Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was created by Robert L. May in 1939 as an assignment for Montgomery Ward. The retailer had been buying and giving away coloring books for Christmas every year, and it was decided that creating their own book would save money. In its first year of publication, 2.4 million copies of Rudolph’s story were distributed by Montgomery Ward.
The author’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, was a radio producer and song writer who decided to adapt May’s story into a song. It was first sung commercially by crooner Harry Brannon on New York City radio in the latter part of 1948 before Gene Autry recorded it formally in 1949. Now it’s a holiday classic.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Lyrics
Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
“Rudolph, with your nose so bright,
won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”
Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you’ll go down in history!