If you’re an Auburn fan and love it, you’ll probably love it more. If you hate it, you’ll probably have to tolerate it now, or at least hate it a little less. Either way, you’ll probably never listen to it the same way again… unless of course you already knew that the undisputed heavyweight champion of Christmas novelty songs was recorded by an Auburn Man.
His name is Elmo Shropshire. And his grandmother apparently got run over by a reindeer. Walking home from his house Christmas Eve. You may say there’s no such thing as Santa. But as for Elmo Shropshire, he believes.
Oh, he believes.
Originally performed in 1979 by Shropshire’s San Francisco-based husband-and-wife bluegrass comedy duo Elmo and Patsy,”Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” became a holiday hit on Top 40 radio by the early 80s thanks in part to his homemade video for the song getting heavy rotation on MTV. It soon went multi-platinum—it supposedly outsold “Thriller” for a few weeks during the 1984 Christmas season—and has earned him God knows how much coin in royalties. But it’s probably safe to say that for Shropshire, every day is kind of like Christmas.
“If it weren’t for that song I’d still be worming cats for a living,” he told Auburn Magazine in 2010.
Shropshire is 1964 graduate of Auburn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Here’s a photo of Elmo during his senior year from the 1964 Glomerata:
RIP, Grandma. War Damn Eagle.
Read Auburn Magazine’s full story on Shropshire here, page 40.
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Originally published Dec. 6, 2011.
Awesome. I’ve always liked the song, but like you said, now I love it. The repetitive keyboard riffs and the way he says “Ahhhh” after the “pudding made of fig” line are the best parts, to me. I guess it the lo-fi, recorded-on-a-casio-at-home, quality about it that makes it seem so endearing and genuinely Christmas-y.
His superior training in veterinary medicine enabled him to write THE definitive reindeer treatise of the late 20th Century. War Damn.