Why Don’t Santa Claus Bring Something To Me?


Just in time for Christmas, here is a letter dated 19 December 1911 from Fred Godfrey assigning the rights to “Santy Claus
(among other songs) to Billy Williams, although Billy didn’t
get around to recording it until January 1912. By this time in his career, Billy evidently had decided to have a form assignment letter prepared — although it hardly seems necessary, as Fred was providing virtually all of Billy’s material by this time.


Billy Williams & Fred Godfrey, 1911.

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Proving at least that many of our contemporary Christmas traditions were already familiar more than a century ago, in this Fred Godfrey song Billy Williams’s plaintive little boy bemoans the injustice of Santa’s having passed him by, even though he’s been good (he says). The song must have been a favourite around the Godfrey household for many years after it was first heard, as Fred’s youngest daughter Peggie (1912–2001) knew it and sang it in her seventies for this author (her son).


Cinch 5133-AZonophone Twin 786-A


Billy Williams recorded four versions of this song: 12 January 1912 for Favorite, 26 January 1912 for Zonophone, ca. August 1912 for Edison Amberol, and ca. October 1913 for Edison Blue Amberol. Reissues appeared on several other labels.1



1  For comprehensive discographies of recordings by Billy Williams, see Brian Rust, British Music Hall on Record (Harrow, UK:
    Gramophone, 1979); and Frank Andrews and Ernie Bayly, Billy Williams’ Records: A Study in Discography (Bournemouth, UK:
    Talking Machine Review, 1982).