Monday, December 20, 2010

Brian Setzer: Run Rudolph Run

As the Monday before Christmas, it’s time for a cover of a past Christmas hit. It didn’t take me long to pick the song or its cover. Chuck Berry first popularized “Run Rudolph Run” in 1958 when it peaked on the Hot 100 at #69.

Since most Christmas records tend not to chart at all due to their limited run on the charts, a mid charting Christmas record indicates the level of its popularity. Brian Setzer, formerly of the Stray Cats, leads the charge with his cover of this Christmas rocker.

Chuck Berry’s Original

Although written by Johnny Marks and Marvin Brodie, the original Chess single listed C. Berry and M. Brodie as composers. This was done so R&B and Rock ‘n Roll disc jockeys wouldn’t pass on playing the record due to Johnny Marks name being listed as an author.

Marks was known for his repertoire of Christmas music such as “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Holly, Jolly Christmas,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year.” He also set the Longfellow poem “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” to music.

“Run Rudolph Run,” which is often miscredited as “Run, Run Rudolph,” has been recorded by numerous rockers including Dave Edmunds, Keith Richards, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sheryl Crow, The Grateful Dead, Foghat, Billy Idol, and Bryan Adams to name only few. The best know rendition, however, is the original by Chuck Berry.

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