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Kay MartinThough I've never quite discerned the Freudian dynamics behind it, there's a longstanding tradition among musicians linking sex and Christmas. Maybe it's the mistletoe, maybe it's the phallic symbolism of chimneys and stockings, maybe it's the simple desire to mock the sacred with the profane - regardless, we've had dirty Christmas records nearly as long as we've had Christmas records, period. When Ben Light & His Surf Club Boys recorded "Christmas Balls" back in 1936 they weren't talking about decorations, and it's been a non-stop festival of double entendres ever since.

Sometimes, the fun is relatively innocent. In "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" (first recorded by Jimmy Boyd in 1952), for instance, the Jolly Old Elf never gets past first base. Other times, the hanky panky is merely tangential to the Christmas season (c.f. "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" and "Baby It's Cold Outside"). Some songs are sexy in spite of Christmas: try to imagine a less sexy song than "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," yet in the hands of the mighty Temptations, it becomes a monumental act of seduction. And, in the polar opposite of the songs listed below, Joe Tex's "I'll Make Everyday Christmas (For My Woman)" uses Christmas as a metaphor for a strain of romantic love bordering on the divine.

Unlikely as it seems, Santa Claus himself is the red-faced recipient of most Yule lust. Not content with a merry saint who makes reindeer fly and circumnavigates the globe in one evening, Christmas pranksters have imbued Santa with qualities ranging from hepcat cool ("Santa Done Got Hip," Marquees, 1959) to drug addiction ("Santa's Secret," Johnny Guarnieri, 1944). When it comes to love, though, Santa usually does no more than deliver an object of desire (as in Elvis Presley's "Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me"). Many times, however, Old St. Nick has become as the target of carnal affections. Though she never comes right out and says so, one gets the impression in Mabel Scott's "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus" (1948) that the Fat Man does a lot more than dance. In many of the songs below, all doubt is removed.

More often than not, though, sexual passion in Christmas songs is evidenced in normal, healthy, discreet ways - the same way it is expressed in most love songs. Consider Tina Turner's 1964 reading of Charles Brown's "Merry Christmas Baby"; where the original was mellow and seductive, Tina's version is sweaty and insistent. Yet nowhere does she violate the bounds of good taste, and the listener is left to infer the sex, not to observe it.

The songs chosen here (a top 10 plus 10 honorable mentions - sloppy seconds, if you will), however, are unapologetically naughty - dirty, bawdy raunchy, ribald, randy - and sometimes shockingly explicit. All the holy sentiments of the season are pissed on (or worse) with wicked glee, and I suspect we're better off for it: sacred cows, after all, were made to be butchered. Moreover, very few of these songs are truly malicious or mean spirited, and most document sexual congress between consenting (if inebriated) adults. So strap on some Christmas spirit and prepare for an orgy of holiday cheer. Got a horny favorite? Drop me a line...

Randy Anthony

 

Mistletoe Ten Sexiest Christmas Tunes

  1. Back Door Santa, Clarence Carter, (Atlantic, 1968)
    Soul ChristmasWhen Clarence Carter committed "Back Door Santa" to vinyl, first as a 45, then on the superb Atco LP, Soul Christmas, the longstanding tradition of the double entendre in Christmas reached its pinnacle. Dirty jokes and leering asides are scattered throughout, but the lyrical ringer (notwithstanding the anally-fixated title) has to be Carter's assertion that, "I ain't like old St. Nick, he don't come but once a year." Carter plays the role of sexy Santa, bringing his presents to "all the little girls" whose boys aren't taking care of bizness at home. Clarence judiciously leaves the back door open for quick getaways, because "wouldn't ol' Santa be in trouble if there ain't no chimney in the house?" Not incidentally, the record is a sizzling slab of southern soul. Unforgettable!

  2. Trim Your Tree, Jimmy Butler (Gem, 1954)
    No song makes the connection between sex and Christmas more completely than Jimmy Butler's extended double entendre, "Trim Your Tree" (featured on Savoy's Christmas Blues). A spirited jump blues, the song distinguishes itself mainly on lyrical content and Butler's lascivious, leering vocal. To say nothing of the many uses of the word "trim," Butler reveals hidden, dirty meanings in virtually every common Christmas image, climaxing with his pledge to "sprinkle my snow" upon his unsuspecting paramour's evergreen. With more recent songs like Snoop Dogg's "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" ("The children were snuggled up, sleeping in bed, my bitch on my jock giving holiday head"), the level of discourse became much more explicit, making "Trim Your Tree" (and similar songs from the mid-50's like the Midnighters' "Work With Me Annie" or the Dominos' "Sixty Minute Man") sound almost quaint. I would argue, though, that by standards of the time, "Trim Your Tree" was dirtier by far, and it probably raised much more than eyebrows back in the day.

  3. Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt (RCA Victor, 1953)
    When Madonna revived "Santa Baby" on the first Very Special Christmas CD back in 1987, most people (myself included) hadn't yet heard Eartha Kitt's high octane original (available on Hipsters' Holiday). The song is ostensibly just pillow talk between a promiscuous gold digger and her sugar daddy; if he comes through with the goods (furs, cars, jewelry), she'll let him "hurry down the chimney tonight." But, my goodness - where Madonna merely teases (in fact, teeters on the brink of parody), the sultry Ms. Kitt positively smolders with honest sexual promise. "Santa Baby" succeeds not just because it imbues Christmas with an all-but-explicit sexuality, but because it unflinchingly ties sex to money. The listener is offered alternate perceptions - hear the song as naughty trifle or as profound commentary on the corrupted nature of the the holiday. Either way, it works. (I would be remiss if I didn't mention Pearl Bailey's "Five Pound Box Of Money," a yule tune from 1959 modeled on Kitt's hit. Pearl was just as greedy as Eartha but not quite as horny, so she comes in a close second in the contest to be Kris Kringle's concubine.)

  4. Let's Make Christmas Merry Baby, Amos Milburn (Aladdin, 1949)
    While his blues brothers usually spent their Christmas season were bemoaning their lack of love or sustenance, jovial Amos Milburn always had the best of times. Addressing his lover in "Let's Make Christmas Merry Baby" (compiled on Legends Of Christmas Past), Milburn pleaded with her to "let me be your Santa Claus." To wit, he'd "slide down your chimney and fill your stocking full of toys." Sounds innocent enough (yeah, right), but when he offered a "ride on my reindeer," his proposal began to sound like more than just good clean fun. "I'll rock you in my cradle," he promises, "yes, we'll make them joy bells ring" (nudge, wink). By the time he recorded "Christmas (Comes But Once A Year)," a sequel of sorts, in 1960, Milburn had a house full of children (small wonder), but his mood remained almost as generous. "It'll take the next six months to pay these bills," he frets, "but I don't care - Christmas comes but once a year" - mercifully, his wife probably exclaimed!

  5. Homo Christmas, Pansy Division (Lookout, 1992)
    Punk Rock XmasSince about ten percent of the world's population is homosexual, I find it fitting to include one queer carol in our Top 10. This one - by noted San Francisco queercore punk band Pansy Division - couldn't be louder or prouder of its sexual proclivities (or more explicit in its desires). The song is addressed to a youngster who, like many gay men, struggles for acceptance. "Your family won't give you encouragement," singer Jon Ginoli warbles, then offers, "let me give you sexual nourishment." That's as dignified as it gets, as the rest of the song finds Ginoli and his musical boy toy, "Licking nipples, licking nuts, putting candy canes up each others butts." "You'll probably get sweaters, underwear, and socks," the singer commiserates, "but what you really want for Christmas is a nice hard cock." Christmas, certainly, is about getting what one wants, and my guess is that Ginoli will grant his lover's wish - several times. (Available on Rhino's Punk Rock Christmas.)

  6. C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S, Yobs (Safari, 1980)
    I'll refer you to my discussion of their Christmas Album for greater detail, but the Yobs were a pseudonymous incarnation of the Boys, an early English punk band. Never a font of maturity and wisdom, the Boys reached new depths of puerile humor on "C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S," and the holiday was better for it. In my extensive collection of music, I can think of no song more filthy, more disgusting, or more perfect in its utter depravity. One by one, the singer ticks off the nine letters of Christmas, each character of the alphabet representing a body part, sexual act, or venereal disease that made a recent holiday romance particularly memorable and progressively more unpleasant. Beginning with "C is for your little clit that I go down beneath," he concludes with "S is for the syphilis that rots away my dick." "Christmas comes but once a year," our hapless adventurer surmises with relief, noting wryly, "It makes me fucking sick!" The band caps the sordid affair with a perverted chorus of "Ding Dong! Merrily On High," and, finally, all is calm - though hardly bright.

  7. Santa Claus Is Coming To My House, Karla DeVito, (Epic, 1982)
    Cute as a bug and possessed of a voice the size of a house, Karla DeVito emerged fully formed on an unsuspecting pop scene with her brilliant debut LP, Is This A Cool World Or What? Sadly, her recording career went nowhere fast, but before it ended, she snuck out "Santa Claus Is Coming To My House," an irresistible flute of bubbly camp. Written and produced by DeVito and her husband, actor Robbie Benson, the song tells a sexually-charged tale with a surprise ending worthy of O. Henry. Claiming she's been nice (but sounding very naughty), Karla confesses, "Even though it wouldn't be right, I want Santa Claus to come and stay all night!" The sassy Ms. DeVito tries to seduce ol' Santa ("Put down your bags and kiss me!"), only to have him counter propose, "Karla, let's trade gigs for a day!" Santa Claus wants Karla to deliver toys so he can jam with her band - which he proceeds to do with much abandon. So, while Santa toots his own horn at Karla's house, she grabs "the keys to his sleigh," and now Karla's coming to your house - lucky you! It's an unforgettable performance, but it's lost to the ages - never issued on CD and long out-of-print.

  8. That Punchbowl Full Of Joy, Sonny Columbus & His Del Fuegos (Boston Rock, 1983)
    Boston Rock ChristmasThis twisted gem is the only original song on the rare, wonderful Boston Rock Christmas EP. I know little about Mr. Columbus other than that he fronted a novelty act called the Swinging Erudites around 1985 and was characterized at the time as a "deranged and highly active alcoholic." That's not hard to believe given the horny inebriation that fills this "Punch Bowl" to the brim. Sonny envisions no less than "a million women by the mistletoe, lined up and ready to go," and he sounds capable of servicing every single one (despite the fact that he refers to his penis as "Tiny Tim"). Blasphemous Christmas puns (logs, balls, stockings) abound - jiving perfectly with the Del Fuegos' salacious bump-and-grind - and while Columbus admits, "I'm not a big religion fan," he insists, "little Jesus, well, he's my man!" As if to prove his point, he promises, "I'll bring you back down to my manger, 'cause at Christmas time no one's a stranger." Wow - some one's gonna fry for this one! (Boston Rock Christmas has never been reissued on CD, but "That Punchbowl Full Of Joy" was included on Ho Ho Ho Spice.)

  9. I'll Be Your Santa Baby, Rufus Thomas (Stax, 1973)
    It's Christmas Time AgainWhereas his daughter, Carla, usually worked a smooth, sultry groove, wild man Rufus Thomas was always loud, proud, and funky (and frequently comical). All four characteristics are evident in this bawdy exercise taken from Stax's It's Christmas Time Again. As the horns mockingly toot Christmas carols and the band lays down a dirty backbeat, Rufus hollers "Here comes Santa Claus," giving the distinct impression he ain't talkin' 'bout no sleigh ride. Sexual innuendo abounds throughout, beginning with this deathless verse: "I'll slide down your chimney and bring you lots of joy, what I got for you, mama, it ain't just a toy." From there, Rufus makes a sly (and rare, in the phallocentric pop world) reference to the clitoris: "This Christmas you'll remember, I'll make sure of that, 'cause this Christmas, mama, I showed you where it was at!" Thomas, actually, seems almost as concerned with duration as he is is with performance itself: "When the New Year rolls around, you'll still be askin' for more," and Rufus won't quit till the job is done - "till 1984," actually. Now that's staying power!

  10. Santa Claus Is Back In Town, Elvis Presley (RCA, 1957)
    Elvis PresleyThe controversy that swirled around Elvis during his halcyon"Pelvis" days was largely trumped up, racist crap. Elvis (and rock 'n' roll in general) mixed black and white together in a heretofore forbidden ways, and the sexual frenzy he stirred in young girls was a threat to the segregationist status quo more than to the morality of teenaged America. "Santa Claus Is Back In Town," however, was one instance where all the King's critics were dead right. Elvis's performance is pure sex - bumping, grinding, sweaty, sinful sex. Written expressly for Elvis by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, "Santa Claus Is Back In Town" comes across as an inside joke, a virtual burlesque of the blues they - and Elvis - loved. That doesn't mean the record doesn't smoke; it is, in fact, one of Elvis' most fiery blues, and it reveals his ability to take silly or mundane material and turn it into gold (a talent that would serve him well throughout the sixties). Most of the sexual energy is in Elvis' growling, libidinous vocals and the striptease frenzy of his band (especially drummer D.J. Fontana). The ringer, however, arrives near the song's conclusion with this unabashed couplet: "Hang up your pretty stockings and turn out the light, Santa Claus is coming down your chimney tonight!" (Originally released on the wonderful 1957 LP, Elvis Christmas Album.)
Mistletoe Honorable Mention
  1. Santa Claus Got Stuck In My Chimney, Ella Fitzgerald (Decca, 1950)
    For many years, this song was one about which I'd only read. Ella's Yuletide gynecological misadventure was, by all accounts, pretty filthy - so much so that Fitzgerald and her attorneys successfully blocked its reissue for years. Only after her death in 1996 did "Santa Claus Got Stuck In My Chimney" start to show up on CD (including Verve's excellent Yule Be Miserable, 2003). And, it was worth the wait! There's something about Ella's girlish coo (or maybe it's just my filthy mind) that turns this simple and innocent song into an orgy of innuendo. Santa, who is "fat and round," got wedged in the poor singer's "chimney" (heh heh) when he came (heh heh) last year, but she had such a good time (one assumes he stayed in there awhile) that she invites him to "come back to her chimney" next year. Ella sings the song, in fact, with such an absence of guile that I have to wonder if the songwriters (William Hardy and Billy Moore) didn't pull one over on her. Fitzgerald, though, was a grown woman in her 30's when she waxed this cunt-centric classic in 1950, and I suspect her chagrin was merely a matter of convenience as she moved into the mainstream during the coming years.

  2. Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin', Albert King (Stax, 1974)
    No yuletide lothario has ever been quite as blunt as Albert King in "Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'" (featured on Stax's It's Christmas Time Again). The sensuous guitar lines in the introduction are but a harbinger of the hardcore jollies King hopes to unleash as he all but demands satisfaction. With his woman preoccupied with holiday preparations, Albert's been a bit frustrated; "I ain't had no lovin' and it's worrying me!" he commiserates. "Mama's in the kitchen cooking," while Albert himself is "trying to fix this ol' bicycle," so he plans to make his move before "Mama...gets that sleep in her eyes." True, he concedes, "Christmas is for children," but King wants his woman to "make her Pappy happy ...before the children wake." Sounds reasonable enough, but a good guitar solo is all the pleasure Albert receives before the record fades. Sadly, Santa Claus won't be coming tonight....

  3. Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man This Christmas), Weather Girls (Columbia, 1983)
    The Weather Girls' "It's Raining Men" (1982) became an anthem for generations of gay men, setting unfettered sexual freedom to a thumping disco beat. Though it was sung by two women, the song's homophilic undercurrent is undeniable. "Dear Santa" is essentially the seasonal cousin of "It's Raining Men" (it's snowing men?) - just as horny, twice as festive. When Martha Wash - pleading with Santa for a little satisfaction - sings "look at me, I'm on my knees," the gay audience heard validation of their sexual habits where the rest of us just thought she was begging. (Both songs are on the Weather Girls' Super Hits CD.)

  4. Gotta Get Lucky For Xmas, Johnny Rabb (Midnight, 1984)
    A neo-rockabilly gem from Midnight Records' Midnight Christmas Mess series, "Gotta Get Lucky For Christmas" finds the otherwise obscure Mr. Rabb channeling early Elvis Presley while hunting down the elusive poontang. This is by-the-numbers (though extremely spirited) roots rock distinguished largely by Johnny's panting sexual need. And, for our purposes, that's enough.

  5. Dear Mr. Claus, Paul Revere & The Raiders (1967)
    From a certain perspective, this is a fairly innocent song. "It's getting very lonely here at home," Raiders singer Mark Lindsay writes to Santa, imploring him to bring him "a special someone." As the song wears on, getting more creepy with each bar, Lindsay's "real live doll" starts to sound more like the blow-up kind. By the end - wherein he puts said doll to work as a housekeeper - we're left to wonder if this isn't some kind of perverted "Stepford Wives" sci-fi fantasy. Cool! (On the Raiders' Christmas Present...And Past.)

  6. Christmas Spirit, Julia Lee & Her Boyfriends (Capitol, 1947)
    Julia Lee's "Christmas Sprit" begins with her band creating raucous party noises, but then Lee enters with the most abject of lines. "Christmas spirit's all around me, but I just don't feel a thing," she insists, but the raw, unrequited sexual need (and bawdy humor) Lee injects into her understated performance is remarkable. Aware that Santa can't bring her what she needs most (wink, wink), she resorts to flirting with the Fat Man himself. "I could go for your long..." (pausing wickedly) "whiskers," she purrs, then invites Santa to drop by when his work is done. Christmas might not be so blue after all! (See Rhino's Hipsters' Holiday.)

  7. I'd Like You For Christmas, Julie London (Liberty, 1957)
    In a manner very similar her entry in my Valentine's Day section, Ms. London's Christmas song (as good as it is) isn't included here so much for it's appropriateness to the list as the singer's own sexiness. I mean, the song ain't dirty, but Julie makes you think it is. Her voice barely above a whisper, she purrs, "I'd like you for Christmas," and deep in my loins, I believe her. It's nearly pornographic. Maybe it's just me, but, as Brian Doyle-Murray once exclaimed, "Oh God, I'd like to fuck her!" (On Capitol's Merry Christmas Baby).

  8. Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus, George Jones & Tammy Wynette (Epic, 1971)
    George and Tammy had an infamously tempestuous relationship, but everything seemed hunky dory on this corny little single. It's sexually explicit in that sweet and coy (but gross) way common to country music (c.f. "You've Never Been This Far Before," Conway Twitty). The duo has finished all the holiday preparations: the kids are tucked in and the fire's still burning, so, George insists with a leer, "It's time to think about you and me." Their pet names for each other are "Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus," and I keep receiving unsavory images of George running after Tammy dressed in only his jockey shorts and a fake Santa beard. Earlier in his career, Jones' recorded a variation on "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" ("My Mom And Santa Claus," 1962) and I imagine that is where his Santa fetish began. Ewww! God bless Tammy for putting up with him as long as she did. (Reissued on Christmas Party With Eddie G.)

  9. Christmas Wrapping, Waitresses (Ze, 1981)
    For the protagonist in the Waitresses "Christmas Wrapping," the holy season was just an excuse to get laid. Employing a charming pseudo-rap style (well, certainly more charming than the sneer she employed on "I Know What Boys Like"), singer Patty Donahue begins the song with a resounding "Bah humbug!" After a year of missed romantic opportunities, though, she runs into "that guy I've been chasing all year" while doing some last minute shopping. "That Christmas magic's brought this tale to a very happy ending," she effuses, and it sounds like her stocking is going to be stuffed, indeed. "Christmas Wrapping" was the most popular song from Ze Record's A Christmas Record, a neat LP that's never been reissued on CD; the song often shows up on compilations, however, including Edge Of Christmas, and is included on Best Of The Waitresses.

  10. Santa Claus, Sonny Boy Williamson (Chess, 1960)
    Recorded in 1960 but unissued till 1969, this lecherous single was probably just too twisted for release in the pre-psychedelic era. Vamping to a funky "Fannie Mae" beat, Sonny Boy improvises endless variations around a theme of "looking in my baby's dresser drawers." Ostensibly, he's up to nothing more naughty than trying to find out what his baby bought him for Christmas, but he makes it sound like much, much more. Soon, the landlady shows up, gets mad, and "calls the law." The police demand to know he's up to, but Sonny Boy plays it cool. Not yet satisfied, he walks out on the street and commences "pulling out all the ladies' dresser drawers." Impressive. (See Rhino's Blue Yule).

Mistletoe Late Breaking News

  1. I've Got Some Presents For Santa, Sarah Taylor & Billy Mumy (Rhino, 1994)
    Sarah Taylor & Billy MumyThis titillating tune was written, played, and produced by Billy Mumy, best known as earnest Will Robinson from the oft-parodied 60's sci-fi TV show, Lost In Space. In the 70's, young Master Mumy formed Barnes & Barnes, the bizarre duo (in)famous for "Fish Heads," a song in regular rotation during the early days of MTV (when they had little else to play) and on Dr. Demento's syndicated radio show. Much later, Mumy collaborated with otherwise obscure vocalist Sarah Taylor on "I've Got Some Presents For Santa," a smooth, smokey ballad that manages to check off just about every sexual metaphor in the rich Christmas catalogue. Santa squeezes his big North Pole down Sarah's hot chimney - and that's just where the fun begins. Unfortunately, Mumy's b-side, "Holiday Affair" demonstrates the fine line between ribald and puerile, falling flat using much the same conventions as "Presents For Santa." (Rhino released the song as a CD single, and it quickly fell out-of-print. It has never been reissued or anthologized. However, in 2000, Mumy reprised "Presents" with his band the Jenerators on Mark & Brian's Little Drummer Boys.)

A Couple Of Footnotes. Yes, I know that Mojo Nixon recorded an album called Horny Holidays (1992). It was a puerile piece of crap, and I hereby reclaim the title for people of good taste and prurient desires. And, concerning the Kay Martin album pictured up top, everything I know about it I learned from the Christmas Yuleblog. Featuring ditties like "Hang Your Balls On The Xmas Tree" and "Santa's Doing The Horizontal Twist," the 1962 release was a fairly tepid (if titillating) musical comedy affair. Cool cover, though, huh?

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