Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Fun

Gayla Peevey Jimmy Boyd
Eartha Kitt Spike Jones
Clockwise: Gayla Peevey; Jimmy Boyd; Spike Jones; and Eartha Kitt.

Sometimes you come across songs that just by mentioning their name, a smile comes to your lips. Quite often they are considered novelty songs, which might cause some to scoff. I am not one of them, however. Some of these songs just capture something special, whether it is the particular mood of a time, or something real for a person. The next song is the former, at least for me. Back in 1953, ten-year-old Gayla Peevey sang "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas", the song by John Rox. There is something so child-like about the song, it just stirs the soul with a wonderful warm feeling.

By comparison, Jimmy Boyd was a mature performer in 1952 when recorded "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" at the ripe age of thirteen. The song zoomed up the charts, and soon was the #1 song on the Billboard Pop charts. The song was written by Tommie Connor, originally commissioned by Sax Fifth Avenue for their Christmas card, once Jimmy laid down the recording, it quickly became more than just a commercial.

With a song written by Joan Javits (who is the daughter of New York Senator Jacob Javits) and Philip Springer, Eartha Kitt had quite the hit in 1953. That is when she was coy and flirty, singing "Santa Baby". The song was a big hit, proving Kitt to be quite marketable in her first year as a recording artist. It went on to be covered by many, but it is hard to believe anyone can own it as well as Eartha.

And sometimes, there is a perfect combination between music and comedy. When I think about the 1948 single from Spike Jones & his City Slickers, that is exactly what we have. Jones has this delightful whistling performance, as he sings "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth". The song was written in 1944 by Donald Yetter Gardner, a public school teacher noting many in his classes were missing a front tooth, effecting their speech patterns. But once Jones got hold of the song, he infused it with the the right amount of comedy and toddler realness. Enjoy the song!

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