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O Come All Ye Faithful: Tradition at Christmas

Updated on November 30, 2013

O Come all ye Faithful is another song that I look forward to hearing every year. Once I hear this song for the first time, I know it’s just a short time before Santa will be here. However, like all Christmas carols, I don't want to hear it on December 26. I think this song, and other Christmas carols, are more special because they are only played for a month a year.

The best versions of the song are those with a lush orchestral background and outstanding vocals. However, it is also one of those songs that sound good when you are in a church surrounded by other parishioners, all singing along to celebrate the season; it doesn’t matter how good or how bad it sounds, it is an enjoyable song to sing.


O Come All Ye Faithful

The music to O Come all ye Faithful, also known as Adeste Fidelis, was possibly written by John Francis Wade in 1751. The Latin lyrics are thought to have been written in the 13th century by John of Reading. The lyrics were translated into English by Frederick Oakeley, who published it in his book “Cantus Diversi” in 1751. There are many interpretations of the lyrics including one that the song was actually a birth ode to Bonnie Prince Charlie and contained secret messages to Jacobite revolutionaries. Whatever the meaning, it remains one of the most popular Christmas carols.

Almost anybody who is anybody has recorded O Come all Ye Faithful; some of the better versions are by Anne Murray, Nat King Cole and Robert Goulet. I’ve included versions from all three of those artists, plus the King’s College Choir and Twisted Sister. The Twisted Sister video is fun to watch.

Anne Murray

Mary Pickford is considered Canada's sweetheart. I think that mantle should be passed to Anne Murray. All Canadian's love her sweet vocals. She does not disappoint with her version of O Come All Ye Faithful.

Twisted Sister

The wife in this video deserve coal for Christmas, not a CD. Twisted Sister get up to their usual tricks and present a punk version of O Come All Ye Faithful.

Nat King Cole

The King's smooth vocals are in top form in this version of the song. By far my favorite version of these five.

Robert Goulet

Another Canadian, Robert Goulet first came to the notice of American's in Camelot. His powerful vocals gave him a very successful singing career and he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show numerous times.

King's College Choir

A traditional version of the song which, to be honest, gives me chills. It is the best version by a choir that I found.

Do You Like This Song?

Let me know what you think of the song and of the version I chose. If you have found any other versions, please share them in the comment box below.


Submit a Comment

  • anndavis25 profile image


    6 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

    The old standards bring back earlier Christmases. Touches our heart strings and stir up memories. I also like the modern versions. This one by my favorite singer, Celine Dion.

  • mathira profile image


    6 years ago from chennai

    You brought out the mood of Christmas the right way.Thank you.

  • carol3san profile image

    Carolyn Sands 

    6 years ago from Hollywood Florida

    Love the songs...and I love the Christmas season anyway. I like anything that Nat King Cole sings, christmas or no christmas.

  • Genna East profile image

    Genna East 

    6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

    I love Cole's rendition of this all-time favorite. Such beautiful songs remind us of the true spirit of means so much more than the Black Friday of yesterday, and people pushing, jostling and rudely jarring others to "get a deal." Thank you for this wonderful hub!

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    How fun that you've included a variety of this popular Christmas song. (I love Anne Murray's mellow version.) This song is one that takes me back to childhood, and the candlelight Christmas Eve service we used to attend at church. Beautiful hub!

  • jravity1 profile image


    6 years ago from bellevue, MI

    This is very interesting, I never really hear about the origins of anything. At least someone cares enough to research.

  • homesteadbound profile image

    Cindy Murdoch 

    6 years ago from Texas

    I love this Christmas song too, but then I love most Christmas songs. Sometimes I catch myself singing them even in the summer. LOL

    I found it interesting that a verson of the song contained secret messages to Jacobite revolutionaries. Thanks for a great hub.

  • writer20 profile image

    Joyce Haragsim 

    6 years ago from Southern Nevada

    All original Christmas songs are great for me. I can't wait to put away all the fall decorations and start on Christmas.


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