An El Paso Christmas Tradition: Dominick the Donkey

Each holiday season, the Buzz Adams Morning Show begins to receive requests for Christmas songs.

Photo by TS Sergey on Unsplash

Photo by TS Sergey on Unsplash

No song gets FOLLOWING demands that an obscure piece from 1960 called “Dominique the donkey”.

How did a little-known new song with an Italian twist become the most requested song on a rock radio station in El Paso, Texas? Well, it’s a funny story. And, it all started at the beginning of December 1995…

Before 1995, there were definitely some Christmas songs that were part of KLAQ’s seasonal playlist.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra was, and still is, a holiday mainstay. Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” has been performed annually, as has “Father Christmas” by the Kinks.

In terms of novelties,Santa and his old lady” by Cheech and Chong was probably the song we received the most requests for every year.

One problem with this song was that A.) WAS NOT a song, and B.) it was almost 7 minutes long. As for the Springsteen song, we were getting so many people calling us asking DO NOT to play this song as we were getting requests TO he.

I felt it was time to freshen things up. Inject new blood into the Christmas playlist. I decided to do it with a 35 year old Christmas song that no one had ever heard of before.

Photo by Daniel Fazio on Unsplash

Photo by Daniel Fazio on Unsplash


Where did you find “Dominick the donkey”?

I used to work at a radio station that aired Dr. Demento’s weekly show. At the time, shows came to the station weekly as 4 LPs. You were just supposed to throw the albums away after they aired and a new set of albums would arrive next week. As I was on the radio on a Sunday evening alone… I just kept the albums. It was on one of those old Dr. Demento Show records that I first heard “Dominick”.

I decided to play it during the morning show and for some reason it was a hit with the listeners.

Photo by Ansgar Scheffold on Unsplash

Photo by Ansgar Scheffold on Unsplash

Why do you think people liked it so much?

Honestly, I think it’s the aspect of group participation. In the chorus, Lou Monte sings “It’s Dominick the Donkey!” Another voice responds with “HEE HAW! HÉHÉ!” When we play Dominick, I usually cut the audio on the “HEE HAWS” and invite people to do that part. I don’t think Dominick would have become such a phenomenon on the airwaves of El Paso if we had broadcast it without letting people do the “HEE HAWS”.

So, Buzz, are you saying that you alone are responsible for the growing popularity of “Dominick the Donkey”?

100% it is ABSOLUTELY what I am saying.

In El Paso, anyway. I had never heard it performed anywhere other than Dr. Demento before I started playing it in 1995. I have since learned that the song was quite well known, especially in areas with large Italian-American populations, before I started playing it. hear about it. he. It also found new popularity elsewhere, Probably regardless of the annual airings on KLAQ.

In 2011, there was apparently great pressure on the BBC to get the number one Christmas record in the UK Honestly, except for being a big plot point in ‘Love, Actually’. I didn’t know there was such a thing as UK Christmas number one

But, in El Paso at least, I can take credit for being the first to play Dominick the donkey on Christmas.

Do you have a favorite celebrity version of Dominick?

Undoubtedly…the late Gilbert Gottfried’s version. Gilbert had never heard the song before but his “Hee-Haws” was vintage Gilbert. It was as if Iago, the Aflac duck and Mr. Mxyzptik were doing the song at the same time. According to legend, a recording of this epic version exists somewhere in the KLAQ archives.

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