Must Be Santa (song)

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"Must Be Santa" is a Christmas song written by Hal Moore and Bill Fredericks[1] and first released in November 1960 by Mitch Miller.[2] A cover version by Tommy Steele reached Number 40 on the UK Singles Chart in the same year.[3]

Based on a German drinking song,[2] (the Schnitzelbank song) "Must Be Santa" is structured as a call and response, with the lead singer posing the question of who has a certain feature, with a chorus responding that Santa Claus has said feature. After every other verse, the list of features mentioned up to that point is reiterated, followed by the chorus of "must be Santa" repeated three times and ending with "Santa Claus."


Lead singer: Who laughs this way, ho ho ho?
Chorus: Santa laughs this way, ho ho ho!
All: Ho ho ho, cherry nose, cap on head, suit that's red...

Bob Dylan version[edit]

In November 2009, Bob Dylan covered the song in a polka style (influenced by a previous version by Brave Combo, possibly after playing it on Theme Time Radio Hour) for his Christmas album, Christmas in the Heart. The New York Daily News described Dylan's version as such: "It's sort of unclear if Dylan (...) was aiming to celebrate the holiday, or gently poke fun at the music's Norman Rockwell-esque simplicity."[4] Based on Brave Combo's version, Dylan's version also has the names of several United States presidents mixed in with the list of Santa's reindeer--only one of the mentioned presidents had served in the White House when the song was originally published. Count Smokula is an unexpected band member, playing accordion. The song is one of two by Dylan that includes a raucous party in the background.


  1. ^ "Repertoire Search | Must Be Santa". BMI. Retrieved June 29, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Reviews Of This Week's Singles". The Billboard. November 7, 1960. p. 46. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Tommy Steele". UK Chart Archive. Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  4. ^ Sheridan, Michael (November 16, 2009). "Bob Dylan's 'Must Be Santa' music video is one bizarre Christmas treat". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 6, 2010.