Christmas Tips & Fun

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Music of Christmas

Here Comes Gene Autry – Or Rather, Here Comes Santa Claus

G

ene Autry was known as The Singing Cowboy and for good reason. His voice would become associated with western music from the 1920s until his death in 1998. He was born in Texas but his parents moved to Oklahoma when he was young. A good thing, too, because while Autry was working as a railroad telegrapher in the mid-20s and singing songs he knew or wrote, he was encouraged by one of his customers – a fellow Oklahoman named Will Rogers – to pursue a career as a singer.

All in all, Autry made some 640 recordings which included more than 300 songs that he either wrote or co-wrote. He sold more than 100 million records with more than a dozen of them gold or platinum.

He wrote Here Comes Santa Claus in 1947 after appearing in a Christmas parade and hearing the watching crowd chant the phrase.

In 1949 Autry recorded what would become a signature song, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.

He appeared in nearly a hundred "B westerns" and more than 100 episodes of his television series (which featured his horse Champion and his sidekick Pat Buttram – who often rode a jeep named Nelly Belle.) Often on the Forbes Magazine list of wealthiest people, Autry also owned the California Angels.

But at Christmastime we best remember him for his memorable Oklahoma twang and his renditions of Here Comes Santa Claus, Frosty The Snowman, and Rudolph.


Written by Dianne Weller
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