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Christmas Music Playlists with Gene Autry Songs
Back Home On The Ranch For Christmas With The Singing Cowboy
Factfile - Gene Autry
- Autry wrote Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) with Oakley Haldeman in 1948.
- In 1949 he recorded Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Johnny Marks) which went to #1 for Christmas in the US, selling 2.5 million copies in the first year.
- The following year he released his version of Frosty the Snow Man (Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson).
- According to RIAA data, Autry holds positions 10 (Frosty the Snow Man), 12 (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) and 15 (Here Comes Santa Claus) in the chart of best-selling Christmas singles in the US.
- Every track on his classic album The Original: Gene Autry Sings Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & Other Christmas Favorites (1957) had spoken word preludes.
‘The Singing Cowboy’ Gene Autry had a dual career as an actor, mostly westerns both on TV and in the cinema, and as a multiple million selling artist. His most famous song happened to be a Christmas song called ‘Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)’ which Autry wrote with Oakley Haldeman and recorded himself in 1948. It was enormously successful in its own right and has since been recorded by the likes of Elvis, Doris Day and latter day Bob Dylan. The Autry sound is unique, so much so that if you have a handle on ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ it would be relatively easy to pick out his other Christmas recordings. They have that old time feel, retaining the sense that their natural berth is on a crackling piece of vinyl.
In 1949, a year after ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ made such an impression, Autry released the Johnny Marks number ‘Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ with backing vocals supplied by the Pinafores. In sales terms it actually outsold ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ and remains Autry’s best-selling single ever. The flipside of the single contained the lot less known ‘If It Doesn't Snow On Christmas’ which is an endearing ode to Santa and frosted flakes. Christmas 1950 was to see another Autry number, his 3rd in as many years. This time he tackled ‘Frosty The Snowman’ and again it was a hit but to a smaller degree than its two predecessors.
Gene Autry’s one and only Christmas album ‘The Original: Gene Autry Sings Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & Other Christmas Favorites’ came out in 1957 with orchestral arrangements supplied by Carl Cotner. This 12-track delight contained a couple of his earlier Christmas singles plus several of Autry’s own Christmas songs. The most memorable of these was the delightful ode to a Christmas Eve Santa on ‘Sleigh Bells’. ‘The Original…’ featured spoken word introductions to each of its track by Autry, giving the album even more of that old world charm. The album was out of print for many years but was digitally restored in 2006 for its inaugural CD release. A more comprehensive compilation of Gene Autry Christmas tracks from the 1940’s and 1950’s was released in 1994 and was simply called ‘A Gene Autry Christmas’. This is the only release where you’ll find Autry’s rare Christmas collaboration with Rosemary Clooney ‘Look Out The Window’ as well his rendition of ‘Merry Christmas Waltz’.
He doesn't care if you're a
Gene Autry, Here Comes Santa Claus
rich or poor boy,
He loves you just the same.
Santa knows that we're God's children,
That makes everything right...
Gene Autry Christmas Album & Single Covers