My gratitude to the distant souls who prepared this most excellent arrangement of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town.” This vintage sheet music dates back to 1934, when the “novelty fox trot song” debuted on Eddie Cantor’s radio show.
I have more than a few Christmas anthologies, and this song (by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots) is a standard, a staple, sure to be included in most any sampler of popular Christmas tunes. But I’ve done a quick scan of the songbooks in my library, and none contain a version quite so satisfactory.
One key difference is that this sheet includes the intro (“I just came back from a lovely trip / along the Milky Way…”). The arrangement is also fleshed out with charming frills and fills, so it feels extra playful as my fingers “fox trot” along the keyboard.
Then there’s the section on page four — marked “Music Box Chorus” — in which the key refrain and chorus are repeated, an octave higher and with twinkling, arpeggiated notes. And yes, it sounds like the song is being played on a music box.
Our rating of this arrangement: an enthusiastic A-plus!
Where to find it:
“Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town”
Lyrics by Haven Gillespie, music by J. Fred Coots
VINTAGE SHEET MUSIC: on Amazon, on eBay, on AbeBooks
Publisher: Leo Feist Inc. (1934)
Status (2019): Out of Print