Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: One year at Christmas, during the Viet Nam War, there was a song I listened to over and over on a Chicago radio station. Now I'm hoping you can identify it.

The only part I recall is “It's Christmas in the Jungle and there won't be any snow there.”

I do not remember any more of the words and don't know who recorded it.

I would like to buy it on a CD, but I can't find anything listed by that title.

My Uncle was in Viet Nam at the time, and it meant a lot to me when I would hear this, as it is a very touching song.

Thanks for your help.
—Kaye Phelps, Fredonia, Ky.

DEAR KAYE: You pretty much have all of what makes up the title, you just have the location and the weather conditions transposed.

By Derrik Roberts, the correct title is “There Won't Be Any Snow (Christmas in the Jungle),” and it made the Christmas Top 10 in December 1965 (Roulette 4656).

As you no doubt recall, this recording is mostly a narrative; a message to those at home in the USA from a soldier on the front lines. Occasional gunfire is even added for combat effect.

Though an obscure tune, I did locate one CD with “There Won't Be Any Snow (Christmas in the Jungle).”

Bearing the lengthy title, “Christmas Past - A Christmas Chronology (Seasons Greetings From The Roulette Family Of Labels),” this is a 25-track collection of Yuletide oddities (Westside 5032698015481).

Among them are a few hard-to-find tracks that other readers have inquired about in recent years, such as: “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” (Harmony Grits); “Why Don't You Go Home for Christmas?” (Jim Backus); “Be Bop Santa Claus” (Babs Gonzales); “Merry Twist-Mas” and “Don't Cry for Me This Christmas)” (Marcels); and even the elusive “Happy New Year, Baby” (Jo Ann Campbell).

DEAR JERRY: I have two somewhat similar questions:

Who is the top-selling singles artist to have never had a hit with a Christmas or holiday song?

Who is the top-selling album artist to have never made a Christmas or holiday album?
—Suzanne Eaton, Huntsville, Ala.

DEAR SUZANNE: These are easy questions, as the answer to both is the Beatles — special fan club greetings notwithstanding.

In the singles category, a couple other well-known names who qualify are Madonna, and the Rolling Stones.

The Stones can also be included in the album group, as can Bob Dylan.

DEAR JERRY: In one of your previous columns is a piece about Les Brown, which I think was written around the time of his death.

It reminded me of his orchestra's performance of “The Nutcracker Suite,” which I rate as the best of the many that exist.

Since my phonograph is now deceased, can you direct me to a compact disc that includes this holiday classic?
—Leon Harding, Lynnville, Ind.

DEAR LEON: Sorry for your loss, but yes!

A six-and-a-half minute version of “The Nutcracker Suite,” by Les Brown and His Band of Renown, is available on “Happy Holidays: Warm & Wonderful Christmas” (Capitol 0777-7-89587-2-7).

Though this 18-track collection of Christmas and winter-theme music came out in 1993, there are several copies available online for under $10.

Joining Les Brown on this collection are: Lena Horne, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Al Martino, Bing Crosby, Jo Stafford, Glen Campbell, June Christy, Nancy Wilson, Lou Rawls, Margaret Whiting, and the Lettermen.

IZ ZAT SO? Even with careers that span several decades, it is extraordinary for any performer to chart more than 10 different Christmas tracks. Only two have done it.

As an example, in roughly 40 years, the venerable Gene Autry had only five.

Yet, in just nine years, Garth Brooks managed to place 12 different tunes on the Christmas hits list.

Only Bing Crosby, with 15, tops Brooks in this department. Noteworthy, however, is that Bing's total is spread over about 65 years.

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