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"Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"
"Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" cover
Song by Elmo & Patsy
Released 1979

"Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" is a novelty Christmas song, and the eponymous animated movie.

Written by Randy Brooks, the song was originally performed by the husband and wife duo of Elmo and Patsy Shropshire in 1979. In the lyrics, the grandmother of the family gets drunk from drinking too much eggnog, and decides to return home to retrieve her forgotten medication. In the course of her walk, she is run over by Santa and killed (however, the video has her stagger alive at the end).

Releases

According to Brooks, he played the song while sitting in with Elmo and Patsy at the Hyatt Lake Tahoe in December 1978, and after the show they had him make a cassette of the song for them to learn. A year later, they were selling 45s of the song from the stage, with Elmo himself appearing in drag on the album cover as the titular Grandma.

The song was originally self-released in the San Francisco area by the Shropshires in 1979 on their own record label ("Elmo 'n' Patsy"), with the B-side called "Christmas". By the early 1980s, the song was becoming a seasonal hit, first on country stations and then on Top 40 stations. In 1982, the "Elmo 'n' Patsy" record label changed its name to "Oink" when the song was re-recorded. Oink Records, still based in Windsor, California, continued distribution of the 45 rpm record in the western U.S., with "Nationwide Sound Distributors" of Nashville, Tennessee pressing and distributing the song on its Soundwaves Records in the eastern U.S., peaking at #92 on the country singles charts. In 1984, with the song now a big hit nationally, CBS Records was interested and signed Elmo and Patsy to Epic Records. A new recording was made with a new B-side ("Percy, the Puny Poinsettia"). By the end of 1984, it was reported that sales of "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" were, by record label: Oink: 50,000 45s sold; Soundwaves: 175,000 45s sold; Epic: 150,000 45s sold and 90,000 LPs sold. The Epic Records version charted at #64 on the country charts in 1998 and #48 in 1999.

Following the Shropshires' divorce, Elmo re-recorded it solo in 1992 and again in 2000.

The song has twice been covered by The Irish Rovers in studio recordings, in 1999 and a recording made before 1985. It has also been covered by Family Force 5 (in the song, the word "beer" was edited out and replaced with root beer), and in 1996 by Poe.

It was also covered by Less Than Jake on their album Goodbye Blue and White.

A sequel "Grandpa's Gonna Sue the Pants Offa' Santa" was released by Elmo Shropshire in 2002. Grandpa gets lawyers to fight Santa in court. A rock cover version is on the album We Wish you a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year.

A parody "Grandpa Got Run Over By a Beer Truck" was released by Da Yoopers in 1993. Radio personality Bob Rivers recorded a his own parody titled "Osama Got Run Over by a Reindeer".

Television

The 2000 animated television program Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer portrays the events depicted in the song — though, being made for children, the cartoon is toned down of adult content, so that Grandma does not die, and Santa is actually innocent of the crime, which was instead masterminded by a scheming relative (Cousin Mel, who is mentioned briefly in the song but made into a gold-digging villainness in the special). Elmo Shropshire reads for the voice of Grandpa (as well as being the narrator of the special).

External links

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