This is the 82nd article in a weekly series. Read about it here and view the list of previous song here. A brand-new post around a different song is posted each Monday. You can listen come the song in a Spotify playlist.
You are watching: Who sings grandma got run over by a reindeer
On his 1973 album “Merle Haggard’s Christmas Present,” the country singer had a song dubbed “Grandma’s Homemade Christmas Card,” which said the story of a family’s cherished memento:
The family members once received a homemade Christmas cardAnd anyone was thrilled to read the city inside‘Cause every line was perfect like the way it have to beAnd grandma’s surname was nicely signed v pride
It merely read, “My prayers and thoughts space with youAnd every my Christmas wishes room for realAnd I’m just an excellent enough in ~ poetry to do it rhymeAnd to likewise let you know the means I feel”
Grandma’s homemade Christmas card from long agoHangs proud in the tree height with the tinsel snowIt’s the only card that we store from year come yearYep, grandma’s homemade Christmas card is always here
When singer-songwriter Randy Brooks very first heard the song, the feared that the titular grandma would certainly be killed off in the song. As he said an audience in 2011:
As ns listened, ns anticipated that Merle was taking us where so many country songwriters did during that period: singing the praises of some beloved figure for two verses, just to disclose in verse 3 that the beloved figure had pass away.
I thought, “Merle, if you were fifty percent the songwriter you think friend are, you i will not ~ manipulate your audience favor that. You’d break the news in the very first line that the tune that Grandma was dead — and also then if you might still come increase with 3 verses and a chorus, you’d really have actually something!”
The grandma in Haggard’s track did not finish up dying, but Brooks felt influenced to compose a Christmas-themed song about a dead grandma anyway. He has actually said his text were influenced in component by his own grandmother:
All of us grandchildren called my granny Dot-Dot. “Dot” was quick for Dorothy. As a toddler I added a 2nd Dot, and also it stuck. The real an enig is why anyone ever dubbed her Dorothy in the very first place since her surname was Katherine…
…She to be a funny little thing. Together time thinned her hair, she took to wearing a luxurious wig the a brunette shade not found in nature among women she age. A true Kentuckian, she chosen her bourbon. A storage lingers of she leaving our home one night, giggling, v wig askew, and my dad questioning if she was certain she to be OK come drive…
My mother tells me the Dot-Dot to be a harsh taskmaster, a previous school teacher who intended perfection from she children. However as the oldest grandchild, I could do no wrong. Dot-Dot and also I had a special relationship.
Drawing top top Merle Haggard’s songs and memories the Dot-Dot, Brooks created “Grandma obtained Run over By A Reindeer.” True to his ambition, he eliminated off Grandma quickly:
Grandma obtained run end by a reindeerWalking residence from our residence Christmas eveYou can say there’s no such thing as SantaBut together for me and grandpa we believeShe’d been drinking too lot eggnogAnd we begged her not to goBut she forgot she medicationAnd she staggered out the door right into the snowWhen we discovered her Christmas morningAt the scene of the attackShe had actually hoof-prints on she foreheadAnd incriminating Claus marks on she back
In the late ’70s, Brooks occurred to it is in stranded in ~ a Hyatt in Lake Tahoe throughout a blizzard. It to be there the he met Elmo Shropshire and also Patsy Trigg, a married couple whose Elmo & Patsy live present was a mix of country and also comedy. Upon finding out of Brooks’ song, Shropshire — a previous veterinarian that likes to be called “Dr. Elmo” — request if he could record “Grandma acquired Run over By A Reindeer.” Creating duplicates of the track on 45-rpm records, Dr. Elmo offered Elmo & Patsy’s variation of the song at shows.
In 1979, san Francisco DJ Gene Nelson play Elmo & Patsy’s “Grandma gained Run end By A Reindeer” top top air, making that a hit among local listeners. When the Christmas season ended, Dr. Elmo suspect the song’s popularity would certainly diminish. The didn’t. As he told mental Floss:
“The complying with year, word spread out from radio station to radio station. This no anything that started out with any big-time radio hype. Us weren’t offering DJs cocaine or women or anything. Ns didn’t have the wherewithal to execute all that stuff.”
Dr. Elmo secured the publishing rights and also self-released 500 copies of the song. In 1982, a agency in Nashville approached him through the idea of pushing 250,000 copies. Despite he fear the records wouldn’t sell, lock did, giving Dr. Elmo the bold idea to offer his veterinarian hospital to do a $30,000 music video. In this video, though, the titular Grandma finished up living.
At this point, that still didn’t have a document deal, and also Dr. Elmo concerned he had made a mistake. “After ns made the video, I had what you’d call filmmaker’s remorse,” Dr. Elmo said. “I payment all the money, and nothing was happening. The 250,000 duplicates was a great sell, however we no make any kind of money—not enough to pay because that the video.”
He quickly was able come pay because that it. People from MTV called him in November 1983 and also put “Grandma got Run end By A Reindeer” in heavy rotation. Top top the toughness of the exposure, the song passed bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” top top the Billboard vacation charts. Dr. Elmo signed a address Columbia Records, and by December 1984, his full-length “Grandma got Run end By A Reindeer” album outpaced Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to end up being the label’s peak seller.
From then on, the song has actually been a perennial radio staple. The has uncovered its means onto many Christmas compilations alongside much more traditional vacation fare, carry out in a couple of genres.
Irish Canadian people band The irish Rovers included a “Grandma obtained Run end By A Reindeer” cover on the band’s 1982 Christmas album, “It was A Night choose This.” The sheathe later showed up on “Songs the Christmas.” The countryish twangy distribution of the Elmo & Patsy variation was smoothed the end for a an ext folky sound, with hints of the band’s irish accents here and also there.
Singer-songwriter Annie Danielewski is far better known by her phase name Poe, and also Poe is probably finest known for “Angry Johnny” and “Trigger Happy Jack.” her cover that “Grandma gained Run end By A Reindeer” sounded much less trippy than either that those songs, sounding more like a tranquil lounge version.
Barry sheet is a country music artist who performed parodies of country songs under the name Cledus T. Judd. He’s been contrasted to weird Al Yankovic, yet his material is much more graphic and also crass than Yankovic’s songs. On his 1996 album, “I Stoled This Record,” Judd rewrote “Grandma acquired Run over By A Reindeer” as “Grandpa obtained Runned over By A john Deere”:
He’d been a-guzzlin’ old Jack DanielsAnd smokin’ that wacky weedHe mixed it with his medicationAnd run off through some bleach-blonde called Bernice
Followed increase with…
But we’re all ashamed that GrandpaHe take it Grandma’s death too wellStarted watchin’ porno moviesAnd engaging in call sex v Cousin Belle
It’s weird, but not monster Al.
For his 2002 album “Cledus Navidad,” Judd performed a country-fied variation of “Grandma acquired Run end By A Reindeer,” though he still claimed “runned” instead of “run.” In the intro come his version, Judd erroneously attributed the writing of the song to Elmo & Patsy, no Brooks.
The 2000 compilation “Sleighed: The other Side that Christmas” featured a ragtag crew that bands extending Christmas songs, consisting of Local H’s “Have yourself a Merry little Christmas,” Goldfinger’s “White Christmas,” and also The Smithereens’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” In the mix was much less Than Jake’s “Grandma gained Run end By A Reindeer,” which sounded precisely what you’d intend a pop-punk covering of the song to sound like: bratty and aggressive.
On the 2006 album, “A Dreaded Xmas: an ext Xmas Negatives,” Those Dreaded Gnats recast “Grandma acquired Run end By A Reindeer” together a sunny reggae jam. The tape paid attention to detail, an altering snow to sand and also specifying that the eggnog was Jamaican. What a reindeer to be doing in a sandy climate, though, I have no idea.
On the website because that The 3 Redneck Tenors, the classically trained singers are defined as having a layout that’s “‘Duck Dynasty’ goes come Carnegie room – down residence laughs with large city music!” on the trio’s rendition the “Grandma gained Run over By A Reindeer” top top the 2007 album “Christmas SPEC-TAC-YULE-AR,” the singers seem to shot to downplay their talent and training in donate of play up stereotypes for laughs. And it seems to occupational for their audience.
But if you’re interested in a version of “Grandma gained Run end By A Reindeer” performed in more classical style, then this version by Dublin’s gay & Lesbian choir Glória might scratch the itch. Showing up on the group’s 2007 album “Wish friend a an extremely Merry Christmas,” this variation of the tune is provided the very same serious therapy that more traditional standards would receive, making it funnier 보다 the versions that play increase country and “redneck” tropes.
Christian band household Force 5 recast “Grandma acquired Run end By A Reindeer” as a rap-rock song. Confounding as that sentence can be, there’s nothing else I could say that might adequately describe this cover.
“We wish You a steel Xmas and a Headbanging new Year” was a 2008 compilation special a roster of steel musicians. A many them. The collection’s sheathe of “Grandma got Run over By A Reindeer” boasted Stephen Pearcy the Ratt, Tracii firearms of L.A. Guns, drummer Gregg Bissonette, W.A.S.P. Guitarist Bob Kulick, and bassist Billy Sheehan. V that Voltron the ’80s hair tape veterans, the track sounded specifically like you’d expect.
Recording nine various videos of himself singing and beat-boxing, YouTube user Leonard Patton made his own a capella version of “Grandma gained Run end By A Reindeer.” Patton paid extreme attention to detail, together the class of texture run deep.
The members the Thee funny Widows have proudly referred to their group as “America’s an initial all female psychobilly band.” after listening come the band’s cover of “Grandma obtained Run over By A Reindeer,” it’s hard not to feel operation over yourself.
On the much less aggressive end of rocker billy covers, The unusual Houseflies’ version of “Grandma obtained Run over By A Reindeer” sound somber and also chilling, favor a Christmas unable to do wrong together narrated by The Smiths or Echo & The Bunnymen.
Reel huge Fish’s 2014 relax “Happy Skalidays” had a ska-punk “Grandma gained Run end By A Reindeer” the sounded specifically how you’d expect it to sound: bright horns, crunchy guitars, and fast drums. The was more ska 보다 punk, and also thus sounded much more polished 보다 the less Than Jake cover.
A capella group Home complimentary released a twangy “Grandma obtained Run end By A Reindeer” on its 2014 album, “Full the Cheer.” the sounded favor a traditional a capella take it on the song…
…which is why the more noteworthy a capella-ish cover to be from pop band After Romeo. There to be a churchy tone to it, and by that, I average sounded favor a hymnal sung at a funeral.
Just as The unusual Houseflies’ version had actually the sounds of ’80s post-punk, The Manhattan Love Suicides’ “Grandma acquired Run over By A Reindeer” had actually a acquainted sound. However whereas The uncommon Houseflies vaguely sounded favor The Smiths or Echo & The Bunnymen, The Manhattan Love Suicides’ cover sound specifically favor The Jesus and also Mary Chain’s “Just choose Honey.”
You heard the means the track had that Phil Spector-esque drumbeat, right? Of food you did.
After composing a tune that has been spanned multiple times, Randy Brooks ultimately recorded his very own version of “Grandma gained Run end By A Reindeer,” though it didn’t take turn off the way that Patsy & Elmo’s variation did.
But regardless of the truth that his version didn’t come to be the one that everyone remembers, Brooks still benefited native the song. “In some years, the royalties do my day project my 2nd job,” Brooks told The Dallas Morning News.
Though, the fame has actually been occasionally uncomfortable for him. “It’s always awkward to be introduced into instances that have nothing to execute with music, prefer a funeral, together ‘This is Randy Brooks: he created ‘Grandma acquired Run end By A Reindeer,"” he said.
That would certainly be especially awkward if the funeral to be for a grandma.
See more: What Is The Third Stage Of Cellular Respiration And How They Work
For his part, Dr. Elmo has actually ascribed the song’s success come its morbid tone coming at the best time. “All those access time from the early ’50s were yes, really sweet and wonderful and lovely,” the told psychological Floss. “They preferred to play lock in purchase malls so civilization would buy stuff. Once this song came along, one more generation the people—and even the younger generations now—embraced it because it’s a small dark. It was much an ext to their sense of humor. It wasn’t also syrupy sweet.”
You deserve to listen to these songs and previously questioned cover song in a Spotify playlist.Sign up because that the weekly news here.