Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (song)

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"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
Single Gene Autry-Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer cover.jpg
Single by Gene Autry
B-side "If It Doesn't Snow on Christmas"
"Here Comes Santa"
"Here Comes Santa Claus"
Released September 1, 1949[1]
Format 7", 10"
Recorded June 27, 1949[1]
Genre Christmas
Length 3:10
Label Columbia 38610
Columbia MJV-56
Columbia 4-38610
Columbia 33165
Challenge 1010
Challenge 59030
Music video
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (audio) on YouTube

"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is a song written by Johnny Marks based on the 1939 story Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer published by the Montgomery Ward Company. Gene Autry's recording hit No. 1 on the U.S. charts the week of Christmas 1949.

History[edit]

In 1939 Marks' brother-in-law, Robert L. May, created the character Rudolph as an assignment for Montgomery Ward, and Marks decided to adapt the story of Rudolph into a song. Marks (1909–1985) was a radio producer who also wrote several other popular Christmas songs.[2]

The song had an added introduction, paraphrasing the poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" (public domain by the time the song was written), stating the names of the eight reindeer which went:

"You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen,
But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all?"

The song was first sung by crooner Harry Brannon on New York City radio in early November 1949,[citation needed] before Gene Autry's recording hit No. 1 in the U.S. charts during Christmas 1949. The song was suggested as a "B" side for a record Autry was making it. Autry rejected the song. His wife convinced him to use it. The success of this Christmas song by Autry gave support to Autry's subsequent popular Easter song, "Here Comes Peter Cottontail." Autry's version of the song also holds the distinction of being the only chart-topping hit to fall completely off the chart after reaching No. 1. The official date of its No. 1 status was for the week ending January 7, 1950, making it the first No. 1 song of the 1950s.[3]

The song was also performed on the December 6, 1949, Fibber McGee and Molly radio broadcast by Teeny (Marion Jordan's little girl character) and The Kingsmen vocal group. The lyrics varied greatly from the Autry version.[citation needed] Autry's recording sold 1.75 million copies its first Christmas season, eventually selling a total of 12.5 million. Cover versions included, sales exceed 150 million copies, second only to Bing Crosby's "White Christmas".[4][5]

Current owner of copyrights is Kobalt Music Group

Other notable recordings[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The lyric "All of the other reindeer" can be misheard in dialects with the cot–caught merger as the mondegreen "Olive, the other reindeer", and has given rise to another character featured in her own Christmas television special, Olive, the Other Reindeer.

The song in its Finnish translation, Petteri Punakuono, has led to Rudolph's general acceptance in the mythology as the lead reindeer of Joulupukki, the Finnish Santa.

References[edit]

  • ASCAP Work ID: 480058686 (ISWC: T0701273995)
  1. ^ a b http://www.autry.com/musicmovies/musiccds/essentialgeneautry2.html
  2. ^ Kim, Wook (December 17, 2012). "Yule Laugh, Yule Cry: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Beloved Holiday Songs". Time. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ Casey Kasem American Top 40 April 8, 1979
  4. ^ Badger, Reid; Salem, James (December 22, 1996). "America's Holiday Sound– Distinctive artists". The Tuscaloosa News. Google News. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  5. ^ Jackson, Kenneth T. (August 15, 1998). The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Volume 1. Gale. p. 550. Retrieved October 17, 2013. , while Autry's version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" sold more than 12.5 million copies 
  6. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved September 19, 2016. 
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Christmas in the Charts (1920–2004). Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 31. ISBN 0-89820-161-6. 
  8. ^ Whitburn p. 43
  9. ^ Whitburn p. 36
  10. ^ Whitburn p. 25
  11. ^ Whitburn p. 49
  12. ^ "'Burl Ives' Billboard 200". billboard.com. 
  13. ^ Whitburn p. 61

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Mule Train" by Frankie Laine
U.S. Billboard Best Sellers in Stores number-one single
January 7, 1950 (Gene Autry)
Succeeded by
"I Can Dream, Can't I" by The Andrews Sisters