It is rather mind-blowing how the same song can sound like an entirely different composition when handled by various artists. The beautiful upside is that you can feel the energy behind the voices and pitch alterations with every rendition. Silent Night performed by Beyoncé is a very different tune than Silent Night by Mariah Carey yet both are whimsical creations. We’ve compiled below a list of the top 10 best Silent Night covers by famous names, both alive and passed into the light, to warm your heart and get you in the festive mood. Enjoy and don’t spill the hot cocoa!
10. Bruno Mars
The tenor voice of Bruno Mars does its thing for the Silent Night performance at BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge back in 2012. Commencing with ’tis da season y’all, the artist organically transitions to singing making you forget for a second that this was a planned number. One of Bruno’s unique features is that of speaking just about in the same tone as the one he sings in. As the performance progresses, the professional artist starts coming through more and more placing an admiration wall between the listener and the voice. Although short in duration, Bruno’s Silent Night is worth a good 4, 5 replays.
9. Justin Bieber
Part of the 2011 album titled Under the Mistletoe, Silent Night by Justin Bieber is one original, hybrid traditional-bordering-R&B rendition of the 1818 carol. Unlike any numbers on this list, Bieber’s performance heavily emphasizes the piano in the mix. Almost more so than the artist’s vocals in places. Then we also have the tempo which is much slower than most thus differentiating itself rather memorably. To top it all, the fact that this song displays the artist’s vocal cords BEFORE he matured and became Hailey Baldwin’s husband, is a gift in and of itself as that’s when the world last had a global star. Major 2011 vibes!
Beyoncé gifted us a gorgeous Silent Night version in 2007, a whopping 15 years ago. In true R&B fashion, the songstress adorned the carol with incredible amounts of riffs and runs and typical Beyoncé screams. One can easily forget it’s a Christmas cover and not a Beyoncé concert. The woman knows to grab all of your attention and keep it too. Thank God for YouTube for keeping alive so many bits and historical renditions from many years.
7. Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood’s Silent Night is one sophisticated composition from the get-go. The increasingly anticipatory intro leaves space for interpretation while simultaneously placing an element of surprise in the ears of the listeners. Before the singer’s vocals are heard, the direction of the song is unknown. The constant piano chords supporting the basis of the music comprise a standalone factor of the song; a complex-sounding twist from the usual instrumentation. The songstress’s voice tends to near cracking levels when going high in pitch but never doing so thus making the carol performance an emotional one, perfect for counting your blessings.
6. Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood, and Reba McEntire
In typical Clarkson fashion, extensive vocalizations can be noted on her rendition of Silent Night. When taking into account that Trisha Yearwood and Reba McEntire join the singer after the second part of the performance, it is easy to understand why the music took a back seat for this number. The three artists match each other in vocal prowess without fighting for the front spot and we appreciate the amiable vibe. Yes, there have been a plethora of competitive group performances throughout the years and they basically turn into a comedy set when looked back from the future. Not this time though!
The final harmonies reverberate with pure emotion, power, and professionalism. And well, the three sound so formidable that they border intimidating singer status. Too good to replicate!
5. Michael Bublé
Michael Bublé’s performance comes off as a modern classic. The singer doesn’t delay or adorn the traditional carol too much which, in all honesty, is to be appreciated. One risks sounding rather average by not modifying a well-known carol to his timbre and register but it is obvious Michael feels comfortable with his talent. Somehow the songwriter found the middle ground between manly vocals and warm, romantic-imbued pitch. Very much our favorite cover of Michael Bublé!
4. Mariah Carey
My oh my if there is anyone like miss Carey in this world! Mariah’s unique timbre lands warm, cozy, and highly sentimental. With unmatched vocal control, the singer is essentially having fun effortlessly going through her low and high pitch notes. What caught our attention is the organ sound peppered along the instrumental which is a first on this list. Major props for making the choir an integral part of the performance as well. For a number of reasons, Mariah Carey’s Silent Night feels like an ode to the cold and heart-warming winters of the late ’90s-early 2000s winters. Millennials unite!
Goosebumps on the horizon! Pentatonix knows how to deliver and shake the audience to the deepest bits of the core. The 2014 rendition of Silent Night is one for the books. The four male voices amalgamated to the finest details and flawless harmonies with the one soprano female voice are truly, seriously unforgettable. An astounding discovery is how the group succeeded in altering rather heavily the endings of each line without sounding offputting or too modern. The clean vibrato techniques are omnipresent and add a warm touch to the staple Christmas song. The outro consisting of abundant sleep pitch variants sends shivers down the spine and brings about images of enormous cathedrals hosting church choirs. This one might just be the most whimsical performance on the list.
2. Frank Sinatra
If you want an accurate vibe of a city Christmas, all you need is Frank Sinatra. It is most peculiar and exciting how the timeless singer effortlessly portrays the mood of the holidays in metropolitan settings. How did we get that idea? Well, there is his famous rendition of New York, New York for one. Secondly, his warm baritone pipes laid against the high-pitched sopranos in the choir excellently transpose the contrasting experience of living in a big city. You can feel very alone on the inside while crossing the street in the middle of dozens of individuals you know nothing of at the same time. In a whimsical manner, Frank Sinatra’s Silent Night performance comes off as the ultimate acceptance of one’s rather solitary existence in a very big world.
1. Bing Crosby
Did you know that Silent Night is a translated song and not an original English composition? Yup! It was Austria who birthed Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht in a small village in 1818 and a whole 41 years later the song got translated by an American priest.
And so, with the rise of the radio and music business, Bing Crosby recorded Silent Night in 1928 thus bringing much-deserved attention to the stupendous carol. His version kickstarted the phenomenon of Silent Night being religiously recorded time and time again by artists throughout the past 10 decades making the song the most recorded carol in America since 1978. We are inclined to think had it not been for Crosby, we may have not had today’s article.
The genuine magic without the modern studio embellished and curated mixes, vibrates and pulsates with Crosby’s warm vocals. The obvious distortion due to retro recording gear makes the rendition that much more precious.