Song of the Week #10- Kissing!

This week the song of choice is the catchy classic I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.  The song was written in 1952 by composer Tommie Connor.  The singer was a 13 year-old boy named Jimmy Boyd.  His recording went straight to number 1 on the charts.  What I found really interesting about the origin of the song was the company that commissioned the piece.  Saks Fifth Avenue the song to promote its annual Christmas card collection.  The cards featured original artwork from Barlow, an illustrator for The New Yorker.  Despite the success on the charts, the song was initially banned by the Roman Catholic Church for the subject matter of kissing mixing with Christmas.  After the young singer met with church officials to discuss the song all was okay and the ban lifted.  The lyrics are surprisingly short.  There are only two verses and no chorus.  The song tells the tale of a child sneaking downstairs to catch his mommy kissing Santa Claus under the mistletoe.  The irony of the song is that “santa” is actually daddy all dressed up!

The song is popular around the world and has been recorded in a dozen languages.  Boys, girls, groups and all genres have made a recording of the song.  The immense success of the song inspired a made-for-tv movie of the same name.  The plot told the story of the song and expanded it to include the boy working to expose Santa for the cheater he is.  Photos of the kiss are sent to Mrs. Claus and the boy goes on a campaign to be so bad that Santa won’t come back to his house.  In the end he discovers the truth and all have a Merry Christmas.  Check out the recordings listed below to get a taste of the song.

Jimmy Boyd– This is the original recording by the 13 year-old.
Jackson 5– Clever little arrangement in a motown style.
The Ronettes– The 1963 version from the girls, many consider this the best recording.
Reba McEntire– Country version with some extra lyrics added to the beginning.  Twangy, but fun.
Amy Winehouse- Modern recording but with a classic sound.