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Who Sang It Best? "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"

Music enthusiast FlourishAnyway introduces some fun competition into the holidays by ranking cover versions of popular Christmas songs.

Some of the best-known Christmas songs have been covered by a variety of artists. We look at Vaughn Monroe's classic tune "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" and rank 14 contenders. Who do you prefer?

Some of the best-known Christmas songs have been covered by a variety of artists. We look at Vaughn Monroe's classic tune "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" and rank 14 contenders. Who do you prefer?

Imagining a Snowfall in the Dead of Summer

It was July 1945, and Hollywood, California, was experiencing a heatwave. Usually, heat drains both energy and creativity, but this day was different. Because residential and commercial air conditioning wasn't widely available yet, songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne had to rely on their imaginations to dial down the thermostat. Together, they wished for cooler weather and summoned a snowstorm. The result was "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"

The pair had no intention of generating a favorite Christmas song. In fact, this tune makes no mention of the holiday. Known for songs such as "High Hopes" (1959) and "Love and Marriage" (1955), lyricist Cahn penned a catalog of hits for Frank Sinatra, yet he will always be most strongly linked with "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" The same association is true for Styne, a composer who wrote the score for Broadway musicals and motion pictures, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Gypsy, and Funny Girl.

Throughout the years, this chilly-weather-loving song has been recorded by a variety of artists, in genres encompassing adult contemporary, country, rock, pop, R&B, and even heavy metal. Find your favorite version below as we look at who sang it best.

"Who Sang It Best?": Here's How It Works

With many artists singing the same Christmas tunes, the sleigh has become overloaded. Let's rank them and cross some versions off the list.

In the "Who Sang It Best?" series, we start with the original rendition of popular songs that have been covered multiple times. Then we present a set of contenders, artists who have released cover versions in any genre. Some cover versions honor the original artist's style while others are reinterpretations.

Since the original song version is typically considered "the standard," we don't include it in our overall rankings. Instead, we display it first for comparison, with up to 14 contenders presented next in ranked order. Vote on your preferences:

  • Do you prefer the original song or a cover version?
  • Of all the cover versions, which do you prefer?

"Let It Snow" by Vaughn Monroe (1946)

If this ditty reminds you of Grandma's era, it's because it was originally recorded way back in 1946. This original version of "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" is from a page out of yesteryear. It is gleeful and bubbly, owing in large part to backup singers The Norton Sisters. In places where it's a little too "extra," the tune unfortunately acquires a sing-song quality. (What's also a bit excessive is the lengthy song title. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow" is also known by its shortened title.)

For the narrator, there is an inviting prospect of gathering beside a warm crackling fire with his sweetheart while sharing some popcorn and a blanket. One can be sure, however, that there will be no hanky-panky here. This guy's only getting to first base tonight; he'll be cooling his jets on the way home in the snowstorm.

Vaughn Monroe was a big band leader and baritone singer who enjoyed a chart-topping Billboard hit with this celebratory winter courtship song. You may not have heard of him, but he has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Monroe established the standard for "Let It Snow!", but can other artists sing it better? You be the judge.

1. "Let It Snow" by Dean Martin (1959)

Jaunty stringed instruments help celebrate the winter season as a plucky harp depicts twinkling snowflakes. There is magic in Dean Martin's debonair voice, and it all but guarantees that he won't be venturing out in the cold tonight. Shenanigans aren't on his mind but rather snuggling up by the cozy fire with his lady friend, along with mugs of hot cocoa and popcorn. This early version features all the innocence of yesteryear.

Martin recorded "Let It Snow!" in both 1959 and 1966. An enduring favorite, his rendition became internationally popular, and in 2018 it entered the Billboard Top 40 for the first time.

2. "Let It Snow" by Rod Stewart (2012)

With his hallmark raspy vocals, Sir Rod Stewart could sing the ingredients listing from canned goods and I'd melt like Frosty in July. Although surgery for thyroid cancer in 2001 left him singing one octave lower, it's clear from this holiday tune that the rocker has flourished anyway.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee expresses jubilation about the winter snowstorm in this jazzy, upbeat rendition. At an unrushed, moderate pace, Stewart glides through the holiday favorite with casual flair, preferring not to enunciate his lyrics (although in some places it does sound a bit sloppy). The saxophone solo amps up the aura of sophistication. Stewart's 2012 version of the song reached the top spot on the Billboard adult contemporary chart, and there it stayed for an impressive five weeks. After more than 50 years in the music industry, Rod still has it!

3. "Let It Snow" by Frank Sinatra (1950)

For this globally popular version, classy and sassy are the name of the game. Exuding confidence, Frank Sinatra's voice is pure butter. Ol' Blue Eyes seems to race through his lyrics, however, supported by the B. Swanson Quartet.

This version's narrator is so high spirited about the bad weather that one must wonder whether he and Mother Nature conspired to bring him and his sweetheart closer. Unfortunately, the background singers' ditzy vibe somewhat distracts the listener, thereby lending a dated, almost cartoonish feel to this holiday single. Overall, Sinatra's vocals outweigh the negatives of the song and make it well worth adding to your Christmas playlist.

4. "Let It Snow" by Goo Goo Dolls (2020)

Here's something good to have come out of 2020. This fine rendition by rock band the Goo Goo Dolls is mellow, calming, and kinda jazzy. Lead singer Johnny Rzeznik saunters cheerfully through the holiday lyrics.

There's nothing weird or wacky about their version. They just play it straight, delivering chill holiday music that you can kick back to as you enjoy your cocoa or favorite adult beverage with your honey. We've needed a fresher, updated version of the classic rendition, and this just might be it!

5. "Let It Snow" by Boyz II Men (1993)

The fire is raging and so are the narrator's hormones in this 1993 R&B version. The 1990s boys band kept the theme of the traditional holiday song but departed extensively from its original lyrics. Using strong harmonies, the group imparts their passion-filled rendition in a nice and easy manner at a pace much slower than the traditional song.

You'll notice that there's no "corn for poppin'" in this version, and to be honest, it's really just raining and sleeting outside. Gone, too, is the old line about love ("as long as you love me so"). It's clear that the narrator wants to get his sexy on with the woman in his life, although he inelegantly expresses his intent ("we got a thing here, can't let it slip away.")

Emphasizing his message of seduction, the narrator articulates a desire to wrap his lover up because she's the only present he needs. Finally, he references their bodies meeting and invites her to come a little closer. The lead singer uses vibrato to convincingly convey the narrator's slow emotional yearning, thereby making this version of the song a good choice for a night of holiday romance, if ya know what I mean.

6. "Let It Snow" by Darius Rucker (2014)

The former "Hootie" of rock group Hootie & the Blowfish delivers this suave Sinatra-esque rendition with a country vibe. His 2014 version is chirpy, light, and bouncy, although in places he may lean into the twang a little too much.

Rucker won Grammy Awards as the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish and later as a solo country artist. He made history in 2009 when he earned the New Artist Award from the Country Music Association, the first black artist to have done so (and the only second black person to have ever been granted any award by the Association).

7. "Let It Snow" by Lady A (2012)

There's exuberance all around in this okayish 2012 country version as down home plucky guitars and twangy fiddles lay the country on pretty thick. Lead singer Hillary Scott offers pleasing vocals, but they ring somewhat hollow as if she's not quite feeling the lyrics. The group changed their name from Lady Antebellum to Lady A in 2020 amid the George Floyd protests.

8. "Let It Snow" by Jessica Simpson (2004)

This 2004 version of "Let It Snow!" is a rambunctious hot mess. It's upbeat, overly quick-paced and brasher than it needs to be. Actress, singer, and reality television star Jessica Simpson offers up a razzle-dazzle mix of drums and brass instruments that don't hold back.

9. "Let It Snow" by Sarah McLachlan (2016)

Emphasis is everything, and in this unusual 2016 rendition Canadian songbird Sarah McLachlan stresses different words in the lyrics. She also matches the relaxed pace of the original version.

The enchanting result is a song that you may not immediately recognize as "Let It Snow!" While I like that McLachlan takes creative risks and makes this song uniquely hers, changing the standard word emphasis seems to alter the whole song.

10. "Let It Snow" by Billy Idol (2006)

This 2006 version is a little stilted, off-key and sing-songy, but it's fun to hear punk rocker Billy Idol express himself this way. His whispers of "alright" and "hold tight" midway through the song are a little creepy, but this experience spells pure awkward entertainment. I envision him drinking as he records this.

11. "Let It Snow" by Michael Bublé (2014)

Albeit both perky and piano-heavy this unsatisfying 2014 jazz rendition lacks true pizzazz. It begins at a moderately rapid pace then picks up speed unnecessarily after the half-way point, with Bublé's lyrics running on in places before reaching a frenetic finale, full stop. His narrator is as unprepared to face the snow outside as he is to sit still by the fireplace with his lover. Ease up a little, fella!

12. "Let It Snow" by Blake Shelton (2017)

There's a casual, pokey, old fashioned thread running through this 2017 country version. With his sleepy growl, Blake Shelton is capable of more artful vocals, but his strange interjections of "come on" and "yeah" make for a merely alright holiday song with mildly cringe-worthy points. The crescendo at the end is particularly out of place, but true Shelton fans will certainly overlook these points.

13. "Let It Snow" by Twisted Sister (2006)

Heavy metal and Christmas may be an unusual combination as well as an acquired taste, but if anyone can pull it off, Twisted Sister can. The same heavy metal band that brought us the 1986 teen rebellion song, "We're Not Gonna Take It" now gifts the world with this 2006 holiday ditty.

This thumping rendition of "Let It Snow!" is amped up with electric guitar solos, heavy bass, and rousing high volume lyrics. This song will wake up any holiday party. Only one song from the heavily makeup-clad group ever reached the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, thus officially making them a one-hit-wonder.

14. "Let It Snow" by Pentatonix (2016)

"Awful" simply isn't the word for this. What a capella group Pentatonix does to this song is a travesty. The group can't decide whether to execute the song with a hip-hop vibe or play it more like a show tune. The unfortunate result is an icky hodgepodge of mismatched musical sounds.

Beatboxing—the unusual mouth sounds meant to resemble a percussion instrument—doesn't belong in this song, however these artists over-rely upon it. Pentatonix also provides improv filler sounds (e.g., "ba da da da da") that are nonsensical and out of place. Most of all, the tempo is so unnaturally quick that one might wonder whether the hyped-up narrator should simply be sent outside to walk home in the storm. (Someone that energetic and excitable probably needs some cooling off time.)

Pentatonix first rose to fame in 2011 after winning the third season of NBC's competition, The Sing-Off. Since then, the quintet has gained international prominence, won Grammy Awards, and racked up several billion YouTube views singing a capella covers of both pop and Christmas songs. An especially good song by the group is their cover of "Mary Did You Know?"

© 2020 FlourishAnyway


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 23, 2020:

Adrienne - I bet you're right. They do a very good job of painting the picture of a snowy, wintry scene. That takes a great imagination and wishful thinking given their actual circumstances. Thanks for your comment, and have a terrific week.

Adrienne Farricelli on November 23, 2020:

I didn't know there were so many versions of Let it Snow. Thanks for sharing them! I still can't wrap my head around the fact this song was crafted during a heat wave, but perhaps the secret behind it's strong impact in making us think about wintry scenes is the fact they wanted such snow so bad!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 22, 2020:

Chitrangada - Thanks for taking the time to try to track it down and comment. Have a wonderful week ahead, my friend.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on November 22, 2020:

Excellent article and so suitable for this season. The original one is my favorite, but I liked all the collection of songs.

I am happy that it appeared on my feed today. I had read it earlier, but couldn't comment for obvious reasons.

Thank you for sharing and Happy Sunday.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 22, 2020:

Jo - Thanks for the extra work to comment. Hopefully, HP facilitates commenting capability soon so it's not so hard. A lot of folks aren't aware Vaughn Monroe sang the original so glad you chimed in with your favorite. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Jo Miller from Tennessee on November 21, 2020:

Wonderful list, Flourish. It's beautiful weather right now here in Tennessee and not quite ready to think about snow or Christmas right now, but listened to the list and think I like the first one best. Just now learning how to do this commenting thing with new system. Stay safe.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 21, 2020:

Liz - I am frustrated too regarding turning the comments off but even more so about the communication. Thanks for trying extra hard to find me. Stay happy and well during these most difficult days of the pandemic. Better days await.

Liz Westwood from UK on November 21, 2020:

Phew! Made it at last. I've been looking for a way to comment on this for a while. The original is my favorite. I had no idea that there were so many covers. It's a shame that the polls don't work on the new format.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 17, 2020:

Lora - I appreciate you stopping by. That version is pretty darn new! Glad you enjoyed it! Stay safe and enjoy the holidays. I'm starting my holidays early because what else is there?

Lora Hollings on November 17, 2020:

I think the version by the goo goo doll’s is the one I prefer. It’s such a nice song that I like it sung pretty straight without a lot of stuff going on in the background. A nice updated classic! I’ll have to download this version from iTunes. Thanks Flourish for another wonderful song list!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 17, 2020:

George - I'm so happy that you found one you enjoyed, and it was surprising given your age that you liked the old version. I like the open-mindedness you display. Have a wonderful holiday season, and please stay safe!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 14, 2020:

Road Monkey - How nice to hear from you! Thanks for letting us know your choices.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 14, 2020:

emge - Thank you for such a kind comment. Have a wonderful weekend.

RoadMonkey on November 14, 2020:

I would go for Go Goo dolls, followed closely by Darius Rucker, for my choices.

George Xu from Philippines on November 14, 2020:

Hi Flourish! I really enjoy your "Who Sang It Best" Christmas songs. This one, I thought I would enjoy Frank Sinatra but apparently I still enjoyed the original rendition. Call me old but I'm just 26 and I still like to listen to radio tunes of the 1940's or 50's. The newer ones are just too flash even though catchy like Jessica Simpson's.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 13, 2020:

Linda - You're a tough sell, dear diva. I know those comments are hard to get in under the wire. Thank you for your kind support. My love and good wishes go out to you this weekend. Enjoy the fall season before winter sets in.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 13, 2020:

Pamela - I always find it curious to see whether people agree with my choices, most particularly first and worst. Thanks for commenting. Have a terrific weekend.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 13, 2020:

Peggy - Thanks for commenting. I'm just a little slow this weekend, as I have a friend from high school (!) visiting me and we've been talking all day. Just got to these comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the playlist. I always like knowing a bit of the background of the song and sometimes the artist(s) as well.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 13, 2020:

Bill - Perhaps time to tiptoe out of the comfort zone this Christmas with the holiday playlist? Some are more popular than others and one is very recent. Have a great weekend, my buddy.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 13, 2020:

Bob - Thanks for weighing in. Have a great weekend!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 13, 2020:

Devika - Thank you kindly for your comment. This year will be different from past Christmases. I just hope everyone I love makes it through with the pandemic. I hope the same for you.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 13, 2020:

Eric - Thank you for commenting. You'll have to share with us what it's like celebrating the holidays in the desert.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 13, 2020:

Ann - Glad you enjoyed this! I sure could welcome the holidays early, although the snow isn't my favorite. It's pretty to look at but I don't like driving in it. Have a wonderful fall weekend.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on November 13, 2020:

Nice post Flourish,you have the knack of creating a lovely article all the time

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on November 13, 2020:

Dino is the one I most recognize as the singer of this song; he wasn't the first, but his for me is the most memorable. (Rod Stewart is a close second). The others I couldn't listen to for more than a few bars.

Another good one dear, and I'm glad I got in here before this article went to purgatory.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2020:

I like this song for the Christmas season. I tend to like the older versions the best, like Dean Martin. This is a great display of some f the very good versions and some I do not want to hear. Nice article, Flourish.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 13, 2020:

I am not sure if my first comment went through. Thanks for telling us the background of the inspiration for this song. That is a part of what reading your posts makes it so much fun.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 13, 2020:

I never knew the inspiration behind this song. Thinking of snow in the heat of the summer was imaginative and probably wishful thinking on the writer's part when air-conditioning was not the norm. I could not choose a favorite singer for this song as so many are such good singers. Glad I could still leave a comment!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 13, 2020:

Oddly I've only heard the first two versions, so I have to go with the original. I'm a bit surprised so many "current" artists have covered it and I haven't heard it. Hmmm! Maybe I'm out of touch, or maybe they just don't play it on NPR. LOL Have a great weekend!

Robert Sacchi on November 13, 2020:

Nice seasonal mix. Rough choice between Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 13, 2020:

Hi Flourish so glad I can comment. I prefer Frank Sinatra. It is already that time of year again. Christmas time is such a special occasion and this year seems different. I like your list of songs.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 13, 2020:

thought I would write a thank you before they do what they do with hubs nowadays. I am only half way done and might just listen to these all day long. Born is a very snowy place now living in the desert this is really nice.

Ann Carr from SW England on November 13, 2020:

Dean Martin does it for me; I like anything he sings with that lilting voice of his Closely followed by Rod Stewart - I love your comment about the listing from canned goods, it made me laugh out loud, and I know what you mean.

Lovely, entertaining hub, Flourish! Just what I need at the moment. I love snow too but only when I don't have to drive in it. Glad I got here before the comments disappear.