When you really think about it, Santa Baby might be the most selfish of all the holiday tunes. Written by Joan Javits in the early 50’s and originally made famous by nightclub singer Eartha Kitt, Santa Baby is about being a greedy guts and asking Santa for a yacht or a convertible…ya know instead of peace on earth. Made crazy famous by Marilyn Monroe and Madonna it has been covered by countless others over the years like Shakira, Macy Gray, The Pussy Cat Dolls, RuPaul and in 1997 by Rev Run & The Christmas All-stars who included Snoop, P Diddy, Salt N Pepa, Onyx, Keith Murray and Mase. This is Santa Baby the hippity hop version….oh Santa you fly guy.
Before Phil Spector was best known for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson he was one of the most revered producers in music. In the early 60’s he brought his classic “Wall of Sound” to the music of the holidays with a now classic album called “A Christmas Gift for you from Phil Spector”. One of the tunes, that he actually co-wrote, was a song called “Baby Please Come Home” performed by the amazing Darlene Love who many years later sang back up on the U2 version which has now become a holiday staple.
The first time I heard Harry Connick Jr. was a bit of a fluke. It was one of those moments when the music picks YOU. I found his 1987 self titled album (on cassette!) in a clearance bin and bought it because I liked his hair and jacket. Don’t judge me. I took my superficial purchase home, fell in love with the music, and I’ve sort of been a super fan ever since. His first Christmas album is actually one of the best selling holiday albums of the past 25 years and much like Chevy Case or a Red Ryder BB Gun… Christmas at my house just aint’ right without it.
This month marked the 23rd anniversary of the death of the great Ray Orbison. In 1963 he had a hit with a holiday song called Pretty Paper; here’s where I connect everything back to Willie Nelson (it’s what I do). Willie actually wrote this song while still a struggling solo artist and later released it on his own Christmas album in the late 70’s. Forget Kevin Bacon man, it’s always 6 degrees of Willie Nelson in my world…it’s a Festivus Miracle. Quoting Seinfeld is the other thing I do.
Look, I don’t want to get too religious here and it’s certainly not my intention to offend anybody; but if Christmas songs have taught us anything it’s that JC might have been a drummer in addition to being the Son of God. Think about it: in the Little Drummer Boy we hear the story of a young boy who doesn’t have a gift for baby Jesus so he plays the drums instead which seems to go over pretty well. I have to imagine that if Jesus didn’t like what he heard then Mary wouldn’t have nodded her approval and the Ox and Lamb wouldn’t have played along. Am I right? Can I get an Amen?…..too much? Rock n Roll likes the story of that song too, it’s been covered by Jimi Hendrix, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Bob Segar and this pretty rockin’ version by Wclef Jean.
Happy Ho to the Ho,