Merry Christmas Baby
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|"Merry Christmas Baby"|
|Single by Johnny Moore's 3 Blazers|
|A-side||"Lost In the Night"|
|B-side||"Merry Christmas Baby"|
|Songwriter(s)||Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore|
"Merry Christmas Baby" is an R&B Christmas standard credited to Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore and originally recorded in 1947 by Johnny Moore's Three Blazers, featuring the singer and pianist Charles Brown. It has been covered by many artists, including Chuck Berry, Ike & Tina Turner, Otis Redding, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Christina Aguilera, and Melissa Etheridge.
Charles Brown tells the story of the song this way: "Leon René had Exclusive Records. They needed a song; Bing Crosby had “White Christmas”. Lou Baxter, who was a songwriter and used to hang around Johnny Moore and the Blazers, said 'Charles, I want you to do one of my songs because I need money.' He had to have an operation on his throat, he had throat cancer. If we did one of his numbers they would give him a $500 advance. So I looked in the satchel, I took the satchel (of songs) home that night and I looked in there, I looked at all them things, and it didn’t impress me. I saw "Merry Christmas Blues", but the idea struck me. I said this would be a good idea, but it wasn't like what he had written. I wrote the title "Merry Christmas Baby", and I wrote the words, how I was going to sing it, and I mapped it out, played the piano, and I presented it to Johnny Moore. We didn't know it was going to be a great big hit, but I thought it was unique. Leon Rene said put the celeste on it. I had never played one. He said it's just like the piano, put it on the side of the piano. 'Cause they didn't have all these synthesizers. He said just play it (on the intro) like you play the piano then get back to the piano. Exclusive never paid copyrights. Hollywood Records took over, lawyers for creditors said artists would get their money, but it never happened. Don Pierce [Hollywood Records] never paid a nickel. Charles lost his letter. When Exclusive Records was sold, the artists/creditors got nothing. Leon Rene promised the artists the money would come. Never happened." And Johnny Moore did the deal with Lou Baxter and put his own name on it as well, apparently. 
Johnny Moore's Three Blazers was one of the hottest blues attractions on the West Coast when their recording of "Merry Christmas Baby" reached #3 on Billboard's R&B Juke Box chart during the Christmas season of 1947. Moore, a guitarist, was accompanied by Brown, bassist Eddie Williams and guitarist Oscar Moore (Johnny's brother, then a member of the King Cole Trio).
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Versions of "Merry Christmas Baby" have been recorded by the following artists:
- 1958: Chuck Berry, single from St. Louis to Liverpool on Chess Records reached #71 on the Billboard Hot 100
- 1964: Ike & Tina Turner, non-album B-side single to "Ooh Poop A Doo" on Warner Bros. Records
- 1966: Booker T. & the M.G.'s, for their album In the Christmas Spirit
- 1966: Kenny Burrell, for his album Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas
- 1966: Mae West, for her album Wild Christmas
- 1968: Otis Redding, non-album B-side single to "White Christmas" on Atco Records
- 1971: Elvis Presley, for his album Elvis sings The Wonderful World of Christmas
- 1987: Bruce Springsteen, for the Special Olympics charity album A Very Special Christmas
- 1991: Gary B.B. Coleman, for his album The Best of Gary B.B. Coleman
- 1992: Bonnie Raitt and Charles Brown, A Very Special Christmas 2
- 1994: Natalie Cole, for her album Holly & Ivy
- 1997: Hanson, for their album Snowed In
- 1998: Etta James, for her album 12 Songs of Christmas
- 2000: Christina Aguilera, for her album My Kind of Christmas in duet with Dr. John
- 2001: B.B. King for the album A Christmas Celebration of Hope
- 2006: PEACH (non-album single)
- 2006: Billy Idol for his album Happy Holidays
- 2006: Pepe the King Prawn, for the album The Muppets: A Green and Red Christmas
- 2007: Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, for the album A Neighborly Christmas
- 2008: Sheryl Crow, for her album Home for Christmas
- 2010: Donna Loren, as a single and for her EP Donna Does Elvis in Hawaii
- 2010: Jessica Simpson, in a duet with Willie Nelson, for her album Happy Christmas
- 2012: CeeLo Green and Rod Stewart, with Trombone Shorty, for their albums Cee Lo's Magic Moment and Merry Christmas, Baby, respectively
- 2012: Colbie Caillat, for her album Christmas in the Sand, featuring Brad Paisley
- 2014: Aubrey Peeples, for the album Christmas with Nashville
- 2017: Fantasia, for her album Christmas After Midnight
- 2017: Train, for their album Christmas in Tahoe
- 2017: Markus Feehily, for the album Christmas
- 2018: The Monkees, for the album Christmas Party
- 2018: John Legend, for the album A Legendary Christmas
- Recorded Interview with Charles Brown by Danny Caron, 03-1990.
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. p. 13. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
- Billboard Greatest R&B Christmas Hits CD booklet
- "Merry Christmas Baby by Charles Brown". Songfacts.com. Songfacts®, LLC. 2019. Archived from the original on 12 December 2019. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
- Anthony, Randall. "Charles Brown blues". Hipchristmas.com. Archived from the original on 12 December 2019. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
But, it's the 1956 version for Aladdin Records that has proved the most enduring - and arguably best - rendition of "Merry Christmas Baby.
- "Merry Christmas Baby (song by Chuck Berry)". Music VF, US & UK hits charts.
- "Record Reviews: Christmas Bets" (PDF). Cash Box: 12. December 12, 1964.
- "Donna Loren Official Website". Donnaloren.net. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
- "Stewart to Release Debut Christmas Album on Verve Music Group". Rodstewart.com. Retrieved 2015-08-30.