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
Songwriter(s)José Feliciano
Producer(s)Rick Jarrard
José Feliciano singles chronology
"Feliz Navidad"
"Che Sarà"
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.


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]


Chart (1970–2021) Peak
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


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]


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]


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