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. [more inside]
Mitch Miller has died at the age of 99. In the years before rock'n' roll took over, Miller, as an A&R man first at Mercury, and then at Columbia Records, signed and produced hits for a large stable of stars, including Patti Page, Frankie Laine, Johnny Mathis, and Tony Bennett. While he did have a disdain for rock music later, he did offer Elvis Presley a contract and brought Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin into the fold. Artists like Frank Sinatra would later criticize Miller for forcing novelty tunes like Mama Will Bark on them. In 1955 he had a number one hit with the old Civil War-era standard, The Yellow Rose of Texas. Beginning in 1961 he turned a series of records into a hit NBC series, Sing Along with Mitch and his goateed face became a television staple as he encouraged viewers at home to follow the bouncing ball and join in. The show helped launch the career of future Sesame Street star Bob McGrath and inspired the Flintstones parody Hum Along with Herman.