Santa Baby

Album: Greatest Hits (1953)
Charted: 55

Songfacts®:

  • 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 five 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.
  • It was only a matter of time before an ad agency used this song in a literal sense; in 2014 a version by Tammy Infusino appeared in a Kmart spot showing five pregnant women dancing to the song in their Joe Boxer pajamas.

Comments: 6

  • Rachael from FloridaI actually personally know Joan Javits. Her granddaughter and I have been childhood friends since we were 3 years old and so have my mom and her mom. She's a sweet lady.
  • Kent from Greensburg, PaI think this has subliminal sexual undertones especially the part about "trimming [the] Christmas tree."
  • B.l. from Barry, TxLocal 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?
  • Scott from Port Charlotte, FlFor some reason I have a vague memory of Marilyn Monroe singing this in one of her films, does anyone know anything about this?
  • Eric Feinberg from New York, NyThe 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.
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaThis is one of the most clever novelty songs of the 1950's.
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