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'Zat You Santa Claus? by Louis Armstrong & The Commanders

Christmas Jazz Song

In honor of St. Nick’s feast day (i.e., December 6), is one of our favorite golden oldies, which is Louis Armstrong and The Commanders performing a Christmas jazz song “‘Zat You Santa Claus?” Armstrong recorded the song in 1953 on Decca records. The song is possibly one of the first Halloween and Christmas hybrids, a forerunner in spirit, as it were, to films such as Nightmare Before Christmas. The singer of the song is concerned that the noise at the door might be Santa – or a prowler. Will Santa bring “something pleasantly pleasant” for the singer? Or maybe it’s only the wind.

Here are the lyrics:

“‘Zat You, Santa Claus?
Gifts I’m preparing for some Christmas sharing,
But I pause because,
Hanging my stocking I can hear a knocking.
‘Zat you, Santa Claus?
Sure is dark out, ain’t the slightest spark out.
‘Pon my slackened jaw!
Who’s there? Who is it stopping for a visit?
‘Zat you, Santa Claus?
Are you bringing a present for me,
Something pleasantly pleasant for me?
Then it’s just what I’ve been waiting for.
Would you mind slipping it under the door?
Cold winds are howling, or could that be growling?
My legs feel like straws.
My my oh me my, kindly would you reply?
‘Zat you, Santa Claus?
Hanging the stocking, I can hear a knocking.
‘Zat you, Santa Claus?
I say, who’s there, who is it? Are you stopping for a visit?
‘Zat you, Santa Claus?
Oh there, Santa, you gave me a scare.
Now stop teasing cause I know you’re there.
We don’t believe in no goblins today,
But I can’t explain why I’m shaking that way.
Bet I can see ole Santa in the keyhole.
I’ll get to the cause.
One peek and I’ll try there; oh oh, there’s an eye there!
‘Zat you, Santa Claus?
Please, please, pity my knees!
Say that’s you, Santa Claus!”

There’s a story about Armstrong’s love for Christmas. Soon after Armstrong married Lucille Wison in 1942, they were on the road together. She bought a little Christmas tree and a string of lights to put up in their hotel room where they were staying for one of his gigs. Armstrong was very moved because he had been traveling (in one way or another) all his life and never had his own tree. That tree traveled with them for a long time until every pine needle dried and fell off.

Although Armstrong recorded many Christmas singles, he never did an entire Christmas album. What A Wonderful Christmas is a compilation of his Christmas songs and came out in 1995, many years after his death.

Louis Armstrong could distill the essence of a musical composition into just a few notes. For much, much more and a great read about Armstrong’s life and career, see Terry Teachout’s meticulously researched, comprehensive  narrative biography Pops – A Life of Louis Armstrong.

For More Golden Oldies Music

The Daily Doo Wop Rec Room has daily featured doo wop, rock and roll, R&B, or rockabilly songs that were hits during the first era of rock and roll (that is, from about 1952 until the British invasion in 1964). After a song is featured, it then goes into the juke box. You are welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections there. Every weekend, there is a Golden Oldies Juke Box Saturday Night, and the juke box is full of song requests from the 1950s and 1960s.

Please click here for our YouTube channel, to which you can subscribe. Thank you for stopping by The Daily Doo Wop.

1 Comment

  1. […] another song by Louis Armstrong: “‘Zat You Santa Claus,” which is on Pass the Paisley’s sister site The Daily Doo […]

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