I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Jimmy Boyd
accompanied by Norman Luboff

Jimmy Boyd (January 9, 1939 – March 7, 2009) was an American singer, musician, and actor. He was known for his recording of the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”.

Boyd recorded the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” for Columbia Records, when he was 13. It became a hit, selling over two and a half million records in its first week’s release and Boyd’s name became known internationally. Columbia Records executives were baffled at the song’s popularity. They had already presented Boyd with two gold records. (In the days before the Grammy Award existed, gold records were effectively the Grammys, and they were actually real gold). Boyd’s record went to number one on the charts again the following year at Christmas, and continues to sell as a Christmas song. It has reportedly sold more than sixty million copies since its initial release.

Boyd owned horses, so Columbia presented him with a silver mounted saddle. Inscribed in the silver plate on the back of the saddle were the words, “Presented by Columbia Records to Jimmy Boyd commemorating his 3,000,000 record of ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus'”.

When first released, Boyd’s record was banned in Boston by the Roman Catholic Church on the grounds it mixed sex with Christmas. Boyd made worldwide news when he went to Boston and met with the leaders of the Church to explain the song. The following Christmas the ban was lifted.

Between February 1953 and November 1954, Boyd made five appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. In that era, an appearance on Ed Sullivan’s program (or even being introduced in the audience as was often the case of film stars and athletes), was considered by the entertainment industry and the public alike to be the pinnacle of success. In one of Boyd’s five appearances, he replaced the scheduled popular singer of the time, Gisele MacKenzie. Boyd was in New York on his way to Montreal for a concert. After the show, Boyd was informed that MacKenzie had been bumped. He was so upset at the turn of events that he personally asked Sullivan to re-book MacKenzie (MacKenzie ultimately appeared twice on the show). In the same year and the years that followed Boyd made multiple appearances on Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall, The Doris Day Show, The Bing Crosby Show, The Bob Hope Show, the syndicated The Patti Page Show (1955), Dave Garroway, The Merv Griffin Show, The Tonight Show, Shindig, American Bandstand and other programs throughout the United States and Canada.

Boyd recorded several more hit records: teaming up with Frankie Laine in the spring of 1953 on “Tell Me a Story” (written by Terry Gilkyson), which reached #4, and “The Little Boy And The Old Man” (#24), and with Rosemary Clooney that summer on “Dennis the Menace,” which reached #25.

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