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Dr. Elmo

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Lexington, KY, native Elmo Shropshire is better known as Dr. Elmo, the whimsical character who has sold more than ten million copies of the holiday novelty song "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." After earning a veterinary medicine degree in Kentucky, Elmo traveled up and down the East Coast tending to thoroughbred racehorses. He later moved to San Francisco's Bay Area to open his own animal hospital and while moonlighting playing festivals and clubs in a bluegrass band with his wife Patsy. In 1979, Elmo & Patsy introduced "Grandma" on a San Francisco radio station. It quickly became a regional hit, and the duo began playing more holiday gigs around town to support the single. When an activist group, dubbed the Gray Panthers, accused Elmo & Patsy of playing "ageist music" and showed up to picket one of their shows, the media came out in force, drawing the attention of major labels. In 1983, MTV began airing the video, which Elmo & Patsy had financed on their own. A year later their Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer album appeared on Epic and a new "Grandma" single was released, this time with "Percy, the Puny Poinsettia" as the B-side. Elmo & Patsy would eventually divorce, but Elmo would carry on as Dr. Elmo and release his debut solo album, Slices of Life, in 1991. Numerous novelty albums would follow, with Dr. Elmo releasing his own Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer album in 2002, plus he added a Halloween hit to his repertoire in 2006 with the title track to his Redneck Dracula album. As of 2007, Dr. Elmo has been touring with his current wife Rita Abrams. Pop historians might remember Rita as the Miss Abrams in Miss Abrams and the Strawberry Point 4th Grade Class, the act behind the 1972 hit "Mill Valley." ~ David Jeffries

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Birth Name:

Elmo Shropshire


Lexington, KY

Years Active:

'90s, '00s