Title: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
Artist: Burl Ives
Release date: 1965
Favorite track: “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year”
There is almost nothing more nostalgic and sentimental than watching the original “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and hearing its music.
It’s a lovely, zero-to-hero tale promoting messages of confidence, family values and being yourself. And, Rudolph is so stinkin’ cute.
The charming story was a stop-motion animated TV special that aired in 1964. Johnny Marks wrote the songs, and Burl Ives voiced Sam the Snowman and the narrator.
I added this record to my Christmas collection this year, and I couldn’t be more tickled. The soundtrack is as brilliant as the program.
This soundtrack starts in the best way, introducing the reindeer names … along with playful music that incites the coinciding reindeer games. Hearing Videocraft Orchestra’s “Overture and a Holly Jolly Christmas” teleports me back to childhood, when I first watched the show.
The entire record is certainly the sound of Christmas — evident in the jingling bells of “Jingle Jingle Jingle” and the quirky voices in “We are Santa’s Elves.” I can practically hear the pounding of tiny hammers working on toys in Santa’s workshop.
I’ll admit I have a hard time trudging through the annoyingly nasally vocals in “We’re a Couple of Misfits,” but it fits the message of the song.
Janet Orenstein’s delicate vocals in “There’s Always Tomorrow,” Ives’ enchanting vocals in “Silver and Gold” and the Decca Concert Orchestra’s string instruments in many of the tracks give this soundtrack a truly elegant sound. Yesteryear never sounded so good.
It’s difficult not to be comforted by Ives’ deeply soothing voice.
“The Most Wonderful Day of the Year” is my favorite track because it coincides with the segment of the plot held on the Island of Misfit Toys. I’ve always adored this conglomeration of broken, undesirable toys.
We’re on the Island of Misfit Toys
Here we don’t want to stay
We want to travel with Santa Claus
In his magic sleigh!
— “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year”
It’s tough to beat the classic song, “A Holly Jolly Christmas.” I sometimes wonder if we are born knowing the lyrics, perhaps held in a lobe of the brain dedicated to Christmas music alone.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is the most iconic song. I can’t imagine a child who doesn’t, at some point, yearn to don a red nose like Rudolph’s.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows
—“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
The album cover is an image from the TV special with the title and Burl Ives’ name written in a modern yellow font. Much like the program, it’s simple and perfect.