I remember hearing it when it first came out in 1949. Except for one other song, it was the best-selling single for a long time.
And I remember where I was: in Newark Valley, NY, at my aunt and uncle’s house just before Christmas.
Gene Autry’s Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.
For more use the DOOR.
As so I looked it up.
Since there’s big money in music, evaluations and sources are all over the place. My info below comes from Guinness Book of World Records as quoted by Wikipedia.
As of 1998 it had sold (as a single) 12,500,000 copies…big numbers esp. for back then.
Here’s some newer info about best sellers:
This article is a compendium of the best-selling music singles. The criteria to include them in the following list were based on the number of copies sold by each single, estimated in millions. All the singles listed here were cited by reliable sources from various media, such as digital journalism, newspapers, magazines, and even books related or not with the subject of music.
It is notable that, according to Guinness World Records, “White Christmas” (1942) by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies. The song recognized as “the best-selling single of all time” was released before the pop/rock singles-chart era and “was listed as the world’s best-selling single in the first-ever Guinness Book of Records (published in 1955) and—remarkably—still retains the title more than 50 years later”. Also, Guinness World Records states that double A-side charity single “Candle in the Wind 1997″/”Something About the Way You Look Tonight” (1997) by Elton John, a tribute to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, is “the biggest-selling single since UK and US singles charts began in the 1950s, having accumulated worldwide sales of 33 million copies”, making it the second-best-selling single of all time.
Crosby’s Silent Night was also very high.