Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Chess Records: Run Rudolph Run

Although Chess Records had a number of Christmas themed songs, the best known holiday classic on the label was by Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run.” Released in November 1958, the single peaked that Christmas season at #69.

The interesting aspect of this song was that the writing credits were listed as C. Berry Music and M. Brodie. In this case, C. Berry Music was a pseudonym for Johnny Marks, who along with Marvin Brodie, penned the tune.

Marks’ name was probably eliminated so that R&B radio would play the tune. Marks is known for writing a number of Christmas classics that included “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “I Hear the Bells on Christmas Day,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” and dozens of others.

In addition, the Chess releases listed the publisher of the song as its own in-house publishing concern: Arc Music, BMI; however, the song was actually administered by St. Nicholas Music, ASCAP – the company owned by Johnny Marks.

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