Seal Dashes to No. 1 on AC Chart With 'This Christmas'

Mark Ashman
Seal poses with Santa Goofy on Nov. 11, 2015 during a break from taping the 'Disney Parks Unforgettable Christmas Celebration' TV special in Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fl.  

Seal's second leader on the list becomes the format's latest holiday leader. He also ends a record span between notching AC No. 1s.

Seal continues the tradition of holiday songs jingling all the way to the top of Billboard's Adult Contemporary radio airplay chart, as his version of "This Christmas" rises 3-1 (on the list dated Jan. 2, 2016).

The carol was first released in 1970 by Donny Hathaway, who co-wrote it. Hathaway's original reached a high of No. 25 on Billboard's Holiday 100 chart in November 2014. Several artists in addition to Seal have covered the classic, including Mary J. Blige, who took her interpretation to No. 2 on AC two years ago.

Billboard's Holiday 100 Returns

Seal celebrates his second AC No. 1: "Kiss From a Rose" began a 12-week domination on the chart dated Aug. 26, 1995, and his new coronation is historic: his 20-year, four-month and one-week gap between notching leaders is the AC chart's longest. He bests the Eagles, who waited almost exactly 20 years between rising to No. 1 with "Best of My Love" in 1975 and "Love Will Keep Us Alive" in 1995. (In between his AC chart champs, Seal posted four top 10s, in 1996-2009. Speaking of the Eagles, one of Seal's top 10s was "Fly Like an Eagle," which reached No. 9 in 1997.)

As Seal's "Christmas" takes over atop AC, it becomes the 17th yuletide title to top the tally. All have led since 2001, around the time that the number of new holiday releases increased and the majority of AC stations began making ratings-seeking switches to playing seasonal songs 24/7 for the first time in the format's history. (Since 2001, only the winter of 2009-10 did not produce a seasonal No. 1.)

Here's a holly, jolly recap of the holiday titles to top the AC chart. Perhaps surprisingly, just slightly more than half (nine) of the 17 seasonal leaders are covers of decades-old standards, including Seal's; despite AC's reliance on familiar carols, more modern fare by the likes of Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson and Josh Groban have also hit No. 1.

Title, Artist, Chart Date Reached No. 1, Weeks at No. 1
"This Christmas," Seal, Jan. 2, 2016, one (to date)
"Baby It's Cold Outside," Idina Menzel duet with Michael Buble, Dec. 20, 2014, three
"Underneath the Tree," Kelly Clarkson, Dec. 2, 2013, four
"Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," Rod Stewart, Dec. 8, 2012, five
"All I Want for Christmas Is You," Michael Buble, Dec. 10, 2011, five
"Oh Santa!," Mariah Carey, Dec. 18, 2010, four
"A Baby Changes Everything," Faith Hill, Dec. 20, 2008, three
"I'll Be Home for Christmas," Josh Groban, Dec. 22, 2007, three
"Frosty the Snowman," Kimberley Locke, Dec. 15, 2007, one
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," Daryl Hall John Oates, Dec. 30, 2006, two
"Jingle Bells," Kimberley Locke, Dec. 23, 2006, one
"Up on the Housetop," Kimberley Locke, Dec. 17, 2005, four
"Believe," Josh Groban, Dec. 11, 2004, five
"Sending You a Little Christmas," Jim Brickman with Kristy Starling, Jan. 3, 2004, one
"O Holy Night," Josh Groban, Dec. 28, 2002, two
"Simple Things," Jim Brickman featuring Rebecca Lynn Howard, Jan. 5, 2002, one
"The Christmas Shoes," NewSong, Jan. 6, 2001, one