- Jimmy Buffett – Christmas Island (1996)
- Reba McEntire – The Secret of Giving: A Christmas Collection (2003)
- George Strait – Fresh Cut Christmas (2006) and Classic Christmas (2008)
- Bradley Joseph – Classic Christmas (2008)
- The Airmen of Note - Cool Yule (2009)
- Fariborz Lachini - Christmas Piano - Solo Piano with Sheet Music (2009)
- Pomplamoose – Hyundai Elantra television commercial and their EP Pomplamoose Christmas (2010)
- Bronson, Fred "Signs Of The Season", Billboard Magazine; December 6, 2007.
- Up on the Housetop (TV Movie 1992) at the Internet Movie Database
"Lonely No More" by Rob Thomas
|Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single by
December 17, 2005 - January 7, 2006
"Lonely No More" by Rob Thomas