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Must Be Santa

Words and Music: Hal Moore and Bill Fredericks

Seriously, I need help with this one. First, a little background: You know how radio stations go “all Christmas music all the time” during December? Well here where I’m living there were two stations that did that and naturally I was listening to them to get ideas for good and bad Christmas songs.

Well, one of them played this one from Mitch Miller and the Gang. For those unfamiliar with Mitch Miller, he was (and still is) a well respected record executive and musician who had a TV show in the early 60s called Sing Along With Mitch. That was where you would follow the bouncing ball and sing along with Mitch, his Orchestra, and Singers. He basically invented karaoke.

This song came out on a 1961 Christmas album from Mitch Miller. It’s a call and response thing that keeps getting longer because they keep adding more to it:

Who’s got a beard that’s long and white?
Santa’s got a beard that’s long and white

Who comes around on a special night?
Santa comes around on a special night

Special night
Beard that’s white
Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Who wears boots and a suit of red?
Santa wears boots and a suit of red

Who wears a long cap on his head?
Santa wears a long cap on his head

Cap on head
Suit that’s red
Special night
Beard that’s white
Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Who’s got a big red cherry nose?
Santa’s got a big red cherry nose

Who laughs this way HO HO HO?
Santa laughs this way HO HO HO

HO HO HO
Cherry nose
Cap on head
Suit that’s red
Special night
Beard that’s white
Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Seriously, it’s 97 minutes long. Don’t believe what the YouTube video tells you. YouTube lies, it’s 97 freaking minutes long.

So I thought I had a pretty good lock on picking this one as one of my “bad” Christmas songs. Then I found out that Bob Dylan just did a version.

Some of you may remember when Dylan got on the Jesus train in the late 70s, then it kind of seemed like he got off the Jesus train but with Bob Dylan you never really know what train he’s on. So when I heard that he was going to release a Christmas album, I along with many others could not picture Bob on the Holiday Express at all.

These train metaphors doin’ anything for ye?

Then, as a single he releases Must Be Santa! Huh? Bob, Bobby, Zimmy Baby, whaddaya trying to do to us over here?

But here’s the thing, it effing rawks:

In this version, Mr. Zimmerman presides over what looks like the best Christmas party EVER and even makes me (almost) want to retract the horrible things I’ve said about accordions over the years. Besides, it’s all for charity so here’s my dilemma: Do I put this down as a bad song rescued by a good version?

A good clean fun song that was never bad, just mildly annoying?

A song that’s actually so bad that it’s destined to go full circle and become a classic, like Plan 9 from Outer Space?

Help me out here, fervent readers. I eagerly await your torrent of comments.

2010 Update:

Sheesh! OK, try this one, or go here for the Zimster:

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4 thoughts on “The 12 Bad (or Good… honestly I’m not sure with this one) Songs of Christmas: #4

  1. Gasp! You don’t know whether this is bad or good? Ok, deep breath. The lyrical depth of “Who’s got a great big shiny nose? – Must be Santa.” Is this not what you would coo at a baby in a stroller? – oh yes, you DO have a big shiny nose!!
    And even Zimmy knows. With this mindless drunken Bavarian party vid complete with every cliché including the random party crasher stranger dude swinging from the chandelier.
    Must be Santa.
    This is kitsch so awful it can be confused with art. But it is still bad. Awfully bad. Being very linear and polar referenced, I would place bad on the opposite end of good.
    …. but I must quit now because I am feeling nauseous.

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