The musical reason why “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is such a huge hit!

Hey Improvisers,

Have you ever wondered why some songs become timeless classics and others don’t?

While a popular singer or a big marketing campaign can catapult a song to a place on the pop charts, why do some songs, like “Let It Be” and “Yellow Submarine,” endure for decades? What makes a song take its place in the hearts of young and old listeners alike?

In the case of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” it’s because the song was composed in a way that cleverly combines classic musical elements with new, contemporary ones. The classic elements prove endearing to the older generations, while the contemporary elements give it relevancy to the youngsters.

All three of the songs I’ve mentioned, “Let It Be,” “Yellow Submarine,” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” seamlessly meld the old and new together in a way that transcends both. “Let It Be” combines church-hymn cadences with a 1960s pop/rock ballad groove, and “Yellow Submarine” melds together three elements: a children’s story for the kiddies, psychedelia for the hippies, and an old-fashioned Italian Tarantella beat, which would have still been a common wedding reception dance when the song was initially released in the mid-to-late 1960s.

I’ve made a short video so you can hear how this combination of musical elements comes together in “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” I’ve had a new-found appreciation for the song ever since I realized how it was constructed!

The musical reason why “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is such a huge hit



Learn the 5 Essential Left Hand Techniques with my free ebook: Left Hand Techniques for Jazz Piano
You’ll also get my weekly jazz newsletter with practice tips and inspiration

Leave a Comment

Sign up for Blog Updates