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Dominick the Donkey---the Famous Christmas Song

Updated on September 5, 2014

The Rundown

All across America after Thanksgiving we get barraged by Christmas songs. Beginning at this time many radio stations choose an all Christmas song format until Christmas day. I live in Massachusetts and there are at least three radio stations that play Christmas music all day long from Thanksgiving to Christmas. When you have to play Christmas music all day you start to dig deep down into the vaults. This is where you start hearing the  most funky and bizarre versions of traditional Christmas songs. Three years ago for the very first time I heard Dominick The Donkey on the radio. It became so popular on one radio station that they started to play it everyday at 5:00P.M. so everybody would know at least one time it came on.

My kids enjoyed the song and I thought it was funny. Recently I began to wonder.  Where did this song come from? What year did the song orginally come out? These are some questions we are going to explore in the next segment.

The STORY

Dominick the Donkey is a Christmas song written by Ray Allen, Sam Saltzberg, Vivaldi and Lou Monte. Monte was the first person who sang the song and is known as the singer in the most famous version. Monte was an Italian-American singer best known for a number of best selling, Italian themed novelty records recorded for both Rca and Reprise records in the late 1950's early 1960's. Monte continued to record until 1981 and passed away in 1989.

The song describes a story about a donkey who helps Santa Claus bring presents to children in Italy. Dominick the Donkey is a well known symbol of Christmas in Italy.

This song hit number 14 in Billboards "Bubbling under the Hot 100 list in December 1960. For those of you who do not know, billboards bubbling under the Hot 100 list is a collection of songs that have not made the Hot 100 yet. Some songs end up making it, while others like Dominick the Donkey do not. At the time Dominick the Donkey did not receive a lot of airplay because it was perceived as a novelty song and had some Italian lyrics. However, the song was quite popular in Italian American homes.

In recent years Dominick the Donkey has become increasingly popular with the advent of radio stations choosing an all christmas song format during the holidays.

Dominick the Donkey Lyrics

CHORUS: Hey! Chingedy ching, (hee-haw,hee-haw) It's Dominick the donkey.

Chingey 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.

Repeat Chorus

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.

Repeat Chorus

Children sing and clap their hands, And Dominick starts to dance.

They talk Italian to him, And he even understands.

Cumpare sing, Compare su, And dance 'Sta tarantel.

When jusamagora comes to town, And brings du ciuccianello.

Repeat Chorus

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, he-haw)

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    • creamice profile image
      Author

      creamice 6 years ago

      Thanks for the comment!! I agree the song does stay in your head. Fun song though. Hope you have a merry Christmas.

    • mimind profile image

      mimind 6 years ago from THE UNITED STATES

      Know the song love to hear it in moderation more then once a day though and I might go nuts as it gets stuck in your head