Top 10 Versions of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" by Christian Artists

Traditional Religious Christmas Carol

The words to "O Little Town of Bethlehem" were written by an Episcopal priest named Phillips Brooks in 1867 after a visit to the town of Bethlehem two years prior. The music, simply titled "St. Louis" at the time, was written by Lewis H. Redner in 1868. Redner was Brooks’ organist at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is said that the tune came to him on Christmas Eve, and was first sung the next day.

The carol has been covered by artists from just about every style of music. The following list covers the most popular versions by Christian and Gospel Artists.

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Bebe Winans

BeBe Winans - My Christmas Prayer
BeBe Winans - My Christmas Prayer. Hidden Beach/Epic

The warmth of Bebe Winans' rendition of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" brings to mind crackling fires, hot chocolate with plenty of tiny marshmallows, and the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree. This is Christmas as I remember it from my childhood.

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Bill & Gloria Gaither

Bill & Gloria Gaither - Joy To The World
Bill & Gloria Gaither - Joy To The World. Spring House Music Group

Bill and Gloria Gaither and the rest of the Homecoming crew deliver a solid traditional rendition of "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" on their Joy To The World album. Outstanding harmonies make this a stand-out version that will add to any Christmas collection.

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Yolanda Adams

WOW Gospel Christmas 2007
WOW Gospel Christmas 2007. EMI Gospel

Yolanda Adams keeps "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" purely traditional, adding no bells and whistles at all. Her powerful voice and sincere delivery says it all.

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BarlowGirl - Home For Christmas
BarlowGirl - Home For Christmas. Fervent Records/Word

The Barlow sisters add a touch of rock to "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," giving it the signature BarlowGirl treatment, making it a a definite new holiday favorite.

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Steven Curtis Chapman

Steven Curtis Chapman - All I Really Want For Christmas
Steven Curtis Chapman - All I Really Want For Christmas. Sparrow Records

Warmth and hope shine through on Steven Curtis Chapman's rendition of "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

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Kathy Troccoli

Kathy Troccoli - A Sentimental Christmas
Kathy Troccoli - A Sentimental Christmas. Reunion Records

You can definitely hear the Christmases of Kathy Troccoli's past in her medley. The combination of "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" and "Away In A Manger" bring to mind memories of my own childhood and listening to the classics being crooned by the likes of Sinatra, Burl Ives and Perry Como.

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Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson - A Most Excellent Mahalia Jackson Christmas
Mahalia Jackson - A Most Excellent Mahalia Jackson Christmas. San Juan Music Group

There is a sweetness that comes through Mahalia Jackson's voice in her delivery of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" that makes it soar. The bluesy feel combined with her passion and the vocals give this carol what Randy Jackson would call the "it factor."

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Sandi Patty

Sandi Patty - Yuletide Joy
Sandi Patty - Yuletide Joy. INO/Epic

On her Christmas album Yuletide Joy, Sandi Patty combines "Jesus Oh What A Wonderful Child" with "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" for a rockin' gospel combo that will really bring joy to your Christmas season.

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4HIM - Christmas The Season Of Love
4HIM - Christmas The Season Of Love. Benson Records

4HIM combines four Christmas classics for a montage of holiday cheer on their version of the popular carol. Joining "O Little Town of Bethlehem" are "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear," "Away In A Manger" and "Silent Night! Holy Night!"

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Fernando Ortega

Fernando Ortega - Christmas Songs
Fernando Ortega - Christmas Songs. Curb Records

Fernando Ortega's version of the classic carol is beautifully done, very quiet and personal. (Christmas Songs will be available on October 21, 2008)