Feliz Navidad (song)

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"Feliz Navidad"
R-5762920-1401970702-2196.jpg
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" (Spanish: [feˈliz naβiˈða(ð)]) 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 Christmas classic and has gained popularity around the world.

Background[edit]

Feliciano says he recorded the song while feeling homesick at Christmas, missing his family in New York City and his extended family further afield as he sat in a studio in Los Angeles. He remembered 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," he told NPR in December 2020. "I missed my family, I missed Christmas carols with them. I missed the whole Christmas scene."[3]

Chart performance[edit]

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 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]

Other versions[edit]

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

Charts[edit]

Chart (1970–2022) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[14] 28
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[15] 8
Brazil (Hot 100 Airplay) 102
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[16] 10
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[17] 49
Denmark (Tracklisten)[18] 29
Germany (Official German Charts)[19] 11
Global 200 (Billboard)[20] 9
Hungary (Single Top 40)[21] 21
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[22] 11
Ireland (IRMA)[23] 16
Italy (FIMI)[24] 2
Lithuania (AGATA)[25] 26
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[26] 10
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[27] 16
Norway (VG-lista)[28] 40
Portugal (AFP)[29] 27
Scotland (OCC)[30] 42
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[31] 20
Slovenia (SloTop50)[32] 21
South Africa (RISA)[33] 92
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[34] 66
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[35] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[36] 4
UK Singles (OCC)[37] 25
US Billboard Hot 100[38] 6
US Holiday 100 (Billboard)[39] 3
US Rolling Stone Top 100[40] 6

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[41] Platinum 70,000double-dagger
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[42] Platinum 90,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[43] Platinum 70,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[44] Gold 10,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[45] Gold 400,000double-dagger

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

Other recordings[edit]

In 1980, the song was recorded in Estonian by Apelsin with lyrics by Henno Käo; however, this cover, titled "See viis", is not intended as a Christmas song. The lyrics describe the singer falling in love with someone over a song that they sing, but not being able to remember anything about the song but the melody.

In 1981, the Euro-Caribbean dance group Boney M. included a cover in their Christmas Album. This version remained an airplay favourite in the festive season throughout the decades in Europe, reaching no. 32 in the official Spanish Single Chart.[46] 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.[47]

In 2002, Nick Jr.'s animated TV cartoon Dora the Explorer featured a cover of the song in the Christmas-themed episode, "A Present for Santa", as sung by Dora, Boots, Santa Claus (voiced by Howie Dorough from Backstreet Boys), and all the elves.

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.[48] Their version entered several Latin and Holiday charts on Billboard.[49] Their version also entered charts in European countries like Belgium and Hungary.[50][51]

In 2013, American Christian pop band Unspoken recorded a cover of the song with new verses.

"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.[52] 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 to benefit victims of Hurricane Irma on the Caribbean island of Barbuda.[53]

In 2020, Thalía released a merengue[54] version of the song.[55][56] It debuted at number 17 on the Monitor Latino Pop Charts in the Dominican Republic.[57] On its second week the song moved up to the number 6 spot on that chart with that being its peak position.[58]

Parodies[edit]

In December 2009, a parody of "Feliz Navidad" titled "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.[59]

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.[60]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jose Feliciano". Josefeliciano.com. Archived from the original on December 10, 2019. Retrieved December 10, 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 December 22, 2017.
  3. ^ Del Barco, Mandalit (December 14, 2020). "50 Years Later, 'Feliz Navidad' Still Delivers On Its Bilingual Message". Morning Edition. NPR. Retrieved December 25, 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 December 16, 2020.
  8. ^ "Billboard Hot 100: JANUARY 7, 2017". Billboard.
  9. ^ Trust, Gary (December 25, 2018). "John Lennon & Paul McCartney Holiday Classics Hit Hot 100 at Last, Among 20 Seasonal Songs on the Chart". Billboard.com. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  10. ^ Trust, Gary (January 1, 2019). "Elvis Presley Earns Highest-Charting Billboard Hot 100 Hit Since 1981 as 'Blue Christmas' Jingles In at No. 40". Billboard. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  11. ^ "Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' Jingles Back to No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  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. "As You See Me Now Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine". AllMusic.com. AllMusic, Netaktion LLC. Archived from the original on June 13, 2020. Retrieved June 13, 2020. ...plus a new ska version of "Feliz Navidad,
  14. ^ "ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart". Australian Recording Industry Association. January 3, 2022. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  15. ^ "José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  16. ^ "Jose Feliciano Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  17. ^ "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 January 4, 2021.
  18. ^ "Track Top-40 Uge 51, 2019". Hitlisten. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
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  21. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  22. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Stream Top 40 slágerlista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  23. ^ "Official Irish Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  24. ^ "Top Singoli – Classifica settimanale WK 52" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  25. ^ "2021 52-os savaitės klausomiausi (Top 100)" (in Lithuanian). AGATA. December 31, 2021. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  26. ^ "José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  27. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. January 3, 2022. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  28. ^ "VG-lista – Topp 20 Single uke 52, 2019". VG-lista. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  29. ^ "José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  30. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  31. ^ "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 January 4, 2021.
  32. ^ "SloTop50 – Slovenian official singles chart". slotop50.si. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  33. ^ "Local & International Streaming Chart Top 100: Week 52". The Official South African Charts. Recording Industry of South Africa. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  34. ^ "José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  35. ^ "Veckolista Singlar, vecka 52". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  36. ^ "José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  37. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
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  39. ^ "Jose Feliciano Chart History (Holiday 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  40. ^ "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone. December 10, 2020. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  41. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2022 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved February 7, 2022.
  42. ^ "Danish single certifications – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  43. ^ "Italian single certifications – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved December 14, 2021. Select "2021" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Feliz Navidad" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  44. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  45. ^ "British single certifications – Jose Feliciano – Feliz Navidad". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  46. ^ "spanishcharts.com - Boney M. - Feliz Navidad". spanishcharts.com. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  47. ^ "Boney M". Billboard. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  48. ^ "AllMusic: Michael Bublé - Christmas".
  49. ^ "Thalia Chart History". Billboard. August 23, 2003. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  50. ^ "Michael Bublé & Thalia - Mis deseos / Feliz Navidad". ultratop.be.
  51. ^ "Single Top 40 slágerlista - Hivatalos magyar slágerlisták". slagerlistak.hu.
  52. ^ "TARJA Releases Video For Solo Version Of 'Feliz Navidad'". Blabbermouth.net. December 6, 2017. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  53. ^ "Tarja Turunen Lines Up All-Star Cast for 'Feliz Navidad' Cover". Loudwire.com. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  54. ^ "Thalía lanza una "Feliz Navidad" bilingüe y al son del merengue electrónico". Andina (in Spanish). November 20, 2020. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  55. ^ "spanishcharts.com - Thalia - Feliz navidad". spanishcharts.com.
  56. ^ "Thalia lança sua versão para o clássico "Feliz Navidad"". Successo! (in Portuguese). December 22, 2020. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  57. ^ monitorLATINO. "Monitor Latino Dominican Republic". charts monitorLATINO (in Spanish).
  58. ^ monitorLATINO. "Monitor Latino Republica Dominicana". charts monitorLATINO (in Spanish).
  59. ^ Jose Feliciano Official Site - OFFICIAL STATEMENT. Josefeliciano.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-12.
  60. ^ Ratner-Arias, Sigal (December 24, 2009). "Singer Feliciano protests 'Feliz Navidad' parody". boston.com. Retrieved November 24, 2018.