r-3519121-1412977518-7113-jpegGene Autry – “Frosty the Snowman” – (1950)

He didn’t write it, but Gene Autry was the first to record it and made it famous. It was a top ten hit around Christmas of 1950 and would later be made into an animated TV program (though Jimmy Durante sang this song there). If you like the idea of a mid-century Christmas like I do, then this is a must-have song.

220px-Single_Gene_Autry-Rudolph,_the_Red-Nosed_Reindeer_coverGene Autry – “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – (1949)

Gene Autry made a career off of novelty records. Sure, he was the singing cowboy but his Christmas songs are what stood the test of time. Autry didn’t write this song (it was written in 1939) but his version is what made it a song sung in every household. In fact, this song was a #1 hit. Interestingly, this was the only #1 hit to fall completely off the charts from the top spot – a dubious honor, but understandable considering its content and timeliness. Merry Christmas. 

#7 – The Royal Guardsmen – “Snoopy’s Christmas” – (1967)

“Snoopy’s Christmas” is a novelty rock song about World War I from the late 60s from a band who seemed to only sing about Snoopy (their only other hit was “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron,” and this is a follow-up to that). For some reason I really like the part where they sing “Christmas bells, those Christmas bells.” Other songs related to animated characters: “Frosty the Snowman” by Jimmy Durante (the version from the cartoon) and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Gene Autry (the first official recording – he also wrote and performed “Here Comes Santa Claus“).