Today in 1948, “Here Comes Santa Claus” by Gene Autry entered the Top 40 chart.
Autry’s original recording (in which he pronounces Santa Claus as “Santy Claus”) was a top-10 hit on the pop and country charts; the song would go on to be covered many times in the subsequent decades.
Autry got the idea for the song after riding his horse in the 1946 Santa Claus Lane Parade (now the Hollywood Christmas Parade) in Los Angeles, during which crowds of spectators chanted, “Here comes Santa Claus”. Autry’s lyrics combined two veins of the Christmas tradition, the mythology of Santa Claus and the Christian origin of the holiday (most explicitly in its mention of the nativity promise of “peace on Earth”). A demo recording was made by singer/guitarist Johnny Bond, whose recording made use of ice cubes to mimic the sound of the jingling sleigh-bells. This inspired the use of real sleigh-bells in Autry’s own recording of the song.