Johnny Marks (November 10, 1909 - September 3, 1985) was an American songwriter. Although he was Jewish,[1][2] he specialized in Christmas songs and wrote many standards, including "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (a hit for Gene Autry and others), "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" (first recorded by Bing Crosby), "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (a hit for Brenda Lee), and "A Holly Jolly Christmas" (recorded by the Quinto Sisters, then Burl Ives), and Run Rudolph Run (recorded by Chuck Berry).

Early life

Marks was born in Mount Vernon, New York. A graduate of the McBurney School in New York City, Colgate, and Columbia Universities, Marks later studied in Paris. He earned a Bronze Star and four Battle Stars as a Captain in the 26th Special Service Company during World War II. He then got married and had three children, Michael, Laura, and David.


Among Marks's many works is "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer", which was based on a poem by the same name, written by Marks’s brother-in-law, Robert L. May, Rudolph's creator. Although "Frosty the Snowman" and "Jingle Bell Rock" have the same musical structure and chord progressions as "Rudolph," "Rockin'," and "Holly Jolly," they were written by different authors.

In addition to his songwriting, he founded St. Nicholas Music in 1949, and served as director of the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers from 1957 to 1961.


Christmas Songs

  • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer – 1949 (inspired by a poem by Robert L. May, Marks' brother-in-law)
  • When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter – 1952
  • The Night Before Christmas Song – 1952
  • An Old-Fashioned Christmas – 1952
  • Everyone's a Child at Christmas – 1956
  • I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – 1956 (words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, adapted by Marks)
  • Run Rudolph Run - 1958
  • Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree – 1958
  • A Merry, Merry Christmas to You – 1959
  • The Santa Claus Parade – 1959
  • A Caroling We Go - 1966
  • Joyous Christmas - 1969

From 1964 CBS/Rankin-Bass TV production Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer:

  • A Holly Jolly Christmas – 1962 (separate single release), 1964-65**
  • Jingle, Jingle, Jingle – 1964
  • The Most Wonderful Day of the Year – 1964
  • Silver and Gold – 1964-65**
  • We Are Santa's Elves – 1964
  • There's Always Tomorrow - 1964
  • The Island of Misfit Toys - 1964
  • We're a Couple of Misfits - 1964

(**Burl Ives released "A Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Silver and Gold," two songs he sang as the character Sam the Snowman [which he voiced in the 1964 TV production "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer"], as singles for the 1965 holiday season, the year after the TV production, after the overwhelming success of the 1964 stop-motion animated holiday special. The two songs are now considered holiday "standards" and are forever linked with Burl Ives' musical legacy and his performance in this beloved annual TV classic.)


  • Happy New Year Darling – 1946 (with J. Carmen Lombardo)
  • Address Unknown
  • Chicken Today and Feathers Tomorrow
  • Don't Cross Your Fingers, Cross Your Heart
  • Free
  • How Long Is Forever?
  • I Guess There's an End to Everything
  • Neglected
  • She'll Always Remember
  • Summer Holiday
  • There's Always Tomorrow
  • We Speak of You Often
  • What've You Got to Lose But Your Heart
  • Who Calls?


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Johnny Marks. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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