11. "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," Gene AutryColumbia 38610 (78) b/w "If It Doesn't Snow On Christmas"
Highest chart position: #1, one week (1949)
Recorded June 27, 1949, Hollywood, CA
Funny how so many of our treasured Christmas stories are the direct result of advertising campaigns. When the massively popular Montgomery Ward chain of department stores needed a coloring book of their own to sell at Christmas, they bought up a story copywriter Robert L. May had written for his daughter, supposedly based on his own outcast experiences as a scrawny kid. The public ate it up, and May's brother-in-law Johnny Marks eventually crafted a song around the tale. Cowboy crooner Autry had to be convinced to wax the original in 1949, but it turned out to be a good decision: as far as holiday favorites go, only "White Christmas" has sold more copies.