Run Rudolph Run

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"Run, Rudolph, Run"
Single by Chuck Berry
A-side"Merry Christmas, Baby"
Format45 rpm record
GenreRock and roll
  • Chuck Berry Music (credited on original single label)
  • Johnny Marks (subsequent)
  • Marvin Brodie

"Run, Rudolph, Run" is a Christmas song popularized by Chuck Berry, written by Johnny Marks and Marvin Brodie and published by St. Nicholas Music (ASCAP). The song was first recorded by Berry in 1958 and released as a single on Chess Records.[1]

It has since been covered by numerous other artists, sometimes with the title "Run, Run, Rudolph".[2] The song is a 12-bar blues, musically similar to Berry's very popular and recognizable song "Johnny B. Goode" and melodically identical to his song "Little Queenie", released in 1959.


The song was written by Johnny Marks (the writer of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer") and Marvin Brodie. Berry's 1958 45-rpm single, however, gives writing credits to "C. Berry Music – M. Brodie". All subsequent cover versions of the song are credited to Marks and Brodie, as published by Marks's St. Nicholas Music (ASCAP).

The song's dialogue between Santa and the children references popular toys of the 1950s:

Said Santa to a boy child "What have you been longing for?"
"All I want for Christmas is a rock and roll electric guitar"
And then away went Rudolph a whizzing like a shooting star

Said Santa to a girl child "What would please you most to get?"
"A little baby doll that can cry, sleep, drink and wet"
And then away went Rudolph a whizzing like a Saber jet.[3]

Cover versions[edit]

This song was covered by singer Whitney Wolanin in 2013. Her recording reached the highest chart position of all versions on Billboard, reaching number two on its Adult Contemporary chart. Wolanin starred in an HD parody music film with the song about the original film A Christmas Story at the Christmas Story House.

It has been covered by other artists including[4] the Ethical Debating Society, Slaughter & the Dogs, L.A. Guns, Mojo Nixon, Emily Osment, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sister Hazel, Billy Ray Cyrus, Five Easy Pieces, Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons, Dave Edmunds, Hanson, Sheryl Crow, Bryan Adams, Lulu, Click Five, the Grateful Dead, Keith Richards (on his first solo single), Brinsley Schwarz, Jimmy Buffett, Foghat, Paul Brandt, Whitney Wolanin, Kelly Clarkson, the Tractors, Dwight Yoakam, Reverend Horton Heat, Hanoi Rocks, Billy Idol, Cee Lo Green, Luke Bryan, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Joe Perry, Los Lonely Boys, Jane Krakowski, the cast of the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet, the Yobs, Vincent Martella (as the character Phineas Flynn, from Phineas and Ferb), the Muppets' band Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, and a one-off supergroup consisting of Lemmy Kilmister, Billy Gibbons, and Dave Grohl for the 2008 album We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year. It was also covered by Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry for his 2014 EP Joe Perry's Merry Christmas by and Sara Evans on her 2014 album Sara Evans: At Christmas. Cheap Trick released it on their Christmas Christmas CD release in 2017.

Conan O'Brien and his house band, Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band, played the song to close a show in December 2010.[5]

Chart performance[edit]

Berry's 1958 recording peaked at number 69 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1958. His version also made the 1963 UK list, peaking at number 36. In 2013 Whitney Wolanin released a version of the song that reached number 2 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The only other recordings that charted in the U.S. were by the country music artists Luke Bryan, whose 2008 rendition peaked at number 42 on the Hot Country Songs chart, and Justin Moore, whose 2011 version peaked at number 58 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

Chuck Berry[edit]

Chart (2019) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 45
Chart (1963) Peak
UK Singles Chart 36
Chart (2018) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[6] 49

Whitney Wolanin[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[7] 2

Luke Bryan[edit]

Chart (2008–09) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 42

Justin Moore[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[9] 58


  1. ^ Chess Records no. 1714
  2. ^ The version by Lynyrd Skynyrd is entitled "Run, Run, Rudolph".
  3. ^ "Lyrics for Chuck Berry - Run Rudolph Run - Santa Radio". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Run Rudolph Run". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  5. ^ "Conan O'Brien - Run, Run, Rudolph". 2008-12-22. Retrieved 2017-12-24 – via YouTube.
  6. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. December 31, 2018. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  7. ^ "Whitney Wolanin Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  8. ^ "Luke Bryan Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Justin Moore Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.

External links[edit]