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Silent Night is named as favourite festive song

Silent Night has been named the favourite Christmas carol for the first time in 12 years.

The tune, written to tide over a midnight mass after mice had put a church organ out of action, ousted O Holy Night, which had held the position since 2003 but is now ranked second in an annual poll for radio station Classic FM.

Silent Night, which was first translated into English in 1863, has had a timely return to the top as it was sung between the trenches during the World War One Christmas truce in 1914.

Legend has it that the carol was written after mice nibbled through the bellows of the organ at St Nicholas Church in the Austrian village of Obendorf.


With no time to fix the instrument for the midnight mass on Christmas Eve 1818, the priest, Fr Joseph Mohr, asked his friend Franz Gruber to compose music to accompany a poem he had written two years earlier, Stille Nacht Heilige Nacht, and it was arranged for choir and guitar.

Thousands of Classic FM listeners have been voting since December 1.

The top 10 is: 1. Silent Night; 2. O Holy Night; 3. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; 4. In The Bleak Midwinter (Holst version); 5. O Come All Ye Faithful; 6. In The Bleak Midwinter (Howard Darke version); 7. Once In Royal David's City; 8. O Little Town of Bethlehem; 9. Away In A Manger; 10. Joy To The World.