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The Top 40 Christmas Oldies Songs -- #7

A countdown and history of the oldies era's greatest holiday tunes


"Run Rudolph Run," Chuck Berry

source: ebay.com

7. "Run Rudolph Run," Chuck Berry

Chess 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?

Hear a clip of the song
Read the lyrics
Buy the CD
Get the chords and tabs
Watch a video of "Run Rudolph Run" on YouTube

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