Santa Claus Has Got The AIDS This Year" WTF?

Does any one know the back story on this song?

Just what was Tiny Tim thinking when he decided to put this song out?

First he makes light of the AIDS epidemic and then he brings Santa Claus into it!

I know the song was released in 1985, but wasn’t AIDS a serious problem even back then? His other songs weren’t controversial like this one. I mean how does he go from “Tip Toe In The Tulips” to “Santa Claus Has Got The AIDS This Year”?

First, Tiny Tim was one of those celebrities who was even weirder in real life than on stage. No, his real personality was not the same as his on-stage persona, but it was strange in a completely different way.

I don’t THINK it was supposed to be a joke… or if it was, it Tiny had no idea what AIDS involved. He seemed to think that AIDS was something like a bad cold, so that Santa could just rest up and come back good as new next year.

I heard this song years ago - Tim was a favored guest on the Stern radio show. I think it was tongue-in-cheek. AIDS was emerging as a major problem, and was simply a hook for him.

Then again, he was batshit crazy.

I’ve had many people refuse to believe me when I tell them the song exists…


In TT’s defense, it wasn’t the unspeakable faux pas it would be considered today. In '85 AIDS was still thought of in several ways:

The AIDS virus. Virus? Have some chicken soup then. You’ll feel better in the morning.

A rare and unknown affliction among two main groups. NothingIMBY… What’s the hardest thing about getting AIDS?
Convincing your mother you are Haitian.

It was even still known as the “Gay Cancer”. The gay community knew damn well how serious it was, but mainstream America didn’t. A large portion didn’t even care. “God’s punishment on 'em”. Again, nothing that affects “us”. I hate to say this about such a close past history thing, it seems positively PC compared to real past public attitudes… but in '85, it was NOT a kinder gentler time. They were just fags. Outcasts. “Those people.”

I’ve heard him talk about this song, and he sort of regretted doing it.

His defense was that when he did it, AIDS was just coming to the forefront and he (and presumably most of the public) wasn’t aware of how deadly it was or that it would become the epidemic it has.

It was intended to be more on par of like a joke about Santa having the Clap or something.

If written recently, it might have been “Santa Claus has got the SARS this year.”