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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (song)

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Song-Rudolph
Written by: Johnny Marks
Publisher: St. Nicholas Music
Featured in:
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph's Shiny New Year
Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July
A Claymation Christmas Celebration
"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"
"We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
"Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas"

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a song based on the story of the same name, created by Robert L. May in 1939 as part of his employment with Montgomery Ward. The song tells the tale of Rudolph, Santa's ninth and lead reindeer, who possesses an unusually red-colored nose that gives off its own light (bioluminescence), powerful enough to illuminate the team's path through inclement winter weather.

The story is owned by The Rudolph Company, L.P. and has been sold in numerous forms including a popular song, a television special done in stop-motion animation, and a feature film. Character Arts, LLC manages the licensing for the Rudolph Company, L.P.

Production information

Robert L. May created Rudolph in 1939 as an assignment for Montgomery Ward. The retailer had been buying and giving away coloring books for Christmas every year and it was decided that creating their own book would save money. In its first year of publication, 2.4 million copies of Rudolph's story were distributed by Montgomery Ward. The story is written as a poem in the meter of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Johnny Marks, May's brother-in-law, decided to adapt his story into a song. Marks (1909–1985), who was Jewish, was a radio producer and wrote several popular Christmas songs. He was born in a New York City suburb and graduated from Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., before going off to Paris to study music. He had a heroic World War II combat record, winning the Bronze Star and four battle stars.

It was first sung commercially by crooner Harry Brannon on New York city radio in the latter part of 1948 before Gene Autry recorded it formally in 1949, and has since filtered into the popular consciousness.

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 special, Olive, the Other Reindeer.

Lyrics

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?
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names
They'd never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games
Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say
"Rudolph, with your nose so bright,
Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"
Then how the reindeer loved him
As they shouted out with glee:
"Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
You'll go down in history!"

Album releases

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