Have a sultry, soulful Christmas!

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According to songwriter Springer, in this LA Times 2017 interview:

“It’s a sexy theme,” Springer says. “Nobody had ever done that before—had written a song about a woman who is obviously a mistress of a man, and saying what she wanted.”

“Santa Baby” sold briskly as Christmas approached. Along with Eddie Fisher’s “Oh My Papa,” Kitt’s holiday song helped give RCA Victor, which put out both songs, one of its most successful years. But “Santa Baby” wasn’t played everywhere.

“In many cities it was a hit,” Springer says. “But in some cities it was banned and there was a lot of talk against it.”

When it hit, Springer says, “the queen of Scandinavia expressed herself in shock.”

The lyrics are clearly not religious:

Santa baby, just slip a Sable under the tree for me
Been an awful good girl
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a ’54 convertible too, light blue
I’ll wait up for you, dear
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I’ve missed
Think of all the fellas that I haven’t kissed
Next year, I could be just as good
If you check off my Christmas list

Santa baby, I want a yacht, and really, that’s not a lot
Been an angel all year
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

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Kitt’s hit has gone on to be covered by a long list of vocalists. It was also released as an animated video by Sony Music in December of 2020:

It’s quite a story. Directed by Kelly Jones (founder of a Black-owned visual media and design house) and produced by Cousins (a queer-owned production studio), it’s an homage to Eartha Kitt’s life and career. Smooth, sexy animation draws viewers right into the singer’s dreamy wish list.

In this COVID-stricken year of 2020, Santa may be paring down his gift list. He might be careful about how many homes he visits.

But if Eartha Kitt has her way—wherever she is now—Santa will hurry down her chimney that night.

While searching Twitter for pics of Eartha Kitt, I found this tweet:

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I realized I had never seen the 2001 film mentioned, so headed over to YouTube and Voila! Here it ‘tis:

Enjoy!

As a side note, Kitt didn’t simply get slammed in the South in 1953. Years later she was blacklisted here in the States for speaking out forcefully against the war in Vietnam, which Leslie Salzillo wrote about in “Eartha Kitt—the talented, fearless Black female resister who did persist”:

Kitt was not the first Black female vocalist to dabble with Santa-related innuendo. Ella Fitzgerald recorded “Santa Claus Got Stuck in my Chimney” written by Billy Moore and William Hardy, for Decca Records in 1950. The lyrics are loaded with double entendres:

Santa Claus got stuck in my chimney

Stuck in my chimney, stuck in the chimney

Santa Claus got stuck in my chimney

He won’t come back I fear (boo)

There he was in middle of the chimney

Roly-poly, fat, and round

There he was in middle of the chimney

Not quite up and not quite down

For a sexy winter duet for the season, nothing beats the cozy duo of Ray Charles and Betty Carter (who I featured last Sunday) singing about snuggling up in Frank Loesser’s 1944 tune “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

When it comes to Christmas tunes sung by soulful and sexy male vocalists, the list is too long to even begin to post them here. I’m going to try to cover as many as I can in the comments section. While pondering who to choose, our housemate arrived home, back from a trip to New Orleans, and while he answered questions about how he liked the city—I had my answer—Aaron Neville, who announced his retirement from touring this year, at age 80. Here’s his heartfelt version of “Please Come Home for Christmas” which was written and released in 1960 by blues singer and pianist Charles Brown.

In closing, it wouldn’t be Christmas for me if I didn’t hear Nat King Cole—though this is my first time seeing an animated version of his classic Christmas song. 

Often referred to as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” “The Christmas Song” was written in 1945 by Robert Wells and Mel Tormé, and first recorded by The Nat King Cole Trio in 1946. Cole would go on to record other versions, including one with his daughter Natalie, and it would enter the GRAMMY Hall of Fame, in 1974.  

Thank you, Nat King Cole, for your gift to us all.

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In case you want to explore some of my other musical stories from Christmases past, here’s a list to make it easy:

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Join me in the comments section below for lots more, and be sure to post your favorites!

Merry Christmas!





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