Christmas music has been dominating local radio play since Thanksgiving. For five weeks every year, many old – and some newer – seasonal standards are played over, and over, and over on local radio stations, cable and Internet music services and at local music shops. And we have Johnny Marks to thank for much of this.
Johnny Marks may be Mr. Santa Claus to the recording industry. He is responsible for composing some of the most well-known and beloved holiday music, including: Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer; Run, Rudolph Run; Rockin’Around the Christmas Tree; A Holly Jolly Christmas; Silver and Gold; Happy New Year Darling, and many, many more. Marks is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and a complete listing of his song catalog appears on the SHF website.
Marks passed away in 1985, but his estate continues to profit from the five week bonanza of air play for his songs. And by far, his single most famous and most profitable song is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Numerous singers have recorded versions of Rudolph, including Gene Autry, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Ray Conniff, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Paul Anka, Burl Ives, The Temptations, The Jackson Five, Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, Ringo Starr, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Destiny's Child, Barry Manilow, DMX and more. A1980 article in People Magazine states that Marks earned over $800,000 in annual music royalties at that time, with 75% attributed to Rudolph.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Santa to the record business -- Johnny Marks.