Everyone thinks Chuck Berry wrote “Run Rudolph Run.”
He did not. He recorded it first, in 1958, but it was written by Johnny Marks and Marvin Brodie.
Marvin Brodie is a bit of a mystery, but not Johnny Marks. He was one of the greatest writers of contemporary Christmas songs. His first Christmas hit was “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” in 1949. When they created the much-loved “Rudolph” stop-action TV special in 1964, Marks wrote all the songs, including “A Holly Jolly Christmas.” He also wrote “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” and “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” both also released in 1958.
Then again, there’s speculation that Berry did indeed write it, but that Marks’ name is on it because he owned the rights to Rudolph. Perhaps Berry is Marvin Brodie. In any case, a little mystery unsolved to this day.
A Chuck Berry song came up on the iPod while I was working out this morning. It’s another reminder that Chuck Berry, for all of his considerable quirks, is an American treasure.
“Run Rudolph Run,” Chuck Berry, from “Chuck Berry’s Golden Decade, Vol. 2,” 1973. That LP is out of print. The song originally was released on Chess single 1714 in 1958. It’s available on “Johnny B. Goode: His Complete ’50s Chess Recordings,” a 4-CD set released in 2008.
Your Christmas music requests in the comments, please.
Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.