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Popular Christmas Songs, Ranked

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Like it or not, when December rolls around, holiday tunes score our lives. But this merry and bright — and inescapable — soundtrack is divisive: Some songs are nostalgic, catchy and long-awaited, while others are laughable, terrible parts of our Christmastime collective consciousness.

This year, we’ve made a list (and checked it twice) of the best and worst Christmas songs, so read on to find out how your favorite — and most dreaded — earworms stack up.

#20. “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses

The instant success of this 1981 tune from new wave band The Waitresses surprised everyone — including the band. Commissioned by ZE Records for a Christmas compilation album, “Christmas Wrapping” was the last thing the band wanted to deal with in the midst of a difficult tour.

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Despite Patty Donahue’s upbeat vocals, songwriter Chris Butler said the song is about his hatred of Christmas. For him, Christmas in New York was “something to cope with.” Regardless of Butler’s intention, Brooklyn hipsters — and hipsters worldwide — latched onto the charming track, which AllMusic later dubbed “one of the best holiday pop tunes ever recorded.”

#19. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” — Brenda Lee & Ingrid Michaelson Versions

Written by Johnny Marks, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” was first recorded in 1958 by Brenda Lee, who was just 13 years old at the time. When the song turned 50 in 2008, Lee’s version surpassed 25 million copies in sales and became the fourth most-downloaded Christmas single.

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Part rock and roll, part country, the song embraces genres that weren’t typically associated with holiday hits back in the ’50s. Since its initial success, the tune has been covered by countless artists, from LeAnn Rimes to Ingrid Michaelson. Like its spiritual sibling “Jingle Bell Rock,” this song inspires even the Scrooge-iest among us to dance.

#18. “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-D.M.C.

Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” is probably one of the first — and most beloved — holiday songs in the hip-hop genre. Sampling hits like “Back Door Santa,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Jingle Bells” and “Joy to the World,” the song and its title reference Hollis, Queens, the neighborhood in which the group’s members grew up.

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Originally, Run-DMC recorded the song for a 1987 compilation album A Very Special Christmas — a record that featured stars like Bruce Springsteen and Whitney Houston and benefited the Special Olympics. The song’s music video went on to nab Rolling Stone’s Best Video of the Year, beating out Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” which had been directed by Martin Scorsese.

#17. “White Christmas” — Bing Crosby & The Supremes Version

Written by the prolific Irving Berlin, this Academy Award-winning song was most famously sung by Bing Crosby, who didn’t think much of the tune when Berlin first penned it for Holiday Inn (1942). Crosby performed it on a Christmas Day broadcast, just a few weeks after Pearl Harbor, and it really struck a chord with audiences.

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Crosby’s version spent a whopping 11 weeks on top of the Billboard charts and has sold 50 million copies worldwide. While Crosby’s recording is undoubtedly great, we’d like to shout out The Supremes’ version. Over 500 artists have covered “White Christmas,” but the Motown group perfectly melds the song’s original orchestration with an R&B lilt.

#16. “Silent Night” by Stevie Nicks

The popular Christmas carol was originally composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber and lyricist Joseph Mohr and performed on Christmas Eve at Saint Nicholas parish in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. Since then, “Silent Night” — or “Stille Nacht” — has been recorded by hundreds of artists across dozens of genres.

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One of the best-known versions was recorded by — you guessed it! — Bing Crosby in 1935, but if you’re looking for a more mystical, dreamy rendition, we recommend the Stevie Nicks version. Recorded for one of the A Very Special Christmas compilation albums, Nicks’ “Silent Night” is bolstered by her soft, distinctive vocals.

#15. “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl

Written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan, “Fairytale of New York” was recorded by the duo’s band, the Pogues, and featured the vocals of singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl. A duet in the style of an Irish folk ballad, the tune is often heralded as one of the best Christmas songs ever written and holds the distinction of being the UK’s most-played Christmas song.

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Performed by the likes of Ed Sheeran, Bill Murray and others, there’s no doubt that the ballad resonates with audiences. However, it’s also important to note the song’s controversial lyrics, which include a homophobic slur as well as a slur that’s used to insult sex workers. While most renditions censor these lyrics, the band doesn’t seem particularly remorseful .

#14. “Merry Christmas Baby” by Ike & Tina Turner

This R&B Christmas standard was written by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore in 1947. Charles Brown, a singer and pianist who was on the original recording with Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, noted that the tune was meant to replicate the same success Bing Crosby had with “White Christmas.”

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From Otis Redding and B.B. King to Bruce Springsteen and Melissa Etheridge, countless artists have recorded versions of this now-classic hit. But one of the most memorable renditions remains a modified, two-minute version recorded by Ike and Tina Turner. After listening, you’ll feel mighty fine too.

#13. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey

Every year, a popular artist tries their hand at a Christmas album that mixes covers with original holiday ditties, but it’s rare that any of these tracks makes a lasting impression. Thanks to her 1994 hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey not only crafted “one of the few worthy modern additions to the holiday canon” (The New Yorker), but she’s also been dubbed the “Queen of Christmas.”

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While some listeners wait all year for this holiday harbinger to hit the airwaves, others consider it one of the most grating Christmas tunes. Still, what’s undeniable is the song’s success. Selling over 16 million copies worldwide, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” remains the best-selling Christmas single performed by a woman as well as the 12th best-selling single of all time. And Carey? She has allegedly reeled in a whopping $60 million in royalties.

#12. “Last Christmas” by Wham!

Normally, we wouldn’t sing the praises of a duo with an exclamation point in their name, but Wham!’s George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley created a real bop with “Last Christmas.” Written by Michael on a trip home, the song impressed Ridgeley when he first heard it; he even called the experience “a moment of wonder.”

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Before it was overtaken by “Fairytale of New York” in 2015, “Last Christmas” was the UK’s most-played Christmas song of the 21st century. As of November 2019, the upbeat song about unrequited love has a whopping 457 million views on the official Wham! YouTube channel.

#11. “Winter Wonderland” by Frank Sinatra

When you hear “Christmas music,” greats like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Michael Bublé, Johnny Mathis and the ever-festive Radiohead probably come to mind. And what do all of these musical acts have in common? Jolly old covers of the holiday standard “Winter Wonderland.”

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Written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and lyricist Richard B. Smith, “Winter Wonderland” was inspired by Smith’s snow-laden hometown of Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Thanks to its wintry imagery, the song has become a holiday staple in the Northern Hemisphere — even though there’s nothing explicitly Christmassy about it.

#10. “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” A.K.A. “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” Meets “Carol of the Bells” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra

“Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” is an inspired instrumental medley of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” and “Shchedryk” — or “Carol of the Bells,” as English-speakers know it. Originally recorded by heavy metal band Savatage, the cinematic tune was re-released and popularized in 1996 by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a Savatage side project.

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Inspired by the real-life story of cello player Vedran Smailović, the song tells the story of a man in war-torn Sarajevo, who, instead of taking cover while the city is bombed, goes out into the rubble each night to play Christmas carols. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the epic song is the third best-selling digital holiday single of all time.

#9. “River” by Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell’s “River” is her second-most covered song — after all, what’s not to like about a folksy breakup song set at Christmastime? Allegedly inspired by Mitchell’s two-year relationship with Graham Nash, the song probably wasn’t meant to be a holiday standard — Christmas is just the backdrop — but it ranks high on many listeners’ lists.

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From Barry Manilow and James Taylor to Sarah McLachlan and Judy Collins, if you’re a musician whom SiriusXM would feature on its mellow rock station The Bridge, you’ve covered “River.” As fans may recall, Mitchell’s music plays into the plot of the Christmas film Love Actually (2003), but, funnily enough, the featured track is Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.”

#8. “Christmas Time Is Here” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! We stand by this Peanuts classic. “Christmas Time Is Here” is a light, jazzy tune that Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi wrote for the 1965 special A Charlie Brown Christmas . Even after nearly 60 years, nothing brings friends with different holiday priorities together like this tune.

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Although you can’t go wrong with the instrumental version by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, the vocal version, featuring the choir of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California, is also a great listen. Since its debut, the song has been covered by greats like Chicago and Diana Krall.

#7. “The Little Drummer Boy” by David Bowie & Bing Crosby

Originally dubbed “Carol of the Drum,” this popular Christmas tune was written by composer Katherine Kennicott Davis back in 1940. Its first major recording occurred in 1951 when the Trapp Family Singers put their spin on it (yes, as in the real-life von Trapps who inspired 1959’s The Sound of Music ).

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Although the Harry Simeone Chorale recording in 1958 may be the now-classic version, the “The Little Drummer Boy” duet by Bing Crosby and David Bowie took the song to new heights. (Come on — the man fell from space. He knows about great heights.) This surprising pairing performed it as part of a medley titled “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” for Crosby’s final holiday TV special.

#6. “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” — Bing Crosby & Nat King Cole Versions

“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” is one of the oldest Christmas carols around, dating back to at least the 16th century. Unsurprisingly, Charles Dickens references this very English carol in his 1843 classic A Christmas Carol .

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Like so many other songs on this list, this one has been covered ad nauseum. From the neoclassical synth-pop band Mannheim Steamroller to the cast of Riverdale , there’s a version out there for everyone. However, we recommend sticking with either the Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole versions, both of which have that commanding yet charming vibe about them.

#5. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Johnny Mathis

The only thing more iconic than Johnny Mathis belting out the soundtrack to a Christmas party is that iconic Merry Christmas album cover, which features the pop singer in his most chic ski clothes. Although all of Mathis’ renditions are stellar, his version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is one of his best.

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Written by Walter Kent and lyricist Kim Gannon to honor the soldiers overseas who wished to be home for the holidays, this melancholy song was first recorded in 1943 by — surprise, surprise — Bing Crosby, who had another immediate hit on his hands. At the time, Yank, a G.I. magazine, noted that Crosby’s rendition “accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era.”

#4. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland

Songwriting duo Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine wrote this beloved song for Judy Garland’s 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis — but this now-classic hit almost ended up in the trash. “[I] couldn’t make [the little madrigal-like tune] work, so I played with it for two or three days and then threw it in the wastebasket,” Martin told NPR’s Terry Gross in 2010.

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And that’s why folks write songs in duos: Blaine saved the melody from the trash can. Still, upon hearing the original draft, Garland asked Martin and Blaine to rewrite the song, which she felt was too melancholy. Martin recalled MGM requesting something a bit more upbeat because “it [would be] even sadder if [Garland] smil[ed] through her tears,” hence the perfect end-of-the-evening tune we know today.

#3. “The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)” by Nat King Cole

You may know this song by its more recent subtitle “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” but, regardless of what you call it, there’s no denying that this is the song you want to hear late on Christmas Eve, as the fire’s last embers smolder.

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Although it was written in 1945 by Robert Wells and Mel Tormé and recorded by the Nat King Cole Trio for the first time in 1946, Cole’s 1961 version is considered the definitive version. Although Cole is most often associated with this Christmas standard, artists like Celine Dion and Stevie Wonder have covered it.

#2. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love

In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine dubbed “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” the greatest rock and roll Christmas song, commenting that “nobody can match [Darlene] Love’s emotion and sheer vocal power.” And it’s true: Although greats like U2 and Mariah Carey have covered it, nothing quite compares to Love’s original version.

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Written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry and Phil Spector for Spector’s 1963 seasonal compilation album, the tune was first pitched to Love over the phone by the songwriting team. These days, the hit is one of Love’s signature songs. For 29 years, the vocalist performed the song on the Christmas episodes of Late Night with David Letterman (and later, the Late Show with David Letterman ).

#1. Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” — Versions by Arthur Fiedler and The Ronettes

Inspired by Leroy Anderson’s time in small New England towns, “Sleigh Ride” was named the most popular piece of Christmas music between 2009–2012 by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), based on radio play. Anderson wrote the instrumental song during a July heatwave in 1946, and Mitchell Parish added lyrics in 1950.

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The 1949 orchestral version by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra is great, as is the vocal rendition by Johnny Mathis. But we want to shout out the Ronettes’ version, which adds in the “Ring-a-ling-a-ling, ding-dong-ding” background vocals as well as the horse’s now-iconic whiny clip-clop. Every year, this version charts in Billboard’s Top Ten U.S. Holiday 100 — and for good reason.

And Now For the Worst…

Thanks to all of those memorable, catchy Christmas songs, it’s easy to be swept up in holiday cheer each year. However, there’s also a dark side to holiday music. Have you ever tuned into one of those all-Christmas music radio stations? We’re pretty sure those are one of Dante’s circles of Hell.

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And why? Well, there’s a limited number of songs those stations have in their rotation — mostly covers on covers. And some of the tunes range from annoying and poorly written to downright excruciating. Here’s a look at 15 of the worst Christmas songs that you probably won’t be able to avoid.

#15. Almost Any Artist’s Rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

Sure, this 1944 hit is a holiday classic that won Frank Loesser an Oscar — and it’s one of the few holiday duets out there. But none of those facts make it any more palatable. In fact, the part traditionally sung by a man is downright creepy. For him, bad weather becomes a reason to ignore a woman saying “No, I’d like to go home now.”

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Although “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” apologists have passionate arguments against the position that it’s a song about (attempted) date rape — and that changing it up can help recontextualize it — there are still those lines about roofied cocktails and thinly veiled threats about contracting pneumonia. Mostly, we’re just exhausted by the inevitable “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” discourse that crops up every year as if newly formed.

#14. “Must Be Santa” by Bob Dylan

Written in 1960, this call-and-response ditty was based off a German drinking song — and that explains a lot. But what it doesn’t quite explain is why Nobel Prize and Grammy winner Bob Dylan decided a jaunty, accordion-filled polka take was what this tune needed.

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The New York Daily News was just as perplexed as we are when this song debuted, noting “It’s sort of unclear if Dylan…was aiming to celebrate the holiday, or gently poke fun at the music’s Norman Rockwell-esque simplicity.” It’s frenzied and cringeworthy and, if it comes on your radio, it’s going to make that eggnog look super appealing.

13. “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney & Wings

In the opening strains of this painful tune, Paul McCartney sings, “We’re here tonight, and that’s enough,” but you know what? It’s actually not enough, Sir. McCartney is often hailed as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, but this absolute snooze-fest proves they can’t all be hits.

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Just change the station — or else you’ll be subjected a rousing chorus of “Ding dong, ding dong” again and again and again. Although tedious and repetitive, “Wonderful Christmastime” is (unfathomably) popular, and royalties garner McCartney an estimated $400,000 each year. That means “Wonderful Christmastime” has earned well over $15 million. Maybe it is enough…

#12. “12 Days of Christmas” — & Its Endless Parodies

The only acceptable version of this song is the delightful rendition by John Denver and the Muppets, because it’s charming and well characterized throughout and just plain fun. However, this song is otherwise tedious — and just so long. Not to mention, every TV show and movie and artist thinks we need another parody of it.

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Spoiler alert: We don’t. And the parodies started early on, most notably with comedian Fay McKay’s “12 Daze of Christmas,” which finds her getting more and more inebriated as she downs 11 Bloody Marys. Long story short, one goose a-laying is too much — we don’t need six. And we feel the same way about the endless renditions of this Christmas standard.

#11. “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” by Various Artists

This novelty Christmas song was penned by Donald Yetter Garnder, a music teacher at a public school in New York. When Gardner asked his second graders what they wanted for Christmas, he noticed that most of the kids were missing at least one front tooth. (How observant.) And then he wrote this ditty in 30 minutes. And it really shows.

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To be fair, Gardner was surprised by the song’s lasting power and popularity too. “I was amazed at the way that silly little song was picked up by the whole country,” he said. And same. We don’t quite get it either. To make matters worse, many have tried to cover it — from Nat King Cole to Elmo — and all have failed to inspire.

#10. “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” by Alvin & the Chipmunks

Written by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. under his infamous David Seville stage name, “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” took the country by storm in 1958. Seville and his cartoon band won a jaw-dropping three Grammy Awards for the tune, including Best Children’s Recording.

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And yes — this song is certainly amusing for the little ones. But it’s also just so overplayed, so grating. Allegedly, the single sold 4.5 million copies in just seven weeks, making it the “Let It Go” of its era. Even today it’s inescapable: Nielsen SoundScan estimated that it is the third all-time best-selling holiday single. Alright, you chipmunks.

#9. “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” by Gayla Peevey

Okay, we really can’t begrudge poor 10-year-old Gayla Peevey for winning big with this holiday hit. In it, she sings about wanting a hippo pal instead of a toy for Christmas. It shows ambition: She could’ve asked for a dog or a horse, but she really went for it.

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And that ambition paid off, helping her nab an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show . Nonetheless, this 1953 novelty song is truly irritating. Not even Captain & Tennille could save it. (Though we aren’t sure why they thought they could in the first place.) Anyway, just look at that hippo: He doesn’t seem excited to be involved either.

#8. “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” by Elmo & Patsy Trigg Shropshire

Nothing says “Happy Holidays!” like violence against women and grandma getting lit off of eggnog. Or that’s what the writers behind this 1979 novelty-song-turned-holiday-horror-film thought when they conceived a tune about a poor woman stumbling out into a blizzard only to be clobbered by Santa’s sleigh.

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Upsettingly, this disturbing hit-and-run by one Santa Claus goes uninvestigated. And, according to the song, poor grandma goes relatively unmissed. Sure, the family wears all black, but they’re also more curious about what to do with grandma’s unopened presents. To make matters worse, the narrator is so eager to victim-blame his grandma for wanting to go outside and grab her meds. Cheers!

#7. “Here Comes Santa Claus” by Gene Autry

In 1946, the idea for this genius song struck Gene Autry after he rode his horse in the Santa Claus Lane Parade (now known as the Hollywood Christmas Parade). Angelenos chanted “Here comes Santa Claus” as the parade neared and, well, that’s evidently where Autry’s creativity ran out.

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In the original recording, he calls Santa “Santy Claus,” and that’s enough to make our skin crawl, to be honest. Still, this top-10 hit has somehow survived the decades. Perhaps its most egregious sin is inspiring Hilary Duff’s “Santa Claus Lane,” a throwaway original song that featured in the also unquestionably terrible The Santa Clause 2 (2002).

#6. “Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)” by John Denver

Vice calls this next one “all kinds of upsetting,” and that’s an incredibly accurate assessment. Who would’ve thought that John Denver, the singer-songwriter behind “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” could write something so brutal. In the song, a young kid pleads with his alcoholic father — on Christmas.

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It doesn’t get more distressing than that. The father passes out under the Christmas tree one year, leaving the kid’s mom in tears — something our narrator hopes won’t become a holiday tradition. Again, if you want John Denver doing Christmas, stick with his and the Muppets’ rendition of “12 Days of Christmas.”

#5. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by The Jackson 5

Although the original recording was made by 13-year-old Jimmy Boyd in 1952, the most famous version of the song is probably The Jackson 5’s rendition. It’s upbeat, it’s silly, it’s a potentially scarring moment for the child narrator of the song? I mean, he sees his mom making out with Santa. That’ll really rattle a kid.

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Sure, we — the wise adult listeners — know this is all a bit “wink, wink.” It’s heavily implied that the man in the Santa get-up is the kid’s father. Nonetheless, the kid doesn’t know that and, at the end of the ditty, he’s eager to see how his father will react to mom getting frisky with Santa. None of it is all that amusing. Stick with the group’s rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” instead.

#4. “Santa Baby” by Madonna

While Eartha Kitt’s original 1953 recording is fire, it still doesn’t quite make up for the uncomfortable lyrics here. But Madonna’s rendition, recorded for A Very Special Christmas , takes uncomfortable to a whole new level. For some reason, the pop star thought it would be a great idea to sing her best Betty Boop voice.

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Well, maybe that’s generous. It’s Betty Boop-meets-a-baby. Like the Rugrats ‘ Chuckie Finster. And the infantilizing voice makes Madonna’s pleas to ol’ “Santa Baby” just… nope. This one is sure to get under your skin like no other. Our advice? Hurry up the chimney and out of the room if this one comes on.

#3. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid

Where do we even begin with this one? Although for many it’s a holiday staple, we just can’t stand by this condescending, stereotype-riddled song. Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure as a reaction to the devastating famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s, this tune was recorded in a single day by Band Aid — a “supergroup” consisting of British and Irish stars like Bono and Sting.

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Yes, the song cast a light on the famine — and became the fastest-selling single in UK chart history at the time, selling one million copies in its first week. However, it’s a real mess. African activists took to Twitter to call out the fact that the song generalizes the entire continent, saying its colonial western-centric viewpoint has done more harm than good. Couldn’t agree more.

#2. “Dominick the Donkey” by Lou Monte

If you’ve ever wanted to listen to a tale about a donkey delivering Brooklyn-made presents to all of the expectant children in Italy, then this one is for you! If you’ve never wished for a song to immortalize a Christmas donkey, you’re not alone and, like us, probably find “Dominick the Donkey” a tad grating.

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Dominick is a commendable steed: It’s no reindeer games for him on Christmas Eve. In fact, he’s so serious about what he does that the song charted at #14 on Billboard’s “Bubbling under the Hot 100” list in 1960. (Yes, that was a thing.) But the alleged charm of an Italian folk song can’t make up for this earworm’s constant “hee-haw, hee-haw” refrain.

#1. “The Christmas Shoes” by NewSong

“I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight,” says the child protagonist of this beyond-manipulative holiday tune. For those unfamiliar with the song’s narrative, it’s about a young boy who wants to buy some shoes for his terminally ill mother, but, like most kids, he’s short on cash.

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Spoiler Alert: The song’s adult narrator coughs up the money for the shoes, because, you know, that’s the true meaning of Christmas and all. But that doesn’t mean anyone enjoys listening to it. Internet critic Nostalgia Chick noted that the worst part of the whole thing is the suggestion that “God killed that woman because you didn’t get the meaning of Christmas.” In short, we agree with comedian Patton Oswalt on this one — it’s a “sick evening prayer.”


phantom songs ranked

Screen Rant

10 best songs in the phantom of the opera (2004).

Joel Schumacher's 2004 film The Phantom of the Opera highlights the classic songs from the timeless Broadway play by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The Phantom of the Opera   is synonymous with certain famous symbols and images: the rose with a black ribbon, the phantom's white mask, and a falling chandelier, to name a few. Besides these, and the grand spectacle of a Paris opera house, deep underground catacombs that make up the Phantom's lair, and a large mausoleum,  The Phantom of the Opera  is most acclaimed for its sweeping, soaring songs.

RELATED:  10 Best Movie Musicals Of All Time, According To The American Film Institute

The movie, which is based on the play by veteran Broadway artist Andrew Lloyd Webber (who also did Cats ), is a stunning extravaganza of music that's devastatingly romantic, and just plain devastating.

"I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamt It"

After Christine Daae's introduction to the Phantom, she awakes from her faint-induced slumber to find herself in the Phantom's lair. She sings her portion "I Remember" that leads into his "Stranger Than You Dreamt It" after she peels the mask from his face in a moment of his weakness.

Christine's portion is full of an innocent curiosity and naiveté, which ultimately leads to her being hurt and scorned by the angel of music. Phantom's song is the first time viewers get a peek into the trauma of the opera ghost. Shackled to the underground labyrinth of the opera house, he refers to himself as a beast, a carcass, a monster, and believes he's in Hell, forever burning and yearning for Heaven's beauty. The instrumentals involve quick, successive sharp tones of orchestral strings. Though not present in the book,  the tune in this musical (based on the 1911 French novel)  is a memorable scene nonetheless.

"Wandering Child"

After her mournful song in the graveyard where her father is buried, Christine sits on the steps of her father's mausoleum to say her final goodbye. As she does, the angel of music appears again, hypnotizing her again into the Phantom's presence.

In another beautiful duet between Phantom and Christine, they start to draw near one another again, Christine "yearning for his guidance" and declaring her angel of music her protector and beholder of true beauty.  Phantom reminds her that he is the watchful presence that keeps her safe and cultivates her voice. The music swells and encompasses brass, winds, and strings, as she makes her way up the steps, and Phantom's voice is passionately mesmerizing.

"Prima Donna"

This song, which involves the whole cast (minus Phantom) sees the opera house players as they get ready for that night's opening play. After securing Carlotta once again and demoting Christine to a mute role, the artists prepare during song in which they all reflect on the situation they're in.

RELATED:  10 Facts About Joel Schumacher’s The Phantom Of The Opera Film

"Prima Donna" reinforces the feminine divine of Carlotta and her leading soprano, while Raoul, Meg, and Madam Giry wonder what will happen to Christine, what misfortunes will occur when the Phantoms demands aren't met, and how a nation adores their artistic pleasures at the theatre. The musical accompaniment is smooth and sailing for much of the song, then comes to a loudly triumphant end.


The whole cast joins one another on-screen once again during this spectacular music number following a new year. The opera house is holding an exorbitant masquerade party full of costumes, drinks, dancing, and physical affection. It is one big party to greet a new year -- and simultaneously celebrating 3 months of being Phantom-free.

RELATED:  10 Things You Didn't Know About The Phantom Of The Opera

Perhaps the biggest of the film's operatic numbers due to the sheer size, magnitude, color, and musical force of "Masquerade", it is an unforgettable musical moment. The size of the orchestral instruments and everyone's voices add to the already magnificent and larger-than-life song where people must "guess the face" in a sea of yellows, blues, and reds, clowns, ghouls, and beasts.

"Think Of Me"

The first time the audience gets to her Christine Daae's voice is in her solo performance in "Think of Me" when she replaces Carlotta after she storms out in a huff.  Daae's entrance mimics the books' as she steps in to take her place on center stage.

The song, crystal-clear in its vocalization, and the light, springy, and sprightly music behind it makes this song one of the most memorable for the central character. The sound crescendos at the end produce a monumental effect on the audience as they listen to Christine's words of asking her lover to promise to remember her when their love has faded, much like the fruits and flowers of seasons do.

"Past The Point Of No Return"

In one of Phantom and Christine's sexiest duets, this song comes towards the end of the film at a pivotal moment in their relationship that literally takes them past the point of any return.

The song is hot and heavy with passion, and love, which is reflected in its lyrics, the props and set, and even the clothes they are wearing, a clearly perfect creative aura from director Joel Schumacher . The actors' voices are on full display as the song gradually comes to its louder close, and the images of their bodies, desires, and physical prowess for one another is unmatched when they sing of the flames consuming them.

"Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"

In another of Christine's solo acts, the soprano ventures out to the gravesite where her father is buried to finally say goodbye to him.

The song is a heartbreaking one full of anguish and despair as Christine wrestles with the end of her affair with the angel of music. She is torn between wanting to maintain the relationship but realizing she can no longer be what is necessary to make him happy. She wants to break free and "try to forgive...give me the strength to try."

"All I Ask Of You"

The dizzyingly romantic duet between Christine and Raoul is a highlight of the budding relationship between the two lovers and childhood friends.

As they stand in the snow on the rooftop of the Paris opera house and sing of their love, devotion, and commitment to one another, it becomes increasingly harder for fans not to root for the two of them. It is a genuine show of sincere love and affection that culminates in a passionate kiss and the song that defines their relationship forever.

"The Music Of The Night"

Phantom takes the spotlight in his own song that he serenades to Christine after bringing her to his lair.

The solo performance from the opera ghost is one that follows on the heels of their famous duet together and that introduces Christine to the musical genius of the angel of music and his workspace. In a way that is almost intoxicating, Phantom seduces her with his world full of night, dreams, and music. He inspires her to let her spirit soar and succumb to the rich, full existence of his world.

"The Phantom Of The Opera"

The most famous duet in the production, this song comes just as Christine is seeing and physically meeting Phantom in person for the first time.

This rock-and-roll-influenced song from the film has a rougher, sexier edge to it than what theatergoers might be used to. Christine begins the setup describing how he visited her and now he's here, while he sings back to her how they are here, once again, singing their "strange" duet. By the end, their voices and spirits become one, and audiences see the beginning of the famous love story unfurl.

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phantom songs ranked

The Phantom Of The Opera Songs Ranked "Worst" To Best

He's here, the phantom of the opera....

The Phantom Of The Opera Songs Ranked "Worst" To Best

Andrew Lloyd Webber's masterpiece "The Phantom of the Opera" is one of the most iconic musicals of the century. Everyone remembers their first time watching this mind-blowing musical. The acting, the effects, the visuals and most importantly, the music are all perfect in every sense.

"Phantom" is one of those musicals where every song is wonderful and loved by many. It was hard making this list since I love them all dearly. I wish I could rank some of the songs to be in the same spot, but here are the eight main songs from Phantom of the Opera ranked from "worst" to the best.

9. Prima Donna

I was never a fan of Andre and Firmin assuaging Carlotta's need for attention. Despite the harmony they all have, this song can get old and boring after the first minute or two.

8. Masquerade

This song feels whimsical, and the visuals add a magical touch to it. Everyone loves to dream of dancing in a masquerade ball, and this song helps you live in one.

7. All I Ask Of You

"All I Ask Of You" is a sweet promise that Raoul and Christine make to each other. The melody and lyrics are adorable and pure enough to make you dreamily sigh every time.

6. Think Of Me

This song has a memorable melody that you will find yourself humming randomly throughout the day. Also, can we mention the ending? Christine gives such a grand and impressive finale!

5. Angel of Music

This song is probably the most overplayed melody in "Phantom" and honestly, I am okay with that. It is remarkably simple but catchy. I especially love the Phantom's version of " Angel of Music" called "The Mirror."

4. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again

"Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" is a sad but beautiful song that Christine sings while mourning her father. The harp during the chorus adds a gentle and longing touch to this song's sad message.

3. The Phantom of the Opera

The main theme song is filled with suspense and power, and it has the best scene in the whole movie where the Phantom sails away with Christine on the gondola. The end of the song also has an extremely piercing high note that will resonate in your ear for about a couple weeks.

2. The Point of No Return

This song is filled with tension between the Phantom and Christine. The harmony and melody are dramatic and will leave you on the edge of your seat before Christine takes off the Phantom's mask.

1. The Music of the Night

"The Music Of The Night" is arguably the best song in the entire musical. It is calm and beautiful, while being full of mysterious romance. If you watch the musical along with it, you can see the Phantom's candle lit cave, which adds to the night-timey feel.

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​high school came so easy to me. why is college so hard, for the student who used to get straight a's in high school without even trying.

In high school , I felt like I didn’t need to study to get good grades. But in reality, I tried so hard in high school. I never skipped class, I never took a zero on an assignment and I paid attention in class. So yeah, when it came test time, I barely needed to study.

This is why college is a slap in the face to a large amount of straight A-high-school students. In high school a person has complete structure and responsibility. Yes, college students have this too, but it is more lenient.

Below are my top 5 reasons why college is challenging for recent high school graduates:

College students have too much freedom

College students have freedom, which is a responsibility in itself.

In college, if you don’t feel like going to class — you can just skip. No one will call your mom. You won’t have to sit out of the soccer game you have after school (this was a rule at my high school – if you have an unexcused absence for school you cannot participate in sporting events that day).

​College courses are harder

In college, the course work is harder, you don’t have a mandatory study hall period every day to do homework and study. You also have more free time to spend with your friends or to spend on your hobbies.

In high school, my schedule was so packed with extra circular activities, I didn’t have time for leisurely things like Netflix . Having more free time allows college students to procrastinate. Also, you want to hang out with your new dorm friends.

More homework in high school than in college

If you think about it, you probably had a lot more homework in high school than you do in college. I know I did. In college, a professor does not want to grade hundreds of written assignments every day.

Most college homework is to read a unit for a possible pop-quiz, but let’s be honest. We are going to skim it even if we read it at all. Most of the course points in college are from midterm and final exams.

Phone is more of a distraction in college than high school

When you do go to a college class, no one cares if you sit there on your phone the whole time. In high school, I left my phone in my backpack during class, and didn’t even really think about it.

In a typical large college lecture you can see several people on their laptops watching Netflix during class. You can tell a lot of students are there only for attendance points. I’m guilty of zoning out during a boring lecture to play Candy Crush countless times.

Denial and procrastination

Many of these straight-A-in-high-school students play it off as no big deal because, “I’m smart. I always get good grades. It will be fine.” But then it is finals week ...

College is all fun and games until you realize you have to learn a whole semester's worth of course work in a week.

The ABC's Of Israel

A listicle that gives just a little insight into beloved things in israel., a is for aroma, b is for bamba.

And you thought Cheese puffs were the best of the best, meet the snack champ.

C is for Challah

D is for dead sea.

Everyone says they float. You see pictures of people floating. But trust me, you won't believe it until you're there, floating!!!

E is for Eilat

With it's boardwalk and boat rides, Eilat is a magical city in Israel unlike any other.

F is for Falafel

G is for golan heights, h is for hebrew.

Even if you go to Israel and can't speak a word of it, you'll pick up on a handful of common sayings and words while you're there. In just a few days you'll be saying "toda" (thank you) and "s'leecha" (excuse me) like you've been living there your whole life!

I is for IDF

The Israeli Defense Force. The army of soldiers that protects and serves Israel with love and dedication every day. Anywhere you go in Israel, you'll see soldiers. Not only are they strong and brave, but they are also kind and friendly. Israel's mandatory draft brings 18 year olds into the army for two to three years, depending on gender. These people are wise beyond their years, and just talking to them is an experience you'll never regret or forget.

J is for Jerusalem

K is for kehillat-kadoshah.

Jewish Community, something that is filled with love and pride.

L is for Love

M is for masada, n is for negev desert.

Spend a night in the Beduin Tents in the Negev desert. Never in your life will you see a sky with more shooting stars or a more beautiful sunrise.

O is for Old City

In Jerusalem, Old City is the home of the holiest cites of the Jewish people.

P is for Pop Rock Chocolate

Q is for quality.

Everything, from the food to the people, the owners of shops in markets and tour guides, everything about the country is top notch!!

R is for Red Sea

Right between Israel and Jordan, the Red Sea is absolutely beautiful (and very fun to go snorkeling in!)

S is for Shuk

T is for tzfat.

Looking for an opal hamsa necklace? Bracelet? Earrings? This is your spot!

U is for Unleavened Bread

V is for vivacious.

Nowhere else in the world will you find a country with as much pep in their step as you will find in Israel.

W is for Western Wall

X is for excitement.

Because what's more exciting than being in Israel?! The place of your people, this country is simply amazing.

Y is for Yad Vashem

There aren't words to explain what it's like walking through this museum. Unlike any other museum dedicated to the memorial and remembrance of the holocaust, this museum literally walks you through the horrors and suffering of those in the holocaust.

Z is for Zikaron

As in Yom Zikaron, Israeli Memorial Day. Parties and parades in the street, Israeli flags draped over balconies and shoulders, it's a celebration unlike any other.

19 Things You Can Do When You Turn 19 Years Old

You can tell an 18 year-old what it was like to be their age..

As I write this, I am 18 years-old. By the time this is published, I will be 19. Wow, crazy, right? This fact caused two thoughts two pop into my typically-empty noggin:

1) God , I am oooolllllddddd !!!!!

2) There's nothing cool about turning 19.

However, after some research, I found that I was wrong about one of those things. Yeah, you're officially a legal adult when you turn 18, and when you turn 20, it's like, "Hey, I'm in my 20s now, how 'bout that?" but turning 19 has its merits, too!!

Here are 19 SICK things that happen when you turn 19.

1) You can legally drink...in Canada!

While some places in Canada allow 18 year-olds to drink, the majority of the country cuts it off at 19. So if you want to go wild--legally and safely, of course--get your passport and go North.

2) You can drive and talk on the phone in Illinois.

3) you can smoke cigarettes in new jersey..

You will get lung cancer, but at least it's legal.

4) You can legally gamble in Alabama and Nebraska.

You can win big bucks playing Blackjack and then blow the prize money on all of exciting things Alabama and Nebraska have to offer (sweet tea and corn as far as the eye can see).

5) You have one last year to use being a teenager as an excuse for everything.

You break your mom's favorite vase? Don't sweat it. You have this one last year to say, "So sowwy, I'm just a silly teen, I didn't mean to do it!". Works every time.

6) You are no longer 18.

One year older and wiser, that's gotta be true, right? Exciting stuff.

7) You can legally use magic outside of Hogwarts.

This one goes out to all my wizards and witches out there! Have fun and be safe.

8) You have one last year to enjoy your youth.

Once the twenties come around, you have to do crazy things like think about your future and all that. I mean, you could do that now, but wouldn't you rather just enjoy this last year of being considered a young'n by general society?

9) Your age uses the number nine.

Nine is a very cool and mysterious number. I mean, you turn it upside down and, woah, I thought I was looking at a nine, but it's really a six? Mind blown! The number nine is a nonstop party.

10) In Virginia, you can get your own health insurance plan.

This is all most of us have ever dreamed about: the thrilling day when we walk into Geico and say, "Bring out the talking gecko, I'm buying myself insurance today!"

11) You can have a 19th birthday party.

This will be your only chance to have a 19th birthday party for yourself; book those Chuck E Cheese reservations before it's too late!

12) You can nostalgically look back on the good ol' days when you were 18.

"Remember when I was a freshman in college at the beginning of the year when I was 18, and now I'm still a freshman in college but I'm 19? So crazy, am I right?"

13) You can be the oldest one in your high school without being the creepy old guy.

Were you held back? Missed too many classes for medical reasons and had to repeat a year? Now you're 19 and the oldest in your high school, but don't worry. You're still a teenager, so it's fine. Once you hit your 20s when still in high school, though, then you're the creepy old dude who just needs to go.

14) You can tell an 18 year-old what it was like to be their age.

"When I was your age, back in the good ol' days last week, kiddos actually went outside and spoke to each other! Sigh , you'll understand once you're 19, kid. I've seen things!"

15) You can assert dominance over anyone younger than you.

"I'm older, so I'm better!" is my go-to argument when confronting my younger brother, who is ironically smarter and more talented than me in almost every way. It's at least comforting to tell yourself, so give it a try.

16) You know that you have the ability to count to 19.

Yay, one number better than last year! You're a math genius!

17) When people ask you your age, if you say 19, you are now telling the truth.

When you were 18, did you tell someone you were 19, and then feel burdened by horrible guilt for your nasty little fib? Now when you say that you're 19, you'll mean it, and you will never be accused of being a liar, until you turn 20, when you will have to say that you are 20 years-old, not 19.

18) You have a higher chance of going first in certain board games.

The rules of some board games dictate that the oldest player goes first. Well lucky you, now you have a higher chance of going first in Monopoly or Jenga! or something, so it really doesn't get much better than that.

19) Not much has changed.

If you loved being 18, then congrats, 19 isn't really gonna be that much different. If you hate change, then this is a great year for you, because you will probably stay exactly the same both physically and emotionally. NOICE!

Wow, how fun was that?! As you can see, there are countless amazing reasons why 19 is such an awesome age. For anyone who is feeling bummed about being or turning 19, I hope that this article convinced you of age 19's greatness, and that you have a good time trying out some of the things on this list!

The Ring Of Fire

Where do i go from here.

Every day is a battle.

I feel like I'm slipping further and further away from my faith, my morals, and my values.

I've fallen into a trap and lately I just don't know if there's even a way to escape.

It's so hard living with depression . One day you feel decent and the slightest thing happens and it's like the world is crashing down around you and you're just sitting there watching it all happen.

I have triggers and to avoid them, is nearly impossible.

I wish I was stronger. I wish my mind wasn't weak and that I was more secure with myself.

I wish that God could give me purpose again. It started May 22, 2015. The day of my grandmother's death. Up until that morning I had been going to bed every night saying a prayer to God to just perform some miracle on this beautiful and strong Christian woman to keep her around a little longer. I had wasted so many opportunities to open my heart to her. About my anger towards God for doing this to her.

She was my rock, my confidante, my best friend , vocal coach, therapist, and spiritual counselor. She always believed in me, and the things that I could accomplish despite any odds that may be placed against me. Losing someone like that hurts deeply. It's like a light that was once inside of you is burnt out and you start to feel hopeless and unsure of yourself. When she was here I knew where I was going, I had a purpose and it was all because she was guiding me and instilling so much confidence in me as a person. I spent many nights after her funeral waking up with anxiety attacks or no sleep at all because I couldn't stop crying or agonizingly missing her smell or her hugs.

Here I am over a year later and I do not feel closure or comfort or even a smidge of understanding.

I just feel numb. I knew if she was here, she'd beat me for letting myself get so far deep into a state depression over her passing.

I find myself being more and more dependent on people. More and more afraid of loss and fearing that I'll never be truly loved and not because I don't have others in my life that love me unconditionally, but because I no longer have someone that I knew no matter what i might've done or said she would be there with her arms wide open. I've let myself go in ways that I never imagined I would. I am ashamed and humiliated with myself because I never completed the healing process when I know that's something she wants of me.

I simply put it off because it was easier to ignore the pain than to overcome it. Worst of all, I feel hopeless because no matter how many times I talk about it I simply hear the same thing over and over. "What would she want you to do?" "Would she want you to sit around and mope?"

Yeah duh, I know that, but it does not bring mean any closure. It does not make me feel better, it does not bring me any closer to healing.

It's just a constant ring of fire . I cry, I get angry, I get numb.

And I've been numb for way too long. I want to make her proud but I know I'm only failing her.

Which as you guessed, spirals me into another depression.

Going into her house now, is like a metaphor for how I feel inside; empty. I only pray that there will be a day I will feel okay and that not all will be lost when that happens.

Fall For Fall

I do every year..

Finally, the weather is beginning to feel like Fall. I woke up the other morning and felt the cool breeze in the air-- it wasn't too much, but it was just enough to bring that excited feeling back to my bones. My body sensed the slight change immediately as I walked out my front door. Pretty soon, I'll be wearing sweaters instead of t-shirts and Toms instead of flip flops.

I don't have a favorite time of the year, honestly. I love each season equally. There are several different aspects of each individual season that bring a smile to my face. With Fall, my favorite part is the crisp air that whips sweetly around me. I also love the changing of colors in the landscape and how the sunset and sunrise also changes. I love wearing sweaters and feeling all cozy and warm.

I'm excited for October. Pumpkin carving, hot chocolate, baking cookies, bonfires and Halloween are just a few wonderful things that October brings to my mind.

Plus, change is nice. Yes, summer is fun and amazing. However, after ninety days of walking around on the sun, I'm ready for some cooler weather. Living in the South during summertime is no joke. I do love to swim and lay on the beach catching some rays-- don't get me wrong. I also love football season and enjoy the other beautiful and fun-filled moments that fall brings.

I don't care about pumpkin spice drinks or Ugg boots-- or scarves, really, because they just burn me up.

I'm thankful for the season change. It's a refreshing time for me and many others. Fall always creates something delightful and inspires me to do so. You can't resist the allures of this season-- whether it be her varied pallette of colors or her gentle, coolness-- something will draw you in for a while. You'll belong to a new season until it's time for the next one to roll around.

It's such a beautiful and amazing world we live in. Thank you, Jesus.

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phantom songs ranked

phantom songs ranked

  • The Little Mermaid
  • Dear Evan Hansen
  • Les Miserables
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Book of Mormon
  • The Bodyguard
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Guys and Dolls
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • Into the Woods
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  • The King and I
  • Kinky Boots
  • The Lion King
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Mary Poppins
  • Miss Saigon
  • My Fair Lady
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • The Producers
  • Rock of Ages
  • Rocky Horror
  • School of Rock
  • Singin' in the Rain
  • The Sound of Music
  • South Pacific
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie
  • West Side Story
  • The Wizard of Oz

Every Song in The Phantom of the Opera, Ranked by Singability

Ranker Music

Let's rank the best songs from  The Phantom of the Opera . Adapted from Gaston Leroux's novel, the 1986 musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber has given us some of the most popular musical songs in Broadway history. What are the best Phantom of the Opera songs?

What are your favorite Phantom of the Opera   songs to sing along to? Featuring classics like "The Music of the Night" and "All I Ask of You," this list has all Phantom of the Opera  songs. Other good Phantom of the Opera  songs from the musical soundtrack include "Masquerade" and "Think of Me."

Vote up the best songs in  The Phantom of the Opera . Be sure to also vote for any underrated Phantom of the Opera  songs that deserve to be ranked higher on the list.

The Music of the Night

The Music of the Night

The Point of No Return

The Point of No Return

All I Ask of You

All I Ask of You

Think of Me

Think of Me

Angel of Music

Angel of Music

Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again

Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again

Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer

Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer

Notes/Prima Donna

Notes/Prima Donna

Don't Know

Little lotte/the mirror.

Little Lotte/The Mirror

I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamt It

I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamt It

Wandering Child/Bravo, Bravo

Wandering Child/Bravo, Bravo

Why Have You Brought Me Here/Raoul, I've Been There

Why Have You Brought Me Here/Raoul, I've Been There

Notes/Twisted Every Way

Notes/Twisted Every Way

Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh

Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh

Magical Lasso

Magical Lasso

  • The Phantom of the Opera (Stage)
  • Musicals / Plays

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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Musical Scores, Ranked From Worst to Best

phantom songs ranked

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical School of Rock opened this week on Broadway to some of his best notices in years. Many critics expressed mild relief that he hasn’t totally lost his ability to pen a good score, and it’s hard to find fault with their disillusionment; Lloyd Webber’s flair and reputation for producing (read: monetizing) musical theater has lately outstripped his talent for creating it. But with new earworms to enjoy, we thought it time to take a look at the rest of his oeuvre to see how it compares.

Given Lloyd Webber’s proclivity for scrapbooking together new and old songs from his catalogue in service of whatever show he’s producing at the time, the scores considered for inclusion in this ranking were the most complete and easily accessible versions of each show (e.g., The Beautiful Game instead of its later unrecorded rewriting, The Boys in the Photograph; By Jeeves instead of its first draft, Jeeves ). Let’s get to it.

Disqualified: Cricket (1986) was never recorded, and most of its songs were later reused. Bombay Dreams (2002) was produced by Lloyd Webber with music by A.R. Rahman and lyrics by Don Black. Only five songs in The Wizard of Oz (2011) were written by Lloyd Webber; the rest was composed by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg for the 1939 movie.

17. Love Never Dies (2010) Lyrics by Glenn Slater (additional lyrics by Charles Hart) The plot sounds like an SNL sketch cut during dress rehearsal: What if, after the events of Phantom of the Opera , all its characters wound up at Coney Island? No one asked for a Phantom sequel, and the universe itself seemed to conspire against its creation when, during an early writing session, Lloyd Webber’s kitten climbed atop his computerized piano and deleted the entire score with one bat of its tiny paw. The bloated mess that eventually reached the stage is a testament to all of Lloyd Webber’s worst impulses as both a composer and a producer. At least it gave us Ramin Karimloo.

Standout songs: “Til I Hear You Sing,” “The Coney Island Waltz,” “Devil Take the Hindmost.” “Love Never Dies” is fine, but the original (“Our Kind of Love” from The Beautiful Game ) is better.

16. The Woman in White (2004) Lyrics by David Zippel

Phantom ’s more chill cousin is also far less interesting. The original West End production was plagued by technical problems and went through multiple rounds of revisions but never landed on the right alchemy of ingredients; Wilkie Collins’s Victorian-era source material certainly has the makings of a compelling musical — ghosts, a murder mystery, an inheritance battle, a love triangle, a villainous count — but the adaptation lacks a hook (musically or dramaturgically) to give it personality.

Standout songs: “All for Laura,” “You Can Get Away With Anything.”

15. Stephen Ward (2013) Lyrics by Christopher Hampton and Don Black

By Lloyd Webber’s standards, this show is practically a chamber piece, and a clear move to graduate to more explicit material. Reuniting with Sunset Boulevard creatives Don Black and Christopher Hampton, Lloyd Webber takes aim at Britain’s Profumo Affair, a salacious 1963 scandal involving the country’s war minister, a young model, a Soviet naval attaché, and Stephen Ward, the osteopath-slash-socialite later dragged through the court system for having introduced them to one another. The ‘60s-Britpop-influenced score just sort of meanders around its intended political jabs, and one of its only memorable melodies, “I’m Hopeless When It Comes to You,” is so similar to “‘Til I Hear You Sing” from Love Never Dies that it’s a distraction. At this stage in the game, ALW should know better than to try to wring clear-eyed romanticism from a story that’d be better served by sardonic grit.

Standout songs: “1963,” “I’m Hopeless When It Comes to You.”

14. Aspects of Love (1989) Lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart

Lloyd Webber shares a birthday with our other patron saint of modern musical theater, Stephen Sondheim, but their tastes never seemed to overlap until Aspects of Love , ALW’s adaptation of David Garnett’s novella about the romantic entanglements of vain artists. The smug bed-swapping of its lustful characters doesn’t quite hold up under the weight of Lloyd Webber’s inelegant recitative, however, and the virgin/whore dichotomy of its female characters undercuts any sincerity to be found in the “Love Changes Everything,” a song with lyrics so storybook, one can almost imagine them printed in cursive atop photos of couples walking hand in hand on the beach. There’s something kinda quaint about Lloyd Webber’s intention to follow a string of megablockbusters with focused intimacy, but it all feels a bit like a gangly teen in a too-big suit trying to convince people to take him seriously.

Standout songs: “Seeing Is Believing,” “Mermaid Song,” “There Is More to Love.”

13. The Likes of Us (1965) Lyrics by Tim Rice

In the mid-’60s, a teenage Lloyd Webber partnered with lyricist Tim Rice for the first time. Their initial collaboration was a musical based on the true story of a 19th-century philanthropist’s crusade to rescue orphaned and abandoned children from London’s seedy streets. The work failed to secure financial backing and remained tucked away until 2005, when it received its world premiere staging at ALW’s own Sydmonton Festival, along with a live recording of its score and bare-bones narration (there’s no book). Between its Victorian setting and its chorus of eager youths, this one sounds at times like an Oliver! ripoff, but the songs are pleasant and tuneful all the same — a promising offering from young talent just starting out.

Standout songs: “A Man on His Own,” “Have Another Cup of Tea,” “Going, Going, Gone,” “Twice in Love Every Day.”

12. Whistle Down the Wind (1996) Lyrics by Jim Steinman

Phantom ’s Beauty and the Beast underpinnings proved too appealing to Lloyd Webber, who teamed with “Bat Out of Hell” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” scribe Jim Steinman to take another crack at it. Whistle Down the Wind swaps Victorian Gothic for Southern Gothic and an angelic soprano for an idealistic 15-year-old girl in ‘50s Louisiana, who becomes convinced an escaped convict hiding out in her barn is actually Jesus Christ. There’s little room for subtlety in the ensuing ideological push-pull between earnest kids and cynical tent-revival rednecks (the convict’s 11 o’clock number, “The Nature of the Beast,” is worthy of a pained Jim Halpert camera-stare) but the rockabilly orchestrations lend it an appealing sense of stakes and momentum.

Standout songs: “Whistle Down the Wind,” “When Children Rule the World,” “Tire Tracks and Broken Hearts,” “I Never Get What I Pray For.”

11. Starlight Express (1984) Lyrics by Richard Stilgoe; later revisions by Don Black and David Yazbek

“Thomas the Tank Engine, onstage, on roller skates” sounds like another SNL sketch idea drunkenly pitched to a delirious writers room at 3 a.m., but no one loves spectacle quite like ALW, and in the early ‘80s, there was nothing as spectacular to English audiences as this bonkers tale of a train set come to life. (It played over 7,000 performances on the West End. Seven. Thousand.) The musical cocktail of diet disco cut with electro-pop scores points for being so unapologetically of its time. Synthesizers! Electric guitar! Jazzy sax! Distorted vocals! All in service of a feel-good underdog story! Bless us, every one.

Standout songs: “He Whistled at Me,” “AC/DC,” “Right Place, Right Time.”

10. The Beautiful Game (2000) [Rewritten as The Boys in the Photograph  (2009)] Lyrics by Ben Elton

Webber’s first sports-themed musical, a short piece called Cricket , was composed with Tim Rice on commission for Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th birthday and later recycled for Aspects of Love . His second sports-themed musical, The Beautiful Game , was penned with Blackadder alum Ben Elton and took a surprisingly nuanced look at the effect of sectarian violence on a group of teen footballers in Northern Ireland in 1969. With echoes of Irish folk in its orchestrations and West Side Story in its plot points, it’s a minor ALW work, but a strong one.

Standout songs: “In God’s Own Country,” “Clean the Kit,” “Let Us Love in Peace,” “Our Kind of Love” (pillaged for use in “Love Never Dies,” sigh).

9. Tell Me on a Sunday (1979) Lyrics by Don Black (later revised by Richard Maltby Jr.)

A one-act song cycle (later paired with an Act II ballet and retitled Song and Dance ), Tell Me on a Sunday follows a young woman from her home in England as she heads across the pond to the adventures (and men) waiting in NYC. The girl is nondescript to the point of offense (in the original staging, she didn’t even have a name), but the songs are tasty cabaret-ready slices of orchestral pop.

Standout songs: “Take That Look Off Your Face,” “Capped Teeth and Caesar Salad,” “Unexpected Song,” “Come Back With the Same Look in Your Eyes.”

8. School of Rock (2015) Lyrics by Glenn Slater

The announcement that Lloyd Webber would be adapting Mike White’s 2003 film about a self-absorbed man-child and his rock band of posh prep-school tweens into a musical was a real “LOL … wait, what?” head-scratcher, but like the endearing zhlub at its center, the School of Rock score is disarmingly fun. Lloyd Webber’s efforts to match the tone and energy of the movie’s original tunes actually succeed; turns out the dude can still pen a catchy lite-pop-rock jam. Slater’s lyrics are on the simple side of straightforward, and it certainly helps that the likable, exhaustingly energetic Alex Brightman is usually the one belting ‘em out, but still: This one’s a charmer.

Standout songs: “Stick It to the Man” and “You’re in the Band.” “School of Rock (Teacher’s Pet)” is great, but it’s more or less the same as the version from the movie. The snarky-funny “Give Up Your Dreams,” sadly cut from the show in previews, is thankfully preserved on the recording.

7. Cats (1981) Lyrics based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot

What is Cats about? The further we get from its decades-spanning, record-breaking dominance over modern musical theater, the less it seems to matter. Ostensibly a depiction of the gathering of felines tasked with deciding who among them deserves reincarnation, Cats has never claimed to care much for structure: It’s not a musical, it’s a SHOW! [ Insert jazz hands .] And once it’s divorced from the spectacle of a theater-size junkyard set and lithe dancers in literal catsuits, that threadbare plot all but evaporates, leaving behind a collection of eclectic character songs. Sure, they’re kinda nonsensical. They’re funny and weird (and weirdly moving), too.

Standout songs: “Memory” (of course), “Old Deuteronomy,” “Gus: The Theatre Cat,” “Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer” (U.S. version).

6. By Jeeves (1996) Lyrics by Alan Ayckbourn

Lloyd Webber and Alan Ayckbourn’s initial 1975 adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse’s novels about a foppish young socialite and his hypercompetent valet, Jeeves flopped so magnificently that Lloyd Webber withdrew its cast recording from print to better mine its lengthy score for melodies for future shows. It popped up again in the mid-’90s, heavily trimmed and revised, and again in 2001, but remains one of his least-cited works. Too bad: By Jeeves is a real gem of period musical-comedy, featuring some of Lloyd Webber’s most hummable tunes and a hearty helping of dry British wit. When was the last time an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical made you laugh on purpose?

Standout songs: “Travel Hopefully,” “It’s a Pig,” “That Was Nearly Us,” “By Jeeves,” “The Wooster Code.”

5. Sunset Boulevard (1993) Lyrics by Christopher Hampton and Don Black

It’d take a far more inept creative force than ALW to ruin source material as perfect as Billy Wilder’s 1950 film, so he can’t get all the credit for how good the musical is, but the delicious noir quality of the score is definitely his doing. From the first chords of the overture, the jazz-influenced music slinks out from a dark corner and winds through the halls of Norma Desmond’s creaky Hollywood mansion. Just like the unhinged former screen star herself, ALW’s score is gorgeous, foreboding, and occasionally grating. “As If We Never Said Goodbye” and “With One Look” are easily two of his best compositions.

Standout songs: “As If We Never Said Goodbye,” “With One Look,” “The Greatest Star of All.”

Glenn Close singing “As If We Never Said Goodbye” at the ‘95 Tonys.

4. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968) Lyrics by Tim Rice

A favorite of every high-school drama club, Joseph is often dismissed as cartoony fluff. And, yeah, its depiction of the Old Testament story of Joseph includes an Elvis-aping Pharaoh swiveling his hips while describing how his dreams have got him “all shook up,” not to mention an entire Afro-Caribbean number and a whistlin’, yodelin’ country jam. But the enthusiastic earworms that pack the score are proof of ALW’s gift for pitch-perfect pastiche, and honestly, there are worse things than an unselfconsciously giddy rendition of “Go, Go, Go Joseph.” This is the Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans of musicals: The bad productions are almost enough to turn you off until — ah! — you land on one that’s so tasty, it renews your faith.

Standout songs: “Close Every Door,” “Jacob and Sons/Joseph’s Coat.” Joseph also gets the best of ALW’s ill-advised “mega-mix” medley remixes, hands down.

Donny Osmond singing “Close Every Door.”

3. The Phantom of the Opera (1986) Lyrics by Charles Hart (additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe)

Like Cats , Phantom has become an easy punch line, its title now shorthand for bombast and melodrama and aggressive organ underscoring and terrifyingly resilient old things that refuse to die. But beneath the layer of cheese it’s acquired, Phantom ’s songs music have a depth ALW’s yet to match. Its effects are palpable: “Music of the Night” is still spine-tingling; the trills and power brass of “Masquerade” still rousing; that five-note motif ( BUMMMMM bum bum bumbum bummmmm ) still hugely evocative of impending danger. It’s not that Phantom is a GOOD show, exactly — once you notice “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” has a melody that never resolves itself, it’s just a short walk to pointing out plot holes and picking apart Hart’s nonsensical lyrics — but it transcends its myriad inconsistencies to be remain of its unprecedented staying power.

Standout songs: “All I Ask of You,” “Think of Me,” “The Music of the Night,” “The Point of No Return.”

Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford sing “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Music of the Night” at the ‘88 Tonys.  

2. Jesus Christ Superstar (1970) Lyrics by Tim Rice

Telling the story of Jesus’ last seven days on Earth with the attitude and overzealous belting of modern rock was a bold change from the kid-friendly Joseph . Rice’s lyrics try so hard to feel casual that they occasionally sound lazy (“Show me there’s a reason for your wanting me to die / You’re far too keen on where and how and not so hot on why”), but Lloyd Webber’s use of leitmotif here is his career best, and the depiction of near-mythological figures like Judas, Peter, Mary Magdalene, and Pontius Pilate as flawed, conflicted humans is fascinating. While Cats’  score suffers when it’s separated from its staging, Jesus Christ Superstar makes for a powerful listening experience on its own.

Standout songs: “Heaven on Their Minds,” “Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say),” “Everything’s Alright,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.”

Carl Anderson performs “Heaven On Their Minds” in the ‘73 film adaptation.

1. Evita (1976) Lyrics by Tim Rice

Like JCS , Evita ’s pointed commentary about the media hype surrounding an inscrutable, influential public figure gives it a bite lacking in other Lloyd Webber shows. But Evita is also more emotionally satisfying musical theater. The rich underscoring and the inclusion of Latin choral interludes suggest an effort on Lloyd Webber’s part to push himself creatively, and it has no need for the rock histrionics that at times burden JCS . It’s a smart, savvy, confidently grown-up show, and its dramatic musical highs and lows are effective regardless if the breathy Madonna or the indomitable Patti LuPone is singing them. It’s not just Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best: It’s one of the best, period.

Standout songs: “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Oh, What a Circus,” “Another Suitcase in Another Hall.”

Madonna and Antonio Banderas perform “Waltz for Eva and Che” in the ‘96 film adaptation.

Patti LuPone, Mandy Patinkin, and Bob Gunton sing “A New Argentina” at the ‘80 Tony Awards .

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Andrew Lloyd Webber's 10 greatest songs, ranked

12 July 2023, 10:38

Andrew Lloyd Webber's best hit songs

By Tom Eames

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Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber may be the king of musical theatre, but he's had his fair share of chart success too.

Throughout his hugely successful career - which has included the musicals Cats , Evita and The Phantom of the Opera - some of his classic songs have punctured the mainstream by leaping from the stage and landing on the charts.

Here are some of Andrew Lloyd Webber 's biggest hits (including some you might not have realised were written by him!):

Gary Barlow and the Military Wives - 'Sing'

phantom songs ranked

Sing - Gary Barlow & The Commonwealth Band featuring Military Wives

Lloyd Webber teamed up with Gary Barlow to co-write the music of this track in 2012, which was performed by several artists from across The Commonwealth, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen.

The song was a huge success, and gave Gary and Lloyd Webber a number one hit that summer.

Elvis Presley - 'It's Easy for You'

phantom songs ranked

Elvis Presley - It's Easy For You

This track was written by Lloyd Webber and Rice specifically for Elvis , and the King released it in 1977.

It was featured on Presley's final album Moody Blue , and was apparently recorded in the famous 'Jungle Room' of his Graceland mansion.

Jason Donovan - 'Any Dream Will Do'

phantom songs ranked

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jason Donovan - Any Dream Will Do

Alright, it's a tad cheesy, but you can't help but sing along to this one, can you? Taken from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat , this tune was co-written with Sir Tim Rice.

Jason's version topped the UK chart in 1991, and was later a top 20 hit for Lee Mead in 2007, after he won the talent show of the same name.

Dina Carroll - The Perfect Year

phantom songs ranked

Dina Carroll - The Perfect Year ( TV Performance )

This underrated ballad was a top 10 hit for Dina Carroll in late 1993, and was originally taken from Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard musical adaptation, written with Don Black and Christopher Hampton.

Michael Crawford - The Music of the Night

phantom songs ranked

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Crawford - The Music Of The Night

Former Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em star Michael Crawford originated the role of the Phantom in the West End and Broadway productions of The Phantom of the Opera , written by Lloyd Webber with Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe.

Michael's version reached number 7 in the UK charts in 1987. He later recorded a duet version with Barbra Streisand, reaching number 54 in 1994.

Julie Covington / Madonna - 'Don't Cry for Me Argentina'

phantom songs ranked

Madonna - Don't Cry For Me Argentina (Official Music Video)

This song has been a hit on at least two occasions. Written by Lloyd Webber and Rice for the Evita musical about Argentinian leader Eva Perón, the single was a number one hit for Julie Covington in 1976.

Fast forward to 1996, and Madonna achieved a number three hit with her version, taken from the movie adaptation of Evita .

Michael Ball - 'Love Changes Everything'

phantom songs ranked

Love Changes Everything - Royal Albert Hall | Aspects of Love

Taken from the musical Aspects of Love , this ballad was co-written by Lloyd Webber with Don Black and Charles Hart.

Michael Ball originated the part of Alex on both the West End and Broadway, and scored a number two hit with the song in 1989.

Boyzone - 'No Matter What'

phantom songs ranked

Boyzone - No Matter What (Official Music Video)

Written alongside 'Bat Out of Hell''s Jim Steinman and producer Nigel Wright, this track was from the 1996 musical Whistle Down the Wind .

To tie in with its UK production, Boyzone were hired to record a studio version, and it topped the singles chart and became one of the best-selling songs of 1998.

Barbara Dickson / Madonna - 'Another Suitcase in Another Hall'

phantom songs ranked

Madonna - Another Suitcase In Another Hall (Single Version)

A fantastic ballad from Evita , Barbara Dickson reached number 18 with her version back in 1977.

Madonna then scored a number 7 hit with her version of the film adaptation 20 years later.

Elaine Paige / Barbra Streisand - 'Memory'

phantom songs ranked

Barbra Streisand - Memory

From the 1981 musical Cats , its star Elaine Paige reached number six in the charts with a studio version later that year.

The following year, Barbra Streisand released her own version, though it surprisingly only peaked at number 34. Barry Manilow also gave it a crack.

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