Clarence Carter’s Christmas Eve Special Edition: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — December 24, 2021

296) Clarence Carter — “Back Door Santa”

This is no “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Carter’s Santa is nobody’s fool — he gives kids a few pennies so that he and the mommies can be alone.

Clarence Carter ended a triumphant 1968 by releasing this A-side, which “must certainly be the ax heavyweight champion of all randy Christmas offerings.”

Jason Ankeny in All Music Guide explains that:

[Carter] exemplified the gritty, earthy sound of Muscle Shoals R&B, fusing the devastating poignancy of the blues with a wicked, lascivious wit to create deeply soulful music rooted in the American South of the past and the present. Born . . . in Montgomery, AL, Carter was blind from birth. . . . He ended 1968 with a superbly funky Christmas single, the raunchy “Back Door Santa[.”]

The song’s legacy has unfortunately been besmirched. As Sean Maunier laments:

Clarence Carter’s raunchy 1968 recording of “Back Door Santa” is an iconic anti-Christmas song, but somewhere along the line, someone made the mistake of telling Bon Jovi, who then decided to cover it with full-throated, aggressively horny sincerity. This has the dubious honor of being perhaps the single most off-putting song you could have sing-shouted at you over arena rock guitars.

I thought Sean must have been exaggerating. Then I listened to the Bon Jovi version. Talk about desecration. 🤮🤮🤮. It belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame.

“They call me Back Door Santa. I make my runs about the break of day (oh, ho, ho). I make all the little girls happy while the boys are out to play. I ain’t like old Saint Nick. He don’t come but once a year (oh, ho, ho, ho). . . . But (lookie here) I come running with my presents every time you call me dear. (Lookie here) I keep some change in my pocket in case the children at home. I give them a few pennies so that we can be alone. I leave the back door open so if anybody smells a mouse and wouldn’t old Santa be in trouble if there ain’t no chimney in the house.”

Here is Bon Jovi’s abomination:

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