“Silent Night” has been a Christmas carol staple that has captured the ears of several generations for the past 200 years. The song was composed by Franz Xavier Gruber with lyrics by Joseph Mohr, and was performed for the first time on Christmas Eve in Austria in 1818.
Over the past two centuries, the song has been extensively covered by many artists. As old as this song is, there are a handful of artists whose renditions of the original track standout from the rest.
From Julie Andrews to Kelly Clarkson, take a look at ten of the best versions of “Silent Night.”
Bing Crosby (1945)
This early version of “Silent Night” by Bing Crosby is an absolute Christmas classic. Crosby’s deep and soothing voice perfectly matches the peaceful imagery that the song’s lyrics describe.
Julie Andrews (1949)
Julie Andrews’ cover of “Silent Night” matches a similar tone and sound to Crosby’s version. Her unique and powerful soprano voice beautifully accompanies the soft violins and bells in the background, and it makes for a calming holiday listen.
Simon & Garfunkel (1966)
On this powerful version of the classic, the duo sing “Silent Night” over a recording of a news report issued on Aug 3, 1966. Some of the events being told by the reporter include the trial of Richard Speck for the murder of eight student nurses, opposition against the Vietnam War, and Martin Luther King Jr. mobilizing a protest for an open housing march in Cicero, Ill. The eerie contrast between the bleak news, and the hopeful singing of “Silent Night” by Simon & Garfunkel, is a unique social commentary that still holds weight in 2018, and is definitely worth a listen.
This cover of “Silent Night” by the Carpenters is a simple rendition of the original song that mainly features the voice of Karen Carpenter. The arrangement of the instruments in the background, alongside Karen’s voice, mesh well together to form a cohesive Christmas track that retains the spirit of the original.
Boyz II Men (1993)
This a capella version of “Silent Night” by Boyz II Men is an impressive cover of the original track that very few have been able to recreate. The lack of any sort of instrumentation with just pure vocals feels like the best way to cover such an iconic Christmas song.
Mariah Carey (1994)
Mariah Carey’s cover of “Silent Night” is a soulful version of the original that suits her powerful voice. The track has plenty of Carey’s signature riffs, and a chorus backing her up as she completely dominates the Christmas song.
Kirk Franklin & The Family (1996)
The always upbeat Kirk Franklin can turn any track into a bop, and of course the same rule applies to “Silent Night.” This choral rendition of “Silent Night” will send shivers down your spine that will put you in the Christmas spirit.
Justin Bieber (2011)
Justin Bieber’s rendition of “Silent Night” is an easy listen that showcases his vocal capabilities. Bieber’s take on the track isn’t too far off from the original, but tracks that are simple can often be the most impactful.
Kelly Clarkson, Reba McEntire & Trisha Yearwood (2013)
Clarkson, McEntire, and Yearwood all come together to form one of the most vocally impressive Christmas tracks ever. This is truly one of the most epic “Silent Night” covers to grace the ears of listeners that is guaranteed to move you.
Pentatonix’s cover of “Silent Night” is a nice balance of the Boyz II Men rendition and the original song. As a straight a capella track, the song is a showcase of the raw talent of the vocal group that manages to impressively cover any song thrown their way.