by composer Phil Springer and lyrcist Joan Javits
The History of "Santa Baby"
In 1953, Springer and his song writing partner, Joan Javits, were commissioned to write a Christmas song for a then 26-year-old Eartha Kitt, a Broadway star known for her magnetism.
Springer’s challenge? How does one write a Christmas song for the sexiest woman in America?
In August 1953, at the iconic Brill Building in New York City, the publishers and songwriting team met to discuss this ambitious undertaking. In that meeting, Joan Javits came up with the title “Santa Baby” and everyone enthusiastically agreed.; This was a unique approach to a Christmas song and fit Eartha’s sultry vocal style.
Springer and Javits started working that very afternoon. At the next meeting, Springer played the tune for the publishers, not dreaming that his draft composition would be significant until the publisher said, “Phil, this is great!”
It took Springer and Javits about 3 weeks to finish the song and Eartha recorded it as planned. A few months later, Springer received a call from a colleague saying, “Phil, do you know that you have a hit?” He recounts that he almost fell off his chair when he heard the exciting news.
There was a period of years in which “Santa Baby” was quieter during Christmas seasons. In 1981, Springer became the publisher of “Santa Baby” and he began to boost the song again, allowing only the version with its original lyrics to be played and licensed.
About 7 years later, Springer received a call from the producer of “A Very Special Christmas”, the charity album benefitting the Special Olympics. Springer was asked if he would waive mechanical royalties if a major artist recorded “Santa Baby” but the name of the artist would not be revealed until Springer gave his answer. The answer was yes, and the artist turned out to be Madonna.
Madonna’s recording contributed to a renewed popularity of “Santa Baby”. In 1989, the movie Driving Miss Daisy featured the song in a key scene. The movie won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 1990. Since then, “Santa Baby” has been featured in several movies and television shows, and been recorded by a diverse range of recording artists, including Kylie Minogue, Michael Bublé, Robbie Williams and Ariana Grande. Springer is eternally thankful for each one of these artists having recorded their own successful rendition of the Christmas classic; especially Eartha Kitt for her original, inspiring version. .
This website is dedicated to the works of Philip Springer, composer of the classic Christmas song, "Santa Baby". He started his professional career at age 23 as a staff composer in the iconic Brill Building at 1619 Broadway in New York City in the 1940s, and continued in a music career throughout the following decades and to this day.
Music supervisors looking for songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s may find the perfect background song a movie, television, video or other project. Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield and other notable recording artists recorded many of Springer's songs.