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Santa Baby

by

Eartha Kitt



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Eartha Kitt was a sultry nightclub performer who earned a record deal with RCA in 1953. Trying to play up her image as a sophisticated vamp, RCA had her record a French song called "C'est Si Bon" (It's So Good), which put her on the radar. At the end of 1953, Joan Javits, who was the niece of US Senator Jacob Javits, wrote "Santa Baby" for Kitt with Philip Springer, and it became a holiday hit and Kitt's most famous song. Javits came up with the lyric "Santa baby, just slip a sable under the tree, for me," and Springer quickly came up with the music.
Along with "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," this was one of the first Christmas novelty songs. Christmas songs written at the time tended to be nostalgic looks at the holiday or kid's songs, but this one took a different approach, with Kitt singing about how she's been good all year and expects some very expensive gifts to appear, including a fur coat, a new coat and even a yacht. This girl has expensive taste.
This song is credited to Joan Javits, Philip Springer and his brother Tony Springer, although Tony had no part in writing the song. In an interview with the digital sheet music supplier Musicnotes, Philip explained that since he and Joan worked for ASCAP publishing, they credited Tony, who was associated with publishing rival BMI, in order to get the song recorded. It worked, but BMI made a mess when they had Javits publish 5 different versions of the lyrics the following year, which confused people and kept the song from being widely recorded. In 1981, the copyright term expired on the song and Javits sold her share of the rights to Springer, giving him control of the song. For years, he tried to get artists to record it, and in 1987 Madonna recorded it for the charity album A Very Special Christmas. Springer didn't make any money from this version, as he had to donate all his royalties to the Special Olympics, but Madonna's version brought the song back into the spotlight and it has been a Christmas standard ever since, providing significant revenue for Springer. The song has been used on a number of TV specials and appeared in the movie Driving Miss Daisy. Artists to cover the song include Taylor Swift, Natalie Merchant, Kylie Minogue, The Pussycat Dolls, LeAnn Rimes, Faith Evans and Kellie Pickler.

What about Tony Springer? His cousin David Wexler tells us that he was a lawyer turned painter. He was known as the Village Painter, in reference to the Village in New York City. Tony died in 1995.
Eartha Kitt
More Eartha Kitt songs
More Christmas songs
More novelty songs
More songs covered by the Glee cast

Comments (5):

I think this chas subliminal sexual undertones especially the part about "trimming [the] Christmas tree."
- kent, greensburg, PA
Local legendary DJ Ron Chapman included a remake of this song in a Christmas album he produced several years ago. Most of the lyrics were changed to reflect a Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex setting, but most perplexing was the addition of the lyric "Santa Baby, send angels down every chimney tonight." My question was, and remains now, when did Santa Claus gain the ability to control angels and why would anyone want them coming down their chimney?
- B.L., Barry, TX
For some reason I have a vague memory of Marilyn Monroe singing this in one of her films, does anyone know anything about this?
- Scott, Port Charlotte, FL
The best and most innovative version of santa baby is sung by cynthia basinet in the late 1990's and is as fresh today as it was in 1999. Cynthia's version was featured in the movie party monster.
- eric feinberg, new york, NY
This is one of the most clever novelty songs of the 1950's.
- Mike, Santa Barbara, CA
You have to to post comments.
Steely DanSteely Dan
Did they really trade their guitarist to The Doobie Brothers? Are they named after something naughty? And what's up with the band name?
They Might Be GiantsThey Might Be Giants
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.
Brandi CarlileBrandi Carlile
As a 5-year-old, Brandi was writing lyrics to instrumental versions lullabies. She still puts her heart into her songs, including the one Elton John sings on.
Spooner OldhamSpooner Oldham
His keyboard work helped define the Muscle Shoals sound and make him an integral part of many Neil Young recordings. Spooner is also an accomplished songwriter, whose hits include "I'm Your Puppet" and "Cry Like A Baby."