Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Last year I clipped and saved your column about the top-selling artists that never had a hit with a Christmas or holiday song.

This year, would you tell us if there is one about which the reverse is true? Namely, an artist whose one and only hit single is a Christmas-themed one.

Please make it for the years 1950-'90.
—Peggy Zimmer, Paducah, Ky.

DEAR PEGGY: There are many more in this category than just one — over two dozen to be exact — which we'll list alphabetically by artist, followed by title and year:

Band Aid: “Do They Know It's Christmas” (1984); Art Carney: “Santa and the Doodle-Le-Boop” (1954); Milton Cross: “The Night Before Christmas” (1950); Dancer, Prancer and Nervous: “The Happy Reindeer” (1959); Elmo & Patsy: “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” (1983); Four Coachmen: “Wintertime” (1959); Cary Grant: “Christmas Lullaby” (1967); Felix Gross and His Orchestra: “Love for Christmas” (1950); Jack Halloran Singers: “The Little Drummer Boy” (1962); Harry Harrison: “May You Always” (1965); Michael Holm: “When a Child Is Born” (1974).

Johnny Kaye: “A Christmas Love” (1963); Becky Lamb: “Little Becky's Christmas Wish” (1967); Melodeers: “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” (1960); Lise Miller: “Love Is” (1967); Moonlion: “The Little Drummer Boy” (1976); Augie Rios: “Donde Esta Santa Claus?” (1958); Derrik Roberts: “There Won't Be Any Snow (Christmas in the Jungle)” (1965); Danny Thomas “The First Christmas” (1967); Harvie June Van: “Natividad” (1967); Vonnair Sisters: “Goodbye to Toyland” (1962); Joe Ward: “Nuttin' for Xmas” (1955); Toni Wine “My Boyfirend's Coming Home for Christmas” (1963); Yogi Yorgesson: “I Just Go Nuts at Christmas” (1950); Ricky Zahnd and the Blue Jeaners: “(I'm Gettin') Nuttin' for Christmas” (1955).

For more fun researching Christmas music, we recommend “Christmas in the Charts,” by Joel Whitburn. Click here for more information.

DEAR JERRY: My all-time favorite “White Christmas” is one I have only heard once, when Dean Martin sang it live on his TV show.

This is a fantastic version that apparently was never issued on record or CD. Where can I get it?
—Donald Whitney, Huntsville, Ala.

DEAR DONALD: I know the track of which you speak, but it is not on any commercially issued music album (and we have ALL of them, so please don't think we are unaware of “Dean's Christmas Album,” etc.) However, 24 volumes of the Dean Martin Variety Shows are available on both DVD and VHS, and Volume 16 in the series, “Christmas in California,” is the program you need.

Dino closes this particular show with the heartfelt “White Christmas” that has eluded you.

DEAR JERRY: Among my old albums is “The Waltons' Family Christmas.”

Funny thing is the Waltons themselves do not perform on these tracks, they are merely pictured in such a way to tie-in with what was once a popular TV series.

Did other regular TV shows (not holiday music specials) have spin-off Christmas albums? If so, did the TV cast really sing or play or did they just lend their mug shots to the project?
—David Hendricks, Chicago

DEAR DAVID: Yes, there are others. With the year of first issue noted, here are a few that come to mind: “Howdy Doody's Christmas Party” (1951); “Christmas with Arthur Godfrey and All the Little Godfreys” (1953); “Bonanza! Christmas on the Ponderosa” (1963); “A Partridge Family Christmas Card” (1971); “Merry Christmas from the Brady Bunch” (1971); “The Waltons' Family Christmas Album” (1974); “Touched By an Angel Christmas Album” (1999); and “Ally McBeal: A Very Ally Christmas (2000).

All of these feature the TV stars and cast, unlike that Waltons LP.

IZ ZAT SO? Greg Garrison, producer-director of the Dean Martin Variety show, tells of the time he got a call from Irving Berlin:

“I picked up the phone and he said, in this little squeaky voice: “Mr. Garrison, I just want to tell you I just love your [show's] star, and I want you to know that “White Christmas” Dean did on the air was the best version I have ever heard.”

Quite a compliment since Irving Berlin wrote the song, and likely heard hundreds of renditions of his masterpiece.

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