Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Remember Jimmy Boyd?

It was 1952 when Jimmy Boyd recorded "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" for Columbia Records. He he was 12 years and 11 months old. Even in those days of limited media, it became a record industry phenomenon, selling over two and a half million records in its first week's release.

Jimmy's name became an international household word, and he skyrocketed to the status of a major star. Columbia Records execs were baffled at the song's popularity. They had already presented Jimmy with two gold records. (In the days before the Grammy Award existed, gold records were effectively the Grammys, and they were actually real gold). Jimmy's record went to number one on the charts again the following year at Christmas, and went on to sell again and again every Christmas. Today on the internet it sells worldwide to new generations, and has reportedly sold over 60,000,000 records since its initial release.

Jimmy loved and owned horses, so Columbia presented him with a silver mounted saddle. Inscribed in the silver plate on the back of the saddle were the words, "Presented by Columbia Records to Jimmy Boyd commemorating his 3,000,000 record of 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus'".

When first released, Jimmy's record was banned in Boston by the Catholic Church on the grounds it mixed sex with Christmas. Boyd made worldwide news at thirteen years old when he went to Boston and met with the leaders of the Church to explain the song to them. The following Christmas the ban was lifted by the Catholic Church.

Between February 1953 and November 1954, Boyd made five appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. In that era, an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (or being introduced in the audience as many film stars, famous athletes etc. were), was considered by the entertainment industry and the public alike to be the pinnacle of success.

In the years that followed Boyd made multiple appearances on The Perry Como Show, Doris Day Show, Bing Crosby Show. Bob Hope, Patti Page, Dave Garroway, Merv Griffin, The Tonight Show, Kraft Music Hall, Shindig, American Bandstand and countless other TV shows throughout the U.S. and Canada.

I've added his #1 song to the playlist. Just scroll to it and click if you want to be whisked back to 1952 with a mouse click. Enjoy.

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