7. "Run Rudolph Run," Chuck BerryChess 1714 b/w "Merry Christmas Baby"
Highest chart position: #69 US (1958)
Recorded August 1958, Chicago, IL
Although it's now co-credited to Johnny Marks, that almost certainly has to do with Chuck's unlicensed use of Marks' classic Rudolph character -- this is pure Berry, plain and simple, a straight rocker in the style of his "Sweet Little Rock And Roller" or "Little Queenie." This song, which tanked on release but has gained a huge following over the years, especially among Chuck fanatics, is the first known rock and roll song to mention the word "freeway" (a new concept in '58). It also evinces a typically Fifties brand of American commercialism -- the boy in his song is dying for a rock and roll guitar for Christmas. And it's certainly the only holiday classic to add a tenth reindeer to the mix, warning Rudolph that "Randolph ain't too far behind." Randolph? Who's Randolph?