The Little Boy that Santa Claus Forgot

This poignant Christmas song really tugs at the heartstrings. Written by British composers Michael Carr, Jimmy Leach and Tommie Connor, it tells the tale of a fatherless boy who sent a note to Santa Claus to request presents of soldiers and a drum. On Christmas morning he awoke to find that Santa never came, and therefore, he only had last year’s broken toys to play with.

Connor had quite a penchant for seasonal tunes and also composed the famous evergreen -1 Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.

Amongst others, Issy Bonn, Arthur Tracy (the street singer) and Vera Lynn enjoyed great success with the song. Vera recorded her vocal on October 26th, 1937, with Ambrose and his Orchestra for Decca Records, and this version has remained the most popular during the past 70 years.

In 1953 the title was revived by several singers of the day, including Nat ‘King’ Cole and Lita Roza, but failed to become a hit the second time around in Britain. Lita had become attached to the song some 15 years earlier when she appeared as a juvenile in pantomime with Issy Bonn, who included the song in his performance.

The song was introduced to a completely new generation in 1982 when it featured in the Pink Floyd film The Wall. Vera Lynn’s version is heard during the opening scene, providing an eerie atmospheric effect. In 2001 Natalie Cole followed in her famous father’s footsteps and recorded the song for her Christmas album Caroling, Caroling.

Mark Willerton.