I love to tell stories about Christmas and everything about it. This is the story of how the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town was written.
Haven Gillespie grew up in Kentucky. His mother would tell him that I knew when he and his nine brothers and sisters were sleeping or awake. She also told them I knew when they were naughty or nice. Haven grew up knowing all about me. He became a typesetter and copywriter and wrote for the New York Times. He also wrote songs for Vaudville acts in his spare time. In 1911, he signed on with a man named Leo Feist, a song publisher. In the 1930's a radio star named Eddie Cantor wanted to sing a new Christmas song for children. Feist promised Eddie he had just the right song for him, but he really didn't have a song at all! He knew his song writer Haven could write a song though. At first Haven was not happy that Feist, his boss, had promised Eddie a Christmas song. One of Haven's brothers had just died. Feist begged and pleaded with Haven to write the song. He even demanded he write it, but Haven did not want to write it. Haven left his boss' office, and began thinking of his brother, and his family. He remembered all the many Christmas' together. He took an envelope from his pocket and wrote down some of the memories like his mother telling them, " You better watch out, you better be good, because Santa Claus is coming to town." Words began to fill the envelope and before he had crossed town he had written the poem Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Haven had a friend in New York named John Coots whom he had met earlier in life. He and Coots had written together. It was 1934 and Haven contacted his friend and together they created the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Haven gave his boss the words he wrote, and music Coots wrote. Leo Feist then showed it to Eddie and he loved it. Eddie introduced the song on his radio show on Thanksgiving and sang it in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It sold over 30,000 copies the first week. The rest, as they say, is history. Over 60 million copies of the song have been sold and hundreds of recording artists and singers have sang it.
Now you know the story of how Haven's mom inspired him to write a song based on what she told him about me when he was a boy! I hope you enjoyed that story. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Have a Holly Jolly Day!