(CBS 11) – This song not only ranks as one of the all-time holiday songs on radio but also as part of the annual TV Christmas special, “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” which will air on the CBS Television Network (and CBS11 locally) on Tuesday, November 27 at 7:00 p.m.

Folk singer Burl Ives (June 14, 1909- April 14, 1995) was a successful singer and actor. Prior to the start of commercial television, he had his own show “The Wayfaring Stranger” on the CBS Radio Network in 1944, where he performed his favorite folksongs. He recorded more than 30 albums for Decca Records and around a dozen for Columbia Records. He starred in over 30 movies from 1946-1988. In the “Rudolph” special, he was both the narrator as Sam the Snowman as well as the singer. He charted four times on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962 with his most successful song, “A Little Bitty Tear” which also was a #1 Adult Contemporary hit.

“A Holly Jolly Christmas” was written by Johnny Marks. There are three other notable recording of the song from Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, and Jerrod Niemann. In the Rudolph TV special, the song was supposed to have been performed by Larry D. Mann, who voiced the character Yukon Cornelius but the producer chose Ives instead for the job as well as singing the song “Silver and Gold.”

Released in November 1964 on the Decca label running 2:15, the lyrics go like this:

Have a holly, jolly Christmas
It’s the best time of the year
I don’t know if there’ll be snow
But have a cup of cheer
Have a holly, jolly Christmas
And when you walk down the street
Say hello to friends you know
And everyone you meet
Oh, ho the mistletoe
Hung where you can see
Somebody waits for you
Kiss her once for me
Have a holly, jolly Christmas
And in case you didn’t hear
Oh by golly have a holly jolly Christmas
This year

The song made the Billboard Hot 100 in 2017 at #38 and #5 on the U.S.Holiday 100. The version by Lady Antebellum hit #2 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary charts.

Enjoy the song and don’t forget to watch the Rudolph special on Tuesday, November 27, at 7pm on CBS11!