Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

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Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer sung by Gene Autry.  Rudolph first appeared in a coloring book written and drawn by Robert L. May in 1939 as a Christmas giveaway by Montgomery Ward.  The tale of Rudoplph proved immensely popular with kids, with the coloring book still being in print and sold more than seven decades latter.  The famous song was written by Johnny Marks, a song writer and World War 2 combat veteran.  It was first sung by Harry Brannon in November 1949, shortly before the singing cowboy, Gene Autry, performed his immortal rendition.

Legions of singers have sang the story of Rudolph.  Here is a memorable version by Bing Cosby and Ella Fitzgerald:



Here is another memorable version, by Alvin and the Chipmunks, although perhaps it is not memorable for the same reason:

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  1. A bit off topic: the latest media-driven battle in the culture war is over the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. The left is saying it’s creepy, and the right is calling them wusses, and I know which camp I’m supposed to be in…but man, that song is creepy. It’s got a good enough tune, and I bet that it’s fun to sing it as a duet, but it really is a song about wearing a gal down in order to sleep with her. How did that ever make it onto the list of Christmas classics?

  2. Background on the song:

    It shouldn’t be on any Christmas playlist. However it was first performed by a married couple as a playful answer and response song some seventy years ago. This was back in more morally sane times when it was not expected that the song was leading up to a sexual encounter. Still not a good match with Christmas. The song on Christmas playlists that sends me up the wall is “Santa Baby” that paean to disguised prostitution.

  3. Pinky,

    Donald is correct. Some on the left say it’s a song suggesting rape and drugs, but while performed by a married couple, the context soon came to be a non-married couple, with the man trying to convince the woman to stay the night by saying it’s cold outside as the excuse. By the time later versions came out, that spin was nowhere near hidden and the point of the song was increasingly flaunted. The reason it’s now on the lists is because of the movie Elf. While there are certainly a ton of songs that halve zilch to do with Christmas, this is almost as antithetical to everything that the faith stands for, especially with how it is performed and accepted today, as you can get.

  4. My parents used to play the 33 LP Bing Crosby Christmas Album and we’d sing along. We played the tape in the car for our boys. At NAS Cubi Point we’d pull a piano outside and have a squadron family sing a long with all the old favorites, the finale being “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”and afterwards lechon (roast pig) and hot mulled cider in 80 degree weather…..almost 30 years ago.

  5. Any version I can find online that wasn’t written recently includes the following:
    My mother will start to worry
    My father will be pacing the floor
    My sister will be suspicious
    My brother will be there at the door
    I gotta get home
    There’s bound to be talk tomorrow
    At least there will be plenty implied
    Those really doesn’t sound like a married person’s reasons for leaving.
    I really haven’t studied Christmas songs, but it seems like the ones from 100 years ago or further were hymns, then more recently songs about Christmastime, then most recently about snow or drinking or grandma/reindeer collisions. Maybe there are always garbage contemporary songs, and it’s only the great hymns that stand the test of time. I don’t know. I know that, as much as I respect the Greatest Generation, they sure churned out a lot more songs about sleigh rides than about the Incarnation.

  6. Oh, I wasn’t referring to that song in particular, just the genre of…reindeer accident themed songs. And sure, 100 years from now, carolers will be singing “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”, the same as we sing “We Three Kings”. No one’s disputing that. Clearly I touched a nerve here, and that wasn’t my intention. I just mean that other songs about grandparents and reindeer maybe don’t reflect the fullest meaning of Christmas the way that “O Holy Night”, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”, and “Joy to the World” do.

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