by Joe Shea
December 16, 2013
'BLACK SANTA CLAUS' ECHOES DOWN THE YEARS
BRADENTON, Fla., Dec. 16, 2013 -- Almost 35 years ago, I somehow lucked into a dozen or more LPs that had some rockin' songs I'll never forget. One of my favorites was by an unknown band called Roxy Music, and the song was "High Rolling Women," one of the catchiest tunes I ever heard.
But one of those albums, and I can't even vaguely remember which one, carried a tune that resonates with me to this very day, and I remember it every time I hear again about the furor created by FoxNews anchorette Megyn Kelly, who had unfortunately opined that both Santa Claus and Jesus Christ are white, a historical untruth and an insult to all people of color.
Jesus was Aramaic, and virtually all native Aramaic speakers today are black. He may well have been. As for Santa Claus, since he doesn’t exist except in our hearts, we can paint him any color our imagination desires. But this song had a different idea, and it was not only a beautiful melody, but the lyrics were moving and beautiful, too.
I tried to call CNN about it, since the topic was being aired as lately as today (and even now, as I write), and it seemed the perfect lead-in to the story. Regrettably, the person who entered was interested only in breaking news and palmed me off to a ringing number that wasn't answered even after 50 rings. I thought I'd write this, then, instead of giving the story away (but reprinting of this piece is free to all media, including social websites, and no permission is required)).
I should add that the authors and the band that recorded this song stand to reap millions of dollars in royalties when the world hears it - if it ever does. You see, as a gift to my nephew, a brave Marine flyer named Michael Kies, I gave all of those albums away back around 1980. Now he's in Haiti as a UN Observer, and the albums have long ago flown away.
With them went the song I can't forget. I have searched for it everywhere I could think of, including ASCAP, to no avail. I just hope that someone who reads this will recall the song and the band, and put us in touch once again with the haunting lyrics of "Black Santa Claus:"
Black Santa Claus
if your bag just happens to be
empty when you
get around to our tree,
Then take your bag and fill it
full of love,
and give it to my Mommy and Daddy;
Take your bag and fill it
full of love,
and tell them it's from Willy and me."
I remember the words of about five songs I've heard in my life; I was tone deaf and failed miserably at both learning a musical instrument, singing in public and writing songs, which I started doing when I was 12. But I remember these words after so many years because I listened to the song so many times I probably wore a new groove in the record.
I will gladly pay the first person who can find the original album, or the original song and its authors, $50 for their trouble. I won't try to exploit it myself, but I hope some of my contacts in the music industry will.
One of those, Billy Sobel, was Michael Jackson's lawyer while his European tour was being arranged, has represwented stars like Bette Midler, Victoria Principal and Tom Selleck, and he's been in Hollywood long enough to dine with Oprah and know everyone that matters. Being an affectionate and sensitive soul, I bet he'd get the song heard by the people who count.
He's out there, my black Santa Claus, fully imagined in an unforgettable song. Please help find him - and Merry Christmas to all!
Contact Joe Shea at firstname.lastname@example.org.