Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” often kicks off the holiday season. In fact, for some people, it’s not officially the Christmas season until they hear this song on their holiday playlist or in stores. While the song is playful and catchy, the sample used in the tune comes from a little known chart-topping holiday song. And it’s one of the dirtiest Christmas songs you’ve probably ever heard.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the release of Run DMC’s popular Christmas tune. As one of the most influential groups in hip-hop history, it’s no surprise that the group’s 1987 song about Christmas in their Queens neighborhood of Hollis is a holiday staple. However, many people don’t realize that the sample used on the track is from a creepy Christmas song called “Back Door Santa.”
Can ‘Back Door Santa’ Be Anything But Naughty?
The naughty and downright dirty song was released in 1968 by Clarence Carter, a musician from Alabama who is still making music to this day. The musician had his first chart hit in 1967 with “Tell Daddy,” which inspired Etta James’ answer record, “Tell Mama.” Even Carter’s creepy “Back Door Santa” song reached number four on the US Pop Christmas charts in 1968.
Even though his Christmas song made it on the charts, the lyrics to the song are more than questionable. The name alone should cause people to raise an eyebrow. After all, what exactly does “Back Door Santa” mean? Unfortunately, it may be worse than what you’re imagining.
Essentially the song tells of a Santa that comes “at the break of day” and anytime he’s called, not just once a year. When this Santa comes around, he makes “all the little girls happy, while the boys are out to play.” If this isn’t bad enough, this Santa pays off the kids with a few pennies to leave him alone with his girl. As the title suggest, he leaves the back door open as an escape route.
Believe me, I wish I was kidding. But “Back Door Santa” is a real song that made it to the charts in the 1960s. You can listen to the song for yourself, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s a far cry from Run DMC’s Christmas song that talks of returning found money to Santa, eating chicken with all the trimmings, and busting out Christmas carols. Hopefully knowing that this song is sampled on “Christmas in Hollis” doesn’t ruin the classic Run DMC song for you.