It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
|"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"|
|Song by Andy Williams|
|from the album The Andy Williams Christmas Album|
|Released||October 14, 1963|
|Songwriter(s)||Edward Pola and George Wyle|
"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.
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, 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, kissing under the mistletoe, roasting marshmallows, sharing stories about previous Christmases, and singing Christmas carols in inclement weather.
In a 2005 interview, Williams discusses how The Andy Williams Show figured into his recording of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year": "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."
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 No. 5. 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 No. 25 of twenty-five songs that were ranked that year, it gained steam over the next ten years, reaching No. 18 in 2002, No. 13 in 2003, and eventually getting to No. 4 in 2010.
The song was selected as the theme song for Christmas Seals in both 2009 and 2012.
Other notable versions
- 1999: Garth Brooks released a version of the song on his second holiday album, Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas. Brooks also became the first artist to chart a version of the song in North America, as his country remake peaked at No. 56 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
- 2003/2004: Williams re-records song in a shorter, more upbeat version for the movie Surviving Christmas
- 2008: Harry Connick Jr. released a version of the song on his third holiday album, What a Night! A Christmas Album. This recording peaked at No. 9 on Billboard's Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. BarlowGirl also recorded a version of this song on their Christmas album, Home for Christmas. This recording peaked at No. 21 on Billboard's Christian Songs chart.
Use in advertising and parodies
For years, 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.
Williams returned to the UK singles charts with his 1963 recording in December 2007, thanks to an advertisement for Marks & Spencer, reaching No. 21 in its first appearance in the British charts, also reaching No. 108 on the EU Top 200. It was also used for a Marks & Spencer Christmas advert in 2002.
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.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Christmas in the Charts (1920-2004). Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 65. ISBN 0-89820-161-6.
- Telling ghost stories is a lost tradition on Christmas Eve, By Jeffrey Peterson, Deseret News Thursday, Dec. 23 2010
- Told After Supper, Jerome K. Jerome
- 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.
- "Holiday Cheer". Billboard. 2009-11-28. p. 38.
- "ASCAP Announces Top 25 Holiday Songs -- Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" Tops List". findarticles.com. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "ASCAP Updates Top 25 Holiday Song List -- "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)" Tops List". ASCAP.com. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "ASCAP Announces the Top 25 Holiday Songs – "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" Tops List". ASCAP.com. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- ""Sleigh Ride" Tops ASCAP's List of Most-Played Holiday Songs in 2010". ASCAP.com. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "Harry Connick, Jr. Awards".
- "Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
- "Banderas set for Christmas ad". Metro. 2 Nov 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Antonio Banderas leading man in new M&S Christmas campaign". Daily Mail. London. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- Laing, Dave (26 September 2012). "Andy Williams obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Christmas at the White House An Oprah Primetime Special". YouTube. December 14, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
- Video on YouTube
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