About Dr. Elmo
Elmo Shropshire — a.k.a DR. ELMO — is best-known for his recording of “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” the Christmas classic which has sold more than 11 million copies since it was first broadcast by a San Francisco radio station in 1979. Now, in December of 2012 “Grandma” is once again #1 on Billboard’s Chart.
Consistently the most requested holiday song of the past three decades, “Grandma” has secured its place in American pop culture and made Dr. Elmo the king of comedy carols.
Each December, radio stations throughout the country call Dr. Elmo for his Christmas commentary and live on-air renditions of “that Grandma song.” With the quirky sing-a-long as centerpiece, a radio visit from Dr. Elmo has become part of the nation’s holiday tradition.
That thisLexington,Kentucky, native would ride a reindeer to success is a slightly different scenario than the namesake of famed jockey and horse trainer Elmo Shropshire might have envisioned. After working alongside his father in theBluegrassState, and inOcala,Florida, where he broke and rode Needles, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby, and Belmont Stakes, Dr. Elmo earned his degree in veterinary medicine and tended to the thoroughbreds ofNew York’s Aqueduct andBelmontParkracetracks.
A move to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he established his own animal hospital, was his proverbial changing of the horses in the middle of the stream. His bluegrass band performed in venues throughoutNorthern California. And, in 1979, he came upon a little song written by his friend Randy Brooks that everyone but Elmo agreed was one of the weirdest Christmas songs they had ever heard.
“Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” immediately became a regional phenomenon. Picketed by ageism-protesting Gray Panthers during a local performance, Elmo soon found himself interviewed on the Bay Area’s airwaves and beyond. His distinctive voice led to castings and voice-overs in national advertising campaigns. When MTV began airing his campy video of this stranger-than-strange holiday song in 1983, it surpassed Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” on Billboard’s Christmas charts. The song and its singer were off to the races.
Today, “Grandma” romps in the Marin County fields of Laughing Stock Records, where it has sired numerous songs included on Sony’s “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” and “Dr. Elmo Sings the Boo’s” His newest Time Life release “Bluegrass Christmas” put him back on the Billboard Chart at #6.
Elmo, a competitive runner just won a Gold Medal representing the USA in the 4 X 400 relay at the 2013 World Master’s track & Field Championships in Brazil.
He won the US National 5k Cross Country Championship , and competes in the famous “Dipsea Race” and was featured in an issue of RUNNERS WORLD.
Every Christmas, he dons his traditional red and green silks and heads off for the holiday’s annual run for the roses. As December 25th approaches, Dr. Elmo and his “Grandma” song come round the stretch and triumphantly gallop toward the finish line — this year performing concerts with his Super Sonic Reindeer Band.
Dr. Elmo, D.V.M, has always known how to nurture a long shot. More than thirty years after he first led it to the starting gate, the dark horse song has won the Triple Crown.