A Holly Jolly Christmas

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"A Holly Jolly Christmas"
A Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives.jpg
Single by Burl Ives
from the album Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer soundtrack
B-side "Snow for Johnny"
Released November 1964
Format 7" single
Recorded Columbia Studios Nashville,TN
Genre Christmas, traditional pop
Length 2 minutes, 15 seconds
Label Decca
Songwriter(s) Johnny Marks
Burl Ives singles chronology
"Pearly Shells (Popo O Ewa)"
"A Holly Jolly Christmas"

"Pearly Shells (Popo O Ewa)"
"A Holly Jolly Christmas"

"A Holly Jolly Christmas" is a Christmas song written by Johnny Marks and most famously performed by Burl Ives. The song has since become one of the Top 25 most-performed "holiday" songs written by ASCAP members, for the first five years of the 21st century.[1]


"A Holly Jolly Christmas" was written by Johnny Marks in 1962. It was the title song of the Quinto Sisters' first album Holly Jolly Christmas, recorded in June 1964 by Columbia Records, featuring guitarist Al Caiola with arrangements by Frank Hunter and Marty Manning.[2]

The song was featured in the 1964 Rankin-Bass Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in which Burl Ives voiced the narrator, Sam the Snowman. Originally to be sung by Larry D. Mann as Yukon Cornelius, the song, as well as "Silver and Gold," was given to Burl Ives due to his singing fame.[3] This version was also included on the soundtrack album for the special and later released as a single.

The song was re-recorded by Ives for his 1965 holiday album, Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. This version of the song has a somewhat slower arrangement than the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer version and features an acoustic guitar solo introduction; it is this version that has since become the more commonly heard rendition on radio. The song's enduring popularity is evidenced by its reaching #30 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in 1998, as well as #21 on the US Country Digital Songs chart and #5 on the Holiday 100 chart in 2011.[4][5] The song charted on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in 2017, after rules on chart eligibility for older songs had been relaxed several years before, and reached a peak of #38.[6]

Chart performance[edit]

Burl Ives version[edit]

Chart (1998) Peak
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[4] 30
Chart (2010) Peak
US Country Digital Songs (Billboard)[7] 21
Chart (2011–14) Peak
US Holiday 100 (Billboard)[5] 5
Chart (2017) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 38

Alan Jackson version[edit]

Chart (1997–98) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[9] 51

Lady Antebellum version[edit]

Chart (2012–16) Peak
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[10] 2
US Country Airplay (Billboard)[11] 37
US Holiday 100 (Billboard)[12] 80
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[13] 35

Jerrod Niemann version[edit]

Chart (2014–15) Peak
US Country Airplay (Billboard)[14] 53


  1. ^ "ASCAP Announces Top 25 Holiday Songs – "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting...)" Tops List". Ascap.com. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  2. ^ http://www.falalalala.com/the-quinto-sisters-first-to-sing-holly-jolly-christmas-even-before-burl-ives/
  3. ^ "Holly Jolly Christmas". songfacts.com.
  4. ^ a b "Burl Ives Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  5. ^ a b "Burl Ives Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Billboard Holiday 100 for Burl Ives.
  6. ^ "Hot 100 Chart Moves: Eminem & Ed Sheeran's 'River' Flows in at No. 11". Billboard. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Burl Ives Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Billboard Country Digital Songs for Burl Ives.
  8. ^ "Burl Ives Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Alan Jackson Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Lady Antebellum Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Lady Antebellum Chart History (Country Airplay)". Billboard.
  12. ^ "Lady Antebellum – Chart history". Billboard Holiday 100 for Lady Antebellum. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  13. ^ "Lady Antebellum Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  14. ^ "Jerrod Niemann Chart History (Country Airplay)". Billboard.

External links[edit]