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  • Susan Welsh

Santa Claus is Coming to Town


This is another one of my favorite Christmas songs. I don't really remember when I first heard it-- sometime around high school, I think. I would blast this over the speakers in my classroom for the kids every holiday season. During the last few years of teaching they would actually ask me, "who's Bruce Springsteen?" which is, of course, completely unacceptable on so many levels, but particularly because I taught in the state of New Jersey--where he's "The Boss" and one of the state's greatest musical icons.

"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" was first recorded by Bruce in 1975 during a gig in Long Island. It appeared on the "B" side of his single "My Hometown" in 1985. Springsteen brings his incredible verve and energy to the classic, which was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie. Eddie Cantor (whose autographed photo I just found in a pile of my Dad's desk stuff) was the first to record it on his radio show in 1934. Like most classics, it's been recorded by a million different artists.

Folks my age will remember the wild popularity of the Rankin Bass Production of the same name, narrated by Fred Astaire. You all remember. It's the one where Burgermeister Meisterburger outlaws toys in Sombertown. . .Though the eponymous song is played during the credits, the song that will always steal the show for me is the marvelous and catchy, "Put One Foot in Front of the Other", which is an incredibly inspirational song, if you think about it.

Now I'm deep in nostalgia and need to go get my fix from the trio of animated Rankin Bass Holiday productions, if only to hear one of the catchiest animated holiday tunes of all time, "The Heat Miser/Snow Miser" song.


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