Ella Fitzgerald: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer


Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)


Verve Presents: The Very Best of Christmas Jazz (Verve 514 549 067-2)

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Ella Fitzgerald (vocals), Oscar Peterson (piano),

orchestra arranged and conducted by Frank DeVol


Composed by Johnny Marks


Recorded: New York, July 15, 1960


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Six geese, allaying Rudy's fears, assured him, "You'll go down in history." That's exactly what he was afraid of. It wasn't so much this song's embarrassing gossip about the original eight reindeer laughing and calling him names, refusing to let poor Rudolph join in their silly games. It was the scary way Ella interpolated "Tom Dooley," The Kingston Trio's 1958 folk hit about a knife-murderer. "Hang your nose down, Rudy," Ella hoarsely scolds. "Hang your nose and cry." Frankly, this veiled threat nearly scared the shine out of him—although the geese were right about one thing: having Ella sing about you is historic.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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Related Links

The Legacy of Ella Fitzgerald by Ted Gioia
The Dozens: Twelve Essential Ella Fitzgerald Performances by Stuart Nicholson
”Ella Fitzgerald” by Stuart Nicholson (from The Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians)


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