Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa

I would never bet against Bob doing anything. When one of my friends told me at the time that Dylan released a Christmas album…I thought he was kidding. Nope…and I liked it when I heard it.

Must Be Santa” was written by Hal Moore and Bill Fredericks. The song was first released in 1960 by Mitch Miller. In 2009, Bob Dylan covered Brave Combo’s arrangement as part of his holiday album, Christmas in the Heart.

All of the profits from this album went towards Feeding America, Crisis and the World Food Program. In 2009, Dylan told Bill Flanagan that he had intended to make a Christmas record for sometime: “Yeah, every so often it has crossed my mind. The idea was first brought to me by Walter Yetnikoff, back when he was President of Columbia Records.”

Bob Dylan: “This version comes from a band called Brave Combo. Somebody sent their record to us for our radio show [Theme Time Radio Hour]. They’re a regional band out of Texas that takes regular songs and changes the way you think about them. You oughta hear their version of ‘Hey Jude.'”

From Songfacts

This song is reportedly based on a German drinking game, with the lyrics taking on a ‘call and answer’ structure: “Who’s got a beard/That’s long and white?/Santa’s got a beard/That’s long and white.” Dylan’s version intersperses the names of former US presidents into the list of Santa’s reindeers: “Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen/Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon/Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen/Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.”

The official video for this was directed by Nash Edgerto and features Dylan singing in a gray wig in the midst of a rather raucous Christmas house party.

Even though Dylan is Jewish, he told Flanagan he never felt left out at Christmastime: “…it’s so worldwide and everybody can relate to it in their own kind of way.” Dylan added his ideal Christmas dinner would consist of “Mashed potatoes and gravy, roast turkey and collard greens, turnip greens, biscuit dressing, corn bread and cranberry sauce.”

Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa

Who’s got a beard that’s long and white?
Santa’s got a beard that’s long and white
Who comes around on a special night?
Santa comes around on a special night

Special Night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Who wears boots and a suit of red?
Santa wears boots and a suit of red

Who wears a long cap on his head?
Santa wears a long cap on his head

Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Who’s got a big red cherry nose?
Santa’s got a big red cherry nose

Who laughs this way: “HO HO HO”?
Santa laughs this way: “HO HO HO”

HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Who very soon will come our way?
Santa very soon will come our way

Eight little reindeer pull his sleigh?
Santa’s little reindeer pull his sleigh

Reindeer sleigh, come our way
HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen
Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen
Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton

Reindeer sleigh, come our way
HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus
Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

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