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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 12:30 GMT
White Christmas is top festive tune
White Christmas, written by Irving Berlin and famously performed by Bing Crosby, was the most-played of all festive tunes in pubs, bars and clubs across the UK last year.

Winter Wonderland, originally written in 1934, was second, with Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody third, according to a survey of performances carried out by the Performing Rights Society.

Top 10
1. White Christmas
2. Winter Wonderland
3. Merry Xmas Everybody
4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
5. Fairytale of New York
6. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
7. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
8. Mary's Boy Child
9. Merry Christmas Everyone
10. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
"If you write a classic song that gets into peoples Christmas consciousness, then it's going to stay around for a long time," said the society's Adrian Crookes.

Because Christmas songs do not go out of fashion as quickly as chart tunes, songwriters can earn a healthy amount in annual royalties when their songs are played and released on compilation albums.

"The great traditional Xmas songs have become such a part of Christmas that they are going to stick around," Mr Crookes told BBC News Online.

Christmas songs have always been important, he added, and many more outlets now have the facility to play music - making it seem like the same songs are everywhere.

Bing Crosby
Stars can earn royalties long after the song was released
"Rather than it being more popular to play Christmas music now, it's just that there are so many more places to hear it," he said.

All of the songs in the top 10 were composed in the 20th Century, with Winter Wonderland and Santa Claus is Comin' to Town the earliest written, in 1934.

The most recent was 1987's Fairytale of New York, a chart hit for Shane McGowan and Kirsty McColl.

Crosby's version of White Christmas, taken from the film of the same name, was recently voted number two in a poll of the best songs of the 20th Century.

Which do you think is the best festive song? Vote now!

What is your favourite Christmas song?

White Christmas

Winter Wonderland

Merry Xmas Everybody

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Fairytale of New York

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Mary’s Boy Child

Merry Christmas Everyone

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

4167 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

25 Dec 98 | Christmas and New Year
Stars cash in at Christmas
18 Oct 01 | Music
Crosby heirs sue over royalties
09 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Garland classic heads song poll
23 Nov 01 | Music
Race on for Xmas number one
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