"Run Rudolph Run"[1][2][3] is a Christmas song popularized by Chuck Berry, written by Johnny Marks and Marvin Brodie[note 1] and published by St. Nicholas Music (ASCAP). The song was first recorded by Berry in 1958 and released as a single on Chess Records.[13]

"Run Rudolph Run"
Single by Chuck Berry
A-side"Merry Christmas, Baby"
Released1958
Format45 rpm record
GenreChristmas,
rock and roll
Length2:18
LabelChess
Songwriter(s)
  • Chuck Berry Music (credited on original single label)
  • Johnny Marks (subsequent)
  • Marvin Brodie

It has since been covered by numerous other artists, sometimes with the title "Run Run Rudolph".[14] The song is a 12-bar blues, musically similar to Berry's very popular and recognizable song "Johnny B. Goode", and melodically identical to his song "Little Queenie", the latter of which was released shortly after, in 1959.

HistoryEdit

The song was written by Johnny Marks (the writer of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer") and Marvin Brodie. Berry's 1958 45-rpm single, however, gives writing credits to "C. Berry Music – M. Brodie". All subsequent cover versions of the song are credited to Marks and Brodie, as published by Marks's St. Nicholas Music (ASCAP).[8]

The song's dialogue between Santa and the children references popular toys of the 1950s:

Said Santa to a boy child "What have you been longing for?"
"All I want for Christmas is a rock and roll electric guitar"
And then away went Rudolph a whizzing like a shooting star

Said Santa to a girl child "What would please you most to get?"
"A little baby doll that can cry, sleep, drink and wet"
And then away went Rudolph a whizzing like a Saber jet.[15]

Cover versionsEdit

This song was covered by singer Whitney Wolanin in 2013. Her recording reached the highest chart position of all versions on Billboard, reaching number two on its Adult Contemporary chart. Wolanin starred in an HD parody music film with the song about the original film A Christmas Story at the Christmas Story House.

It has been covered by other artists including[16] Straight No Chaser, the Ethical Debating Society, Slaughter & the Dogs, L.A. Guns, Mojo Nixon, Emily Osment, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sister Hazel, Billy Ray Cyrus, Five Easy Pieces, Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons, Dave Edmunds, Hanson, Sheryl Crow, Bryan Adams, Lulu, Click Five, the Grateful Dead, Keith Richards (on his first solo single), Brinsley Schwarz, Jimmy Buffett, Foghat, Paul Brandt, Whitney Wolanin, Kelly Clarkson, the Tractors, Dwight Yoakam, Reverend Horton Heat, Hanoi Rocks, Billy Idol, Cee Lo Green, Luke Bryan, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Joe Perry, Los Lonely Boys, Jane Krakowski, the cast of the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet, the Yobs, Vincent Martella (as the character Phineas Flynn, from Phineas and Ferb), the Muppets' band Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, and a one-off supergroup consisting of Lemmy Kilmister, Billy Gibbons, and Dave Grohl for the 2008 album We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year. It was also covered by Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry for his 2014 EP Joe Perry's Merry Christmas by and Sara Evans on her 2014 album Sara Evans: At Christmas. Cheap Trick released it on their Christmas Christmas CD release in 2017.

Conan O'Brien and his house band, Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band, played the song to close a show in December 2010.[17]

Chart performanceEdit

Berry's 1958 recording peaked at number 69 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1958. His version also made the 1963 UK list, peaking at number 36. In 2013 Whitney Wolanin released a version of the song that reached number 2 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The only other recordings that charted in the U.S. were by the country music artists Luke Bryan, whose 2008 rendition peaked at number 42 on the Hot Country Songs chart, and Justin Moore, whose 2011 version peaked at number 58 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

Chuck BerryEdit

Chart (2018–19) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[18] 49
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[19] 33
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[20] 78
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[21] 83
US Billboard Hot 100[22] 36
US Holiday 100 (Billboard)[23] 20
US Rolling Stone Top 100[24] 23

Whitney WolaninEdit

Chart (2013) Peak
position
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[25] 2

Luke BryanEdit

Chart (2008–09) Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[26] 42

Justin MooreEdit

Chart (2012) Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[27] 58

NotesEdit

  1. ^ There is some debate about authorship.[4][5] The original record credited authorship to Berry's music company (Chuck Berry Music, Inc.) and Brodie.[2] Only in subsequent releases did the writing credits go to Marks and Brodie[1] (and even then, this was not always the case, as multiple later releases by the label credited the song simply to Berry[6][5]). Marks was the songwriter of the thematically similar, but otherwise different, song Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.[7]

    All cover versions of Run Rudolph Run by other artists have since credited the song to Marks and Brodie (as published by Marks's St. Nicholas Music (ASCAP)).[8] Berry's song Little Queenie -recorded during the same session as Run Rudolph Run, and which was musically identical to, but lyrically different than, Run Rudolph Run[5]- was released shortly after Run Rudolph Run, in 1959. In it, the song never listed Marks or Brodie as a songwriter[8], only Berry's music company[9][10] or Berry himself.[11][12][5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Chuck Berry - Run Rudolph Run". Allmusic.com. AllMusic, member of the RhythmOne group. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019. Run Rudolph Run
  2. ^ a b "Chuck Berry – Run Rudolph Run / Merry Christmas Baby". Discogs.com. Discogs®. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019. Run Rudolph Run - Chuck Berry
  3. ^ "Run Rudolph Run (Single Version)". Amazon.com. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019. Run Rudolph Run
  4. ^ "Run Rudolph Run". Songfacts.com. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019. ...Rudolph is copyrighted, and Berry had to give the publishing rights to Johnny Marks, who wrote the original Rudolph. Perhaps if Berry had used "Randolph" (another reindeer he mentions), he could have kept the publishing. That's what the makers of the British TV special Robbie the Reindeer did.
  5. ^ a b c d Rudolph, Dietmar (18 December 2013). "Run! Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer – and the copyright mystery". Crlf.de. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Chuck Berry's Golden Decade Vo. 2 Disc 1". Chess. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019. Run Rudolph Run (Chuck Berry)
  7. ^ "GeneAutry.com: Music, Movies & More - The Essential Gene Autry, 1931-1953". www.Autry.com. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "ACE Repertory - JOHNNY MARKS". Ascap.com. Retrieved 11 December 2019. (ASCAP's complete catalogue listing for Johnny Marks. "Run Rudolph Run" is listed. "Little Queenie" is not.)
  9. ^ "Chuck Berry – Little Queenie (image)". Discogs.com. Discogs®. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  10. ^ "Chuck Berry – Little Queenie". Discogs.com. Discogs®. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Chuck Berry - Little Queenie". Allmusic.com. AllMusic, member of the RhythmOne group. Archived from the original on 30 August 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2019. Little Queenie - Composed by Chuck Berry
  12. ^ "Chuck Berry's Golden Decade Vo. 2 Disc 3". Chess. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019. Little Queenie (Chuck Berry)
  13. ^ Chess Records no. 1714
  14. ^ "Lynyrd Skynyrd – Christmas Time Again". Discogs.com. Discogs®. Archived from the original on 7 July 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2019. [Lynyrd Skynyrd Track 6:] Run Run Rudolph
  15. ^ "Lyrics for Chuck Berry - Run Rudolph Run - Santa Radio". www.santaradio.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Run Rudolph Run". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  17. ^ "Conan O'Brien - Run, Run, Rudolph". 2008-12-22. Retrieved 2017-12-24 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Chuck Berry – Run Rudolph Run". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  19. ^ "Chuck Berry Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  20. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 20185152 into search. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  21. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  22. ^ "Chuck Berry Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  23. ^ "Chuck Berry Chart History (Holiday 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  24. ^ "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone. December 24, 2019. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  25. ^ "Whitney Wolanin Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  26. ^ "Luke Bryan Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  27. ^ "Justin Moore Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.

External linksEdit