Posted by: Frederick Cornwell Sanders | 2013/12/02

“December 2, 1949” by Rick Sanders

Cover of one of the books of the Robert L. May...

Cover of one of the books of the Robert L. May story by Maxton Publishers, Inc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1949, Gene Autry‘s song “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” hit the record charts. From Wikipedia we learn:

In 1939 Marks’ brother-in-law, Robert L. May, created 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.

The song had an added introduction, stating the names of the eight reindeer which went:

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

The song was sung commercially by crooner Harry Brannon on New York City radio in early November 1949, before Gene Autry‘s recording hit No. 1 in the U.S. charts the week of Christmas 1949. 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.

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]

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