The Montgomery Ward department store in Chicago used to give way books to children at Christmas. In 1939, a catalog writer for Montgomery Ward named Robert L. May came up with an idea for a new book and wrote the story of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Montgomery Ward gave away two million copies, which were a great hit with kids, teachers, and store managers.
In 1948, May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, wrote a song based on the book. He offered it to Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, who both passed on it. But Gene Autry recorded it, and it became a huge hit for him. Here is Autry performing “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1953:
Marks went on to write many more Christmas songs, including the music for the TV Christmas Special about Rudolph, which first aired in 1964.
“A Holly Jolly Christmas”:
“Rockin’ Around the…
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Comments on: "Johnny Marks, the Christmas Songwriter" (3)
Hello, my dear! I saw this and immediately thought of you!
NEver knew about the person behind those songs!
Thanks, I do love Christmas Carols and songs of all types. I love the learn the history of them.