December 17th: “Santa Baby” Eartha Kitt

Santa Baby” is a 1953 Christmas song written by Joan Javits (the niece of Senator Jacob K. Javits) and Philip Springer, sung originally by Eartha Kitt. The song is a tongue-in-cheek look at a Christmas list addressed to Santa Claus by a woman who wants extravagant gifts such as sables, yachts, and decorations from Tiffany’s.

The song has been covered by a number of artists, including Madonna in 1987, and Kylie Minogue, whose version was released in 2000 originally as a B-side to her UK number 10 song “Please Stay”. Minogue’s version of the track eventually peaked at number 38 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming her fiftieth UK top forty single and earning a Silver certification denoting sales and streams of 200,000 units.

“Santa Baby” was originally recorded by Eartha Kitt With Henri Renè and his orchestra in New York City, in July 1953. It was released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 20-5502 (in the United States), and by EMI on the His Master’s Voice label as catalog number B 10728. The song was a huge success for Kitt, and she later said that it was one of her favorite songs to record; she reprised it in the 1954 film New Faces. Kitt re-recorded the song for Kapp Records in 1963, using a more uptempo arrangement (Madonna’s rendition for the 1987 charity album A Very Special Chrisrmas was based on this latter version). In 1954, Kitt recorded a new version of the song with new lyrics titled “This Year’s Santa Baby” to no commercial success. Writers listed did not change.

On the Internet, another recording is commonly attributed to Marilyn Monroe who never actually recorded the song. This version of Kitt’s song was performed by Cynthia Basinet in 1997.


 

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