Feliz Navidad (song)

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"Feliz Navidad"
Single by José Feliciano
from the album Feliz Navidad
B-side"The Little Drummer Boy"
ReleasedNovember 9, 1970 (1970-11-09)
RecordedOctober 1970
Genre
Length3:00
LabelRCA
Songwriter(s)José Feliciano
Producer(s)Rick Jarrard
José Feliciano singles chronology
"Destiny"
(1970)
"Feliz Navidad"
(1970)
"Che Sarà"
(1971)
Audio sample

"Feliz Navidad" ([feˈlis naβiˈðað] [naβiˈða]) is a Christmas song written in 1970 by Puerto Rican singer/songwriter José Feliciano.[1][2] With its simple, heartfelt lyrics—the traditional Spanish Christmas/New Year greeting "Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad" ("Merry Christmas, a prosperous year and happiness") followed by (in English) "I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart"—it has become a pop Christmas classic.

History[edit]

Feliciano says he recorded the song while feeling homesick at Christmas, missing his family in New York and his extended family further afield as he sat in a studio in LA. He rembered celebrating Christmas Eve with his brothers, eating traditional Puerto Rican foods, drinking rum, and going caroling. "It was expressing the joy that I felt on Christmas and the fact that I felt very lonely. I missed my family, I missed Christmas carols with them. I missed the whole Christmas scene", he says.[3]

Feliciano's 1970 recording 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. As of November 25, 2016, total sales of the digital track stand at 808,000 downloads according to Nielsen SoundScan, placing it eighth on the list of all-time best-selling Christmas/holiday digital singles in SoundScan history.[4] It was also recognized by ASCAP as one of the top 25 most played and recorded Christmas songs around the world.[5]

The original José Feliciano version of "Feliz Navidad" first charted on any of the US Billboard music charts more than two decades after it was recorded, first on the Adult Contemporary chart on the week ending January 3, 1998 (reaching No. 18), and then on the Radio Songs chart the following week (reaching No. 70).[6][7] Two years later, on the week ending January 8, 2000, the song re-entered the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart at a new peak of No. 12.[6] Nearly two decades later, "Feliz Navidad" entered the main Billboard Hot 100 songs chart for the first time, specifically on the week ending January 7, 2017 at No. 44.[8] On the week ending December 22, 2018, the song re-charted on the Hot 100 at No. 42, and the following week became Feliciano's first top 40 hit since 1968 by climbing to No. 34.[9][10] Two years later, and just two weeks after re-entering the Hot 100 chart at No. 45 on the week ending December 5, 2020, "Feliz Navidad" made the top 10 for the first time (at No. 10), becoming Feliciano's first top 10 hit on the Hot 100 chart since his cover of The Doors' "Light My Fire" peaked at No. 3 in August 1968.[11] Two weeks later, "Feliz Navidad" climbed to an all-time chart peak position of No. 6 on the Hot 100.[12]

In 2017, Feliciano released a ska version of "Feliz Navidad" in collaboration with musician Jools Holland.[13]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1970–2021) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[14] 11
Brazil (Hot 100 Airplay) 102
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[15] 10
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[16] 49
Denmark (Tracklisten)[17] 29
Germany (Official German Charts)[18] 15
Global 200 (Billboard)[19] 9
Hungary (Single Top 40)[20] 21
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[21] 11
Ireland (IRMA)[22] 26
Italy (FIMI)[23] 7
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[24] 12
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[25] 4
Norway (VG-lista)[26] 40
Portugal (AFP)[27] 27
Scotland (OCC)[28] 42
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[29] 20
Slovenia (SloTop50)[30] 21
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[31] 66
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[32] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[33] 4
UK Singles (OCC)[34] 40
US Billboard Hot 100[35] 6
US Holiday 100 (Billboard)[36] 3
US Rolling Stone Top 100[37] 6

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[38] Gold 35,000double-dagger
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[39] Gold 45,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[40] Gold 25,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Other recordings[edit]

In 1981, the Euro-Caribbean group Boney M. included a cover in their Christmas Album. This version remained an airplay favorit in the festive season throughout the decades in Europe, reaching no. 32 in the official Spanish Single Chart.[41] Although it has never been released as a single in the US, the cover also entered the Billboard Holiday Airplay chart reaching peak position no. 44 in 2017.[42]

In 2011, Canadian singer Michael Bublé recorded a cover medley of the song titled Mis Deseos/Felíz Navidad featuring Mexican singer Thalía for his album Christmas.[43] Their version entered several Latin and Holiday charts on Billboard.[44] Their version also entered charts in European countries like Belgium and Hungary.[45][46]

"Feliz Navidad" was recorded by Finnish symphonic metal artist Tarja Turunen in 2017, for her Christmas album From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas). On December 6, 2017, a music video was released for the solo version of the song.[47] A special version was released as a single on December 8, featuring Turunen's musician friends Michael Monroe, Doro Pesch, Tony Kakko, Elize Ryd, Marko Saaresto, Timo Kotipelto, Simone Simons, Cristina Scabbia, Joe Lynn Turner, Floor Jansen, Hansi Kürsch and Sharon den Adel. The ensemble version was released as a benefit single and was aimed to earn profits for helping the Hurricane Irma victims on the Caribbean island of Barbuda.[48]

In 2020, Thalía released a solo cover of the song.[49] Her version debuted at number 17 on the Monitor Latino Pop Charts in the Dominican Republic.[50] On its second week the song moved up to the number 6 spot on that chart with that being its peak position.[51]

Parodies[edit]

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 weekly publication. This parody, sung in English, played on the stereotype of Mexican immigrants as heavy drinkers and that illegal 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.[52]

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.[53]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jose Feliciano". Josefeliciano.com. Archived from the original on 10 December 2019. Retrieved 10 Dec 2019. Two years later [in 1970, after the success of the album "Feliciano!" in 1968], in the midst of recording a Christmas album, it was [producer Rick] Jarrard who told Feliciano they needed a new song and encouraged Feliciano as he virtually improvised the enduring classic "Feliz Navidad".
  2. ^ "Feliz Navidad - José Feliciano - Song Info - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  3. ^ Del Barco, Mandalit (December 14, 2020). "50 Years Later, 'Feliz Navidad' Still Delivers On Its Bilingual Message". Morning Edition. NPR. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  4. ^ Billboard Staff (November 25, 2016). "What Are the Top-Selling Holiday Songs?". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  5. ^ "ASCAP Tallies THE Top 25 Christmas Songs". Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2004). Christmas in the Charts (1920–2004). Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 35. ISBN 0-89820-161-6.
  7. ^ "Radio Songs Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  8. ^ "Billboard Hot 100: JANUARY 7, 2017". Billboard.
  9. ^ Trust, Gary (2018-12-25). "John Lennon & Paul McCartney Holiday Classics Hit Hot 100 at Last, Among 20 Seasonal Songs on the Chart". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  10. ^ Trust, Gary (2019-01-01). "Elvis Presley Earns Highest-Charting Billboard Hot 100 Hit Since 1981 as 'Blue Christmas' Jingles In at No. 40". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  11. ^ "Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' Jingles Back to No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  12. ^ Trust, Gary (December 28, 2020). "Mariah Carey's 'Christmas' Back Atop Hot 100, As Dean Martin, Wham! & Chuck Berry Hit Top 10". Billboard. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  13. ^ Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine". Allmusic.com. AllMusic, Netaktion LLC. Archived from the original on 13 June 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2020. ...plus a new ska version of "Feliz Navidad,
  14. ^ "Austriancharts.at – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Jose Feliciano Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  16. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – SINGLES DIGITAL – TOP 100 and insert 202052,53 into search. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Track Top-40 Uge 51, 2019". Hitlisten. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Jose Feliciano Chart History (Global 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  20. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  21. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Stream Top 40 slágerlista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  22. ^ "Official Irish Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  23. ^ "Top Singoli – Classifica settimanale WK 52" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  24. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  25. ^ "Charts.nz – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad". Top 40 Singles.
  26. ^ "VG-lista – Topp 20 Single uke 52, 2019". VG-lista. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  27. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  28. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  29. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Select SINGLES DIGITAL - TOP 100 and insert 202052,53 into search. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  30. ^ "SloTop50 – Slovenian official singles chart". slotop50.si. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  31. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  32. ^ "Veckolista Singlar, vecka 52". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  33. ^ "Swisscharts.com – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  34. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  35. ^ "Jose Feliciano Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  36. ^ "Jose Feliciano Chart History (Holiday 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  37. ^ "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone. 10 December 2020. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  38. ^ "ARIA Accreditations 2020". ARIA. January 2020. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  39. ^ "Danish single certifications – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad". IFPI Denmark. Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  40. ^ "Italian single certifications – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 23 December 2019. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Feliz Navidad" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  41. ^ "spanishcharts.com - Boney M. - Feliz Navidad". spanishcharts.com. Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  42. ^ "Boney M". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  43. ^ "AllMusic: Michael Bublé - Christmas".
  44. ^ "Thalia Chart History". Billboard. 2003-08-23. Retrieved 2019-10-18.
  45. ^ "Michael Bublé & Thalia - Mis deseos / Feliz Navidad". ultratop.be.
  46. ^ "Single Top 40 slágerlista - Hivatalos magyar slágerlisták". slagerlistak.hu.
  47. ^ "TARJA Releases Video For Solo Version Of 'Feliz Navidad'". Blabbermouth.net. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  48. ^ "Tarja Turunen Lines Up All-Star Cast for 'Feliz Navidad' Cover". Loudwire.com. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  49. ^ "spanishcharts.com - Thalia - Feliz navidad". spanishcharts.com.
  50. ^ monitorLATINO. "Monitor Latino Dominican Republic". charts monitorLATINO (in Spanish).
  51. ^ monitorLATINO. "Monitor Latino Republica Dominicana". charts monitorLATINO (in Spanish).
  52. ^ Jose Feliciano Official Site - OFFICIAL STATEMENT. Josefeliciano.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-12.
  53. ^ "Singer Feliciano protests 'Feliz Navidad' parody". boston.com. Retrieved November 24, 2018.