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Friday, December 14, 2007

THE MOST LUDICROUS CHRISTMAS SONG EVER

I hate Christmas music. No, let me rephrase that; I fucking HATE Christmas music. It's at the top of my list of things that drive me batshit crazy about the holiday season, what with it being inescapably heard everywhere from TV commercials to every store you may enter after Thanksgiving (and often before), and its ubiquity and repetition has driven me to a state of apoplexy since my early teens. I've heard all of the yuletide standards eleventy-jillion times and am utterly sick to death of them, and I'm even starting to tire of some of the better novely ones (although "Christmas When You're Dead," the brilliant holiday tune sung from the point of view of Frank Sinatra's corpse, is one of the funniest songs I've ever heard in any genre and the mere thought of it makes me grin). That said, while I was picking up breakfast before going to work, the oldies station heard over the restaurant's PA system played a novelty Christmas song that's been around for nearly five decades that I swear I'd never heard before, and after hearing it I have to emphatically say fuck Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer right in one of his crimson nostrils. It's time to make way for fuckin' Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey!

Unleashed upon an unsuspecting world in 1960 by Goombah novelty songster Lou Monte — who would later record "Pepino, the Italian Mouse" and "Pasquale, the Italian Pussycat", the sequel to "Pepino" — "Dominick, the Italian Christmas Donkey" features a traditional-style Italian melody and rhythm, and once heard sticks to your brain like napalm.

Lou Monte, a true Si-silly-an genius.

But, as with most things Italian and especially Italian-American, I have no problem with that since Lou obviously recorded "Dominick" to be intentionally ludicrous; I can make the connections in my head that allow the horrendous "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" plausible — people get their asses kicked by wild animals all the time — but Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey? How the fuck do come up with that one? Sheer mad genius, and even the DJ noted at the song's end that "no matter where you go or what you do today, you're gonna have that song stuck in your head. Sorry."

And for your edification, here are the lyrics:

Dominick The Donkey (The Italian Christmas Donkey)
Lyrics by Allen, Merrell & Saltzberg (something tells me these guys aren't Italians)

Hey! Chingedy ching,
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
It's Dominick the donkey.
Chingedy ching,
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
The Italian Christmas donkey.
(la la la-la la-la la la la la)
(la la la-la la-la la-ee-oh-da)

Santa's got a little friend,
His name is Dominick.
The cutest little donkey,
You never see him kick.
When Santa visits his paisons,
With Dominick he'll be.
Because the reindeer cannot,
Climb the hills of Italy.

Hey! Chingedy ching,
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
It's Dominick the donkey.
Chingedy ching,
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
The Italian Christmas donkey.
(la la la-la la-la la la la la)
(la la la-la la-la la-ee-oh-da)

Jingle bells around his feet,
And presents on the sled.
Hey! Look at the mayor's derby,
On top of Dominick's head.
A pair of shoes for Louie,
And a dress for Josephine.
The labels on the inside says,
They're made in Brooklyn. (NOTE: pronounced "Brook-a-leen")

Hey! Chingedy ching,
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
It's Dominick the donkey.
Chingedy ching,
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
The Italian Christmas donkey.
(la la la-la la-la la la la la)
(la la la-la la-la la-ee-oh-da)

Children sing, and clap their hands,
And Dominick starts to dance.
They talk Italian to him,
And he even understands.

Cumpare sing,
Cumpare su,
And dance 'sta tarantel.
When sannanicola comes to town,
And brings du ciuccianello.

Hey! Chingedy ching,
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
It's Dominick the donkey.
Chingedy ching,
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
The Italian Christmas donkey.
(la la la-la la-la la la la la)
(la la la-la la-la la-ee-oh-da)

Hey! Dominick! Buon Natale!
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
(hee-haw, hee-haw)
(hee-haw, hee-haw)

And as if that wasn't insane enough, there are several homemade videos for this on YouTube, my favorite of which is the one credited to Joe the Pizza Guy and looks like it was shot in my neighborhood, specifically in and around the handball court near the corner of 3rd Street and 4th Avenue.

Joe the Pizza Guy with the worst donkey puppet of all time. Fuckin' A!

So I'd like to thank Lou Monte for foisting Dominick upon the world, and allowing me an unexpected laugh during the time of year that most gets me down.

3 comments:

Red Stapler said...

I can't believe you never heard this one!

While I realize listening to WPLJ's morning show probably isn't in your daily routine, it was for me around 1992.

Every Christmas, they'd bring out this aural assault. And my mom and I? We love the shit out of it.

I'm stunned this one passed you by!

John Bligh said...

I've heard it before. Makes me embarrassed to be an Eye-Tie.

Still, it's not as annoying as "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer", which is the "We Built This City" of novelty holiday songs.

Erin said...

I am quite amazed that with your vast musical knowledge, you never heard this song before now.
But, like you, I can not STAND the holiday music. As if annoying customers this time of year arent enough to send me into a homicidal rage, the music played ALL FUCKING DAY is. There are two exceptions to this rule.
"Father Christmas" by the Kinks. This was one of those songs ive been in love with, no matter what time of year, since i was a wee'un. My dad is a big Kinks fan, and so i basicly grew up with this song. when i was younger it was more because i thought it was funny, that the kids were beating up santa. Now that i am old and learned, i actually understand what they were singing about, and i still freaking love this song. And i dont think it gets played nearly enough as it should be this time of year.

The other exception to my rule of NO X-MAS MUSIC is Dominic the Donkey. in fact, my love for this song goes deep enough that a few years back at summer camp, me and my campers(who were the oldest kids in camp) choreographed a whole dance to this song and performed it in the camp talent show. The kiddos all dressed up as donkeys(quite a feat for 15 year old jappy girls from lawnguyland), and I, in a full santa suit, beard and all...... in July.

I guess, all i should say, is welcome to the Dominic Love.
--E!