Springsteen’s Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
Bruce Springsteen began playing the holiday classic “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” on December 2, 1975 at the Music Hall in Boston, MA. The Springsteen arrangement of this classic tune would soon become a fan favorite as The Boss would make it his own.
The song was released as promo only 7″ and 12″ double-A sided single in December 1981 to promote the charity album, “In Harmony 2” which was released at the same time. This recording was of a live performance from December 12, 1975 at C.W. Post College in Greenvale, NY.
The track was also featured as an extra track on the “Born in the USA” 12″ single in November 1984. In 1985, it was added as the b-side to the “My Hometown” single released just before Christmas.
In 1987, released as an extra track on the CD singles for “Tunnel of Love”. In 1988, special cassette and CD singles for “My Hometown” are released, and of course the song again is available right before Christmas. These cassette and CD singles have become available before every holiday season since that release.
Springsteen Santa On Tour
Springsteen’s arrangement became a regular in the set through the years especially at Christmas time as you might expect.
The song was played only twice on the 1999 / 2000 “Reunion tour” on November 28 and 29, 1999. It was played at the December 17 and 18, 2000 Holiday shows at the Convention Center in Asbury Park, NJ. Then back in the set again for the 2001 Holiday shows. It’s played each night, December 3-8, 2001 at the Convention Hall in Asbury Park, NJ, to close the shows. The song is performed once again on December 15, 2001 at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, NJ when Bruce turned up at the Holiday Express concert, joining in midway through the show, only a week after the close of the Asbury Park holiday shows.
In 2002, the song is back in the set beginning December 4th at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. The song stayed in the set for the next six shows ending December 17, 2002 in Indianapolis, IN. Once again the song is back in the set for the 2003 Holiday shows. The song is played each night, December 5, 7 and 8, 2003 at the Convention Hall in Asbury Park, NJ. It is played during both shows for the Holiday at Harry’s Roadhouse in Asbury Park, NJ on December 19, 2004.
Bruce plays the song with Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers at the Flood Aid 2004 show benefiting victims of Hurricane Ivan at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, PA on December 2, 2004. Finally, at the final show of the Devils & Dust tour, Bruce performs a solo-piano version of the song at Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, NJ on November 22, 2005 along with over a dozen family members and friends.
On the Magic tour, the song is put into the set during the European leg of the tour on December 1, 2007 at Gelredome in Arnhem, the Netherlands, a show postponed from the previous night. It was played at most of the December shows. Then, in 2008, it’s played one more time on the Magic tour atypically on July 11, 2008 in Helsinki, Finland.
Once again… on the Working on a Dream tour, in the middle of summer… in Finland, this time Tempere, on June 2, 2009, Bruce puts the song in the set during the encores.
The song is also played at the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, TN on June 13, and on July 26 in Bilbao, Spain. It’s dropped from the set until the last four shows of the tour with a final performance on closing night of the tour, November 22, 2009 in Buffalo, NY.
On November 16, 2010, another live version is included on DVD #3 “Thrill Hill Vault- Houston ’78 Bootleg House Cut”, a never before seen concert recorded at The Summit in Houston, TX on December 8, 1978.
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town was also played at the final nine shows in November and December of the 2012 tour.