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Must Be Santa, over the years (now with more Dylan)
December 20, 2010 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Must Be Santa was originally recorded (song on YT) in 1969 by Mitch Miller, with simple call-and-response lyrics that were a hit (song on YT) for Lorne Greene in 1966. The catchy song is amusing for small children, and cute when sung by groups of kids. With minor lyrical tweaks and a rowdy polka style (live clip), Brave Combo liven up the Christmas classic. Leave it to Bob Dylan to take it further.

See also:
* Brave Combo talk about Dylan covering their version

* Beyond Here Lies Nothin', another Dylan video that was directed by Nash Edgerton with the Director's Bureau. Edgerton talked to Pitchfork about the video and Dylan.
posted by filthy light thief (15 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I heard "Must be Santa" for the first time on Friday --- "sung" by my daughter's kindergarten class.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:29 AM on December 20, 2010


Holy crap, it's Schnitzelbank!

If Brave Combo covered Schnitzelbank I could die a happy man.
posted by The Bellman at 9:40 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dylan's version quickly became my daughter's favorite song last year.
posted by Sailormom at 9:40 AM on December 20, 2010


Children love it if you replace Santa's name with theirs and use their characteristics in the song.

"Who has cheeks that are plump and round?"

"$CHILD has cheeks that are plump and round!"

etc
posted by DU at 9:44 AM on December 20, 2010


The Bellman: Holy crap, it's Schnitzelbank!

My wife mentioned the same thing when she saw the Dylan video, but I thought it would be a bit much to toss that into the mix. I was wondering if the call-and-response is popular in polka, or if the original Must Be Santa got polka-fied and ended up sounding remarkably like another polka that had call-and-response.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:47 AM on December 20, 2010


No, filthy, I think it's pretty clear that it's an homage/parody/re-imagining of Must Be Santa by the Animaniacs folks. They did a lot of those and some of them were flat out brilliant. Brave Combo does a fair amount of audience interaction, and a whole lotta polka, but I don't think it's a hallmark of the form. In case you don't know Brave Combo (which I suspect you do), they're one of the best live bands ever -- go see them at a "hipster" venue if you have a chance and watch the cool kids dissolve in paroxysms of pure musical joy.
posted by The Bellman at 9:55 AM on December 20, 2010


Yep, must be filthy light thief.

I used to have an account with the Schnitzelbank, but having my personal checks made of meat caused problems.

FEARLESS PREDICTION: The next single from Weird Al Yankovic (modern master of rock accordion) will be "Must Be Dylan" and it will be the perfect (long-awaited) follow-up to "Bob".
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:01 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're wrong about Mitch Miller originally recording it in 1969 - maybe you mean '59? I remember the song from the Christmas Sing-Along album when I was a wee kid in the early '60s.

Besides, if the original recording was in '69, how did Lorne Green record it in '66?
posted by DandyRandy at 10:28 AM on December 20, 2010


Crumbs, that should have been '61 for the original recording by Miller.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:40 AM on December 20, 2010


Hey, thanks for posting this. I've been having a miserable holiday season, and this whole post made me finally get excited for the Christmas.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:12 AM on December 20, 2010


I'm probably misreading something. Riddle me this: if, as stated in the FPP, Must Be Santa was originally recorded in 1969 then how was it a hit in '66?
posted by item at 12:31 PM on December 20, 2010


The only version of this song for me is the one on my Raffi casette tape. It came right after Baby Beluga.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:19 PM on December 20, 2010


item, it was first released in 1961. My typo.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:28 PM on December 20, 2010


One more version: "singing" lights (an illuminated house, flashing in time to music).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:30 PM on December 20, 2010


"Who has really bad gingivitis?
"Who has non-specific urethritis?

Corey McAbee - The Billy Nayer show does the version that all 12 -15 year old boys love best.
posted by pianomover at 4:24 PM on December 20, 2010


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