Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer sung by Gene Autry. Rudolph first appeared in a coloring book written and drawn by Robert L. May in 1939 as a Christmas giveaway by Montgomery Ward. The tale of Rudoplph proved immensely popular with kids, with the coloring book still being in print and sold more than seven decades latter. The famous song was written by Johnny Marks, a song writer and World War 2 combat veteran. It was first sung by Harry Brannon in November 1949, shortly before the singing cowboy, Gene Autry, performed his immortal rendition.