O Holy Night named the nation’s favorite Christmas carol

O Holy Night topped a poll to find the nation’s favorite Christmas carol, beating Silent Night in first place.

Gustav Holst’s version of In The Bleak Midwinter came in third and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing was in fourth place in an annual Classic FM poll.

O Holy Night, considered the very first Christmas carol to be played on the radio, retains the top spot for the sixth consecutive year.

Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian inventor, broadcast the first medium wave radio show on Christmas Eve 1906, during which he played O Holy Night on the violin.

Over the years, the vocals have been picked up by music superstars including Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli.

The lyrics of O Holy Night come from a French poem, while the music, composed by Adolphe Adam, followed later.

Howard Darke’s version of In The Bleak Midwinter takes fifth place in the poll, while O Come All Ye Faithful, Carol Of The Bells, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, Once In Royal David’s City and Away In A Manger make up the rest of the Top 10.

Classic FM’s John Brunning to feature the countdown on Christmas Day show (Matt Crossick / PA)

Over 17,000 votes were cast in the 20th year of the Classic FM poll.

There’s a new entry this year – Angels From The Realms Of Glory – at number 27, while the highest climber is We Three Kings, which is up three spots at number 21.

The Coventry Carol is the biggest faller, dropping four places to place 19th.

The countdown to the top 30 Christmas carols will air on a Christmas Day special – The Nation’s Favorite Carol – hosted by John Brunning starting at 1 p.m. on Classic FM and Global Player.

Brunning said: ‘Christmas carols have been at the heart of Christmas for hundreds of years and continue to be loved – and sung – by millions of people across the UK at this time of year.

“As a Christmas carol, O Holy Night has it all. It has a beautiful melody, powerful words and, at its core, a story of hope and the promise of redemption.

“His enduring popularity over the past few years – through the good times as well as the challenges we face – is undeniable and he deserves his place as the nation’s favorite.”

The 20 best Christmas carols in the Classic FM poll are:

Oh holy night
Silent night
In The Bleak Midwinter (Gustav Holst version)
Listen ! The herald angels sing
In The Bleak Midwinter (Howard Darke version)
Come all, faithful
Singing bells
O little town of Bethlehem
Once in the city of Royal David
away in a nursery
Joy to the world
Come on, come on Emmanuel
Ding Dong! Merry up
God rest you cheerful, gentlemen
Holly and ivy
Good King Wenceslas
To Dulci Jubilo
Carol from Coventry
He came on a midnight light.

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