It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams 2007 UK single.png
One of artwork variants for 2007 UK single release
Single by Andy Williams
from the album The Andy Williams Christmas Album
ReleasedOctober 14, 1963
GenreChristmas
Length2:33
LabelColumbia
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Robert Mersey

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is a popular Christmas song written in triple time in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle. It was recorded and released that year by pop singer Andy Williams for his first Christmas album, The Andy Williams Christmas Album. However, the song was not released as a promotional single by Williams' record label (Columbia Records) that year, as they instead opted to promote his cover of "White Christmas" as the official promo single from the album.[1]

Song content[edit]

Andy Williams (1963)

The song is a celebration and description of activities associated with the Christmas season, focusing primarily on get-togethers between friends and families. Among the activities included in the song is the telling of "scary ghost stories," a Victorian Christmas tradition that has mostly fallen into disuse,[2][3] but survives in the seasonal popularity of numerous adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Other activities mentioned include hosting parties, spontaneous visits from friends, universal social gaiety, spending time with loved ones, sledding for children, roasting marshmallows, sharing stories about previous Christmases, and singing Christmas carols in winter weather.

In a 2005 interview, Williams discusses how The Andy Williams Show figured into his recording of the song, first introduced in the 1962 Christmas episode:[4]

George Wyle, who is a vocal director, who wrote all of the choir stuff and all of the duets and trios and things that I did with all the guests, he wrote a song just for the show – I think the second Christmas show we did – called 'Most Wonderful Time of the Year'. So I did that, you know, every Christmas, and then other people started doing it. And then suddenly it's become – not suddenly but over 30 years – it's become a big standard. I think it's one of the top 10 Christmas songs of all time now.[5]

Although Williams recorded multiple other versions throughout his life,[6][7] the original 1963 version remains the most popular and well-known.[8]

The song was selected as the theme song for Christmas Seals in 1968,[9] 1976,[10] 2009 and 2012.

Other notable versions[edit]

Use in advertising and parodies[edit]

Since 1995, the song was used humorously in the Staples office supply retail chain's annual back to school advertising campaign. In the commercials, the parents joyously shop for school supplies to this song in anticipation of the upcoming school year while their children sullenly follow.[17]

The Johnny Mathis rendition of the song is used to comic effect in the 1996 film, Jingle All the Way.[18]

BarlowGirl's cover of the song was used to promote Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Winfrey Special.[19]

In the Autumn and early winter of 2011, Nissan Motors advertising for their annual sale included a production number featuring an Andy Williams-like voice actor, with lyrics modified to promote the sale event.[20]

A 2013 YouTube video promoting the Disneyland Resort's Halloween celebrations humorously used the song over shots of various Disney villains spreading mischief throughout resort's theme parks.[21]

In June 2013, Co-op Food used the song for its summer advert, but removed the Christmas references from it.

The song also played by Ellen DeGeneres during the segment of "12 Days of Giveaways".

The song was spoofed again by The Coca-Cola Company in a Sprite Cranberry commercial in 2017. The spoof's title was called "It's the Thirstiest Time of the Year". It became popular as a meme in December 2018.

Chart performance[edit]

In the issue of Billboard magazine dated November 28, 2009, the list of the "Top 10 Holiday Songs (Since 2001)" places the Williams recording of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" at number five.[22] 2001 also marked the first year in which the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) started compiling data regarding the radio airplay of holiday songs, and although the Williams classic started out at number 25 of twenty-five songs that were ranked that year,[23] it gained steam over the next ten years, reaching number 18 in 2002,[24] number 13 in 2003,[25] and eventually getting to number four in 2010.[26]

Because of its use in an advertisement for Marks & Spencer, a CD single of the Williams recording was released in the UK in 2007 and gave the song its first of many annual appearances on the UK singles chart.[27] In December 2011, Billboard returned to the practice of publishing a seasonal Christmas singles chart, and the Williams song debuted at number eight on the newly christened Holiday 100,[28] where it has reappeared every year since. In December 2016, Williams' original version began a series of annual chart runs on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching the top 10 for the first time in December 2018. On the Hot 100 chart from the 2020 holiday season dated January 2, 2021, it reached a new all-time peak of No. 5.[29]

Weekly charts[edit]

Andy Williams version

Chart (2020–2021) Peak
position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[85] 7
Denmark (Tracklisten)[86] 27
Germany (Official German Charts)[87] 22
Billboard Global 200[88] 7
Greece International Digital Singles (IFPI)[89] 7
Hungary (Single Top 40)[90] 39
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[32] 5
Norway (VG-lista)[91] 22
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[92] 15
UK Singles (OCC)[93] 23
US Billboard Hot 100[29] 5

Certifications and sales[edit]

Andy Williams version[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[94] Platinum 90,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[95] Gold 400,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Telling ghost stories is a lost tradition on Christmas Eve". 23 December 2010.
  3. ^ "Told After Supper by Jerome K. Jerome" – via www.gutenberg.org.
  4. ^ Crump, William D. (2013). "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year". The Christmas Encyclopedia (Third ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-7864-6827-0. LCCN 2013023691.
  5. ^ Williams, Andy. Interviewed by Karen Herman. Archive of American Television, A Program of the Television Academy Foundation. emmytvlegends.org, 19 September 2005. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
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  7. ^ (1995) We Need a Little Christmas by Andy Williams [CD booklet]. Nashville: Unison Music V20044. "[Andy Williams:] These all-new recordings feature fresh, innovative arrangements of some of my favorite carols. I felt like I was singing them for the very first time."
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  95. ^ "British single certifications – Andy Williams – It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 13, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]