Smells Like Christmas Spirit: The Unlikely UK Label That Originally Released 'Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer'!

1979 wasn't just a banner year for rock, with what seemed like an entire decade's worth of pivotal, game-changing albums all coming out within months of one another (Zenyatta Mondatta, Damn The Torpedoes, and Dream Police, to name but a few), it was the holiday music industry that received the greatest gift of all (one that keeps on giving, year after year after year): A song called "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer".

Prior to pumping new life into an otherwise stagnant holiday music industry, Elmo & Patsy were but a simple country lounge act playing a Lake Tahoe hotel when fledgling songwriter Randy Brooks approached the duo and asked if Elmo would sing on this one particular song that he'd written on a lark.

Elmo & Patsy recorded the song and, the next year, were selling copies of the record at their shows.

They also sent the single to radio stations and, much to their amazement, a few stations actually played the song, which is where the story usually ends for most stories of this nature.

What made this story special was that by the time Christmas 1980 came around, the buzz on the song had grown considerably, leading to advance orders in the tens of thousands and that first magical explosion of national airplay.

That same year, the song was even licensed to Stiff Records (home to Nick Lowe, Ian Dury, and Elvis Costello) for UK release! 

Inexplicably, the song did not take off in the UK, but, after being re-recorded in 1982, "Grandma (2.0)" saw national release on Epic Records and has continued to be a perennial holiday favorite to this very day.


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