Burl Ives

A Broadway actor, film star, Grammy-winning musician, and longtime staple of Christmas playlists, Burl Ives was born on June 14, 1909, in Hunt City, Illinois. He later moved to New York City, where he made his Broadway debut in 1938 with a small role in The Boys from Syracuse. Three years later, Ives released his debut collection of folk songs, Okeh Presents the Wayfaring Stranger. By the end of the decade, he'd also earned a pair of Top 40 hits with the Andrew Sisters duet "Blue Tail Fly" (which hit Number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1948) and the crossover single "Lavender's Blue (Dilly Dilly)" (which peaked at Number 16 on the Billboard 100 and Number 13 on the Hot Country Songs chart in 1949). A multi-talented entertainer, Ives starred in both the Broadway play and award-winning movie adaptation of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof during the mid-1950s. His broad appeal hit a new peak during the 1960s, when songs like 1961's "A Little Bitty Tear," 1962's "Funny Way of Laughin'," and 1964's "Pearly Shells (Popo O Ewa)" became hits on the pop, country, and adult contemporary charts. His most enduring recording, however, was "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," which charted at Number 4 in 1964 and quickly became a perennial Christmas favorite. The song was initially released on the platinum-selling soundtrack to the television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, whose title track also became a holiday classic. Ives narrated the TV special, which aired yearly during the Christmas season for multiple decades. Although he released music like the children's album Chim Chim Cheree & Other Children's Choices and the folk record The Times They Are A-Changin' during the latter half of the decade, Ives gradually slowed his pace as a recording artist and focused on acting instead. He lived until he was 85 years old, ultimately succumbing to oral cancer on April 14, 1995.

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Stations Featuring Burl Ives

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