"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" (sometimes with "Coming" changed to "Comin' ") is a Christmas song that was written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie, and first sung on Eddie Cantor's radio show in November 1934. It became an instant hit with orders for 100,000 copies of sheet music the next day and more than 400,000 copies sold by Christmas. The song is often used to tell children that Santa Claus knows when they've been bad or good and that they should be good.
The song was so popular that Rankin/Bass made it into an animated TV special in 1970. The song itself has been recorded hundreds of times, the most popular versions include those by the Andrews Sisters with Bing Crosby, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra, Cyndi Lauper with Frank Sinatra in an electronically enhanced duet (Sinatra also sang this solo), the Beach Boys, the Pointer Sisters (covering a Phil Spector-produced version by the Ronettes), Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Rachel Crow. A version sung by Mariah Carey was included as a bonus feature in the 2005 DVD release of the Rankin/Bass special.
- You better watch out you better not cry You better not pout I'm telling you why Santa Claus is coming to town
- He's making a list and checking it twice He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice Santa Claus is coming to town
- He sees you when you're sleeping He knows when you're awake He knows that you've been bad or good So be good for goodness sake
Oh you better watch out you better not cry You better not pout I'm telling you why Santa Claus is coming to town
- [Chorus] With little tin horns and little toy drums Rudy toot-toots and rummy tum-tums Santa Claus is coming to town
- And curly haired dolls that cuddle and coo Elephants boats and kiddie cars too Santa Claus is coming to town
- The kids in girl and boy land Will have a jubilee They're gonna build a Toyland town All around the Christmas tree [Chorus]
- So you better watch out you better not cry You better not pout I'm telling you why Santa Claus is coming Santa Claus is coming Santa Claus is coming to town
Appearances in Christmas specials
- Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
- "The Nutcracker Scoob"
- A Muppet Family Christmas - The Muppets watch an old home movie of their baby selves singing the song. Unfortunately, due to Henson only securing the music rights for television, the US video releases of the special cut the song out.
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas
- The Santa Clause
- I'll Be Home For Christmas
- Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas
- "Xmas Story"
- The Santa Clause 2
- The Polar Express
- Fred Claus
- Four Christmases
- A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa
- Merry Madagascar - King Julien retitles the song "Santa Claus Is Coming to Madagascar", and changes "good" in the lyric "So be good for goodness sake" to "bad"
- Arthur Christmas
- Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas - Santa sings it while referring to himself in first person
- Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice
- A Fairly Odd Christmas
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