Song:Here Comes Santa Claus
Album:A Gene Autry Christmas
Gene Autry had a long career as the most popular singing cowboy in the movies. Though he had a lot of hits, his Christmas records are probably the most durable in his catalog. He was born Sept. 29, 1907 in Tioga, TX. His grandfather was a preacher so he grew up singing in church. His mom gave him a guitar for his twelfth birthday. Autry would sing while working at a telegraph office. Humourist Will Rogers heard him sing and encouraged him to sing. Autry auditioned for RCA Victor. They turned him down because they had just signed Jimmie Rodgers. Autry signed with Columbia Records in 1929. He had some success but became a huge star when Mascot Pictures owner Nat Levine discovered Autry in 1934. Later on, Mascot would be taken over by Republic Pictures. Smiley Burnette usually played his sidekick. Autry's early hits included Tumbling Tumbleweeds and his signature song Back In The Saddle. His career was interrupted by a two year stint in the Army Air Corps during WWII. When he returned, Autry signed with Columbia Pictures. The idea for Here Comes Santa Claus came to Autry when he rode in the 1946 Santa Claus Lane Parade. He wrote the words and hired publishing company manager Oakley Haldeman to write the music. The song reached #5 on the pop charts. Of course Autry's other big Christmas hit was Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. Both songs chart every year at Christmas time and you can get them on this budget CD. Autry continued his career on TV in the 50s until his 1964 retirement. In his later years, Autry was the owner of the California Angels baseball club which he got through his ownership of Los Angeles TV station KTLA. After selling both, Autry died on Oct. 2, 1998 at age 91. Here's Gene Autry performing Here Comes Santa Claus in the 1949 film The Cowboy and the Indians.