Police Mommy Dot
(dunt dunt, dunt dunt)
Police Mommy Dot
(dunt dunt, dunt dunt)
Police Mommy Dot
Oh a sparrow anyo ee a fleecy dod
(Doot, do do do doot)
Long before Seattle radio personality Bob Rivers recorded his questionable remake of Feliz Navidad (Police Stop My Car), my brothers and I were dancing around the house singing Police Mommy Dot. It’s one of those Christmas songs that just brings out the happy dance inside.
When a cheery and energetic Jose Feliciano would blare across the airwaves, we would freeze and sing the Police Mommy Dot (Feliz Navidad) part, then wriggle around and do dance kung fu during the instrumentals. When the English verses hit, it was an all-out dance festival.
Even though we had a basic understanding of Spanish as kids, and one of my best friends at the time was from Mexico City, this will forever be known as the Police Mommy Dot song. That’s what the lyrics sounded like.
I’ve spent a significant amount of my adult life double-checking song lyrics on the internet. For the longest time I was sure that Johnny Rivers was singing Secret Asian Man, and The Beatles Paperback Writer always sounded like Take the Back Riser to me. As a kid I never could figure out the opening lines to the Rolling Stones Start Me Up, so we made it about our grandparents’ hard-drinking neighbor, Mr. Radeo.
On the list goes. I completely understand how people like Weird Al Yankovich have made a living out off of alternate song lyrics, because some people just think that way. I am always making up spontaneous lyrics to songs, and that includes Christmas tunes. Some songs deserve this.
This may have started with Police Mommy Dot and a Smurfberry Crunch cereal commercial in the 1980s that was sung to the tune of the Nutcracker Suite March. I don’t remember all the words, but when I hear the march start, I think, “Smurfberry Crunch is fun to eat, Smurfberry Crunch is really neat…” I distinctly remember the first time that happened to me, in grade school in the high school auditorium watching part of the Nutcracker ballet.
On that note, I made a mental list of Christmas songs that hit a nerve the other night. I tend to make up alternate lyrics to these just to drown out the awful cacophony when they’re on the air. I love how some radio stations play a variety of Christmas music this time of year, but there are certain songs that should be banned from ever, ever being played again.
First, I respect Paul McCartney’s talent and am aware of his major role in modern music. But I don’t think he has a great singing voice. This is why I say “aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh, make it stop…” out loud when I hear Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime.
If this song were performed by someone else, it might be fun. But there’s something horribly obnoxious about the reverberating synthesizer and Sir Paul’s voice that prompts me to give this one a two thumbs down rating. This song is very “ice skating during a claymation acid trip.”
Perhaps equally bad, and possibly even more annoying, is Wham’s Last Christmas. This is another “please, make it go away.” It’s like some sort of bratty revenge song in which the singer will get vengeance on last year’s heartbreaker by mindlessly giving his heart to someone SPESHSHUL. There is a dramatic emphasis on that word, like “neener neener, look who I’m with now, loser.”
Wham was big back in the day. But I would rather listen to Lloyd Christmas ask, “What’s the most annoying sound in the world? AAANNAAAHHHHAAHHNNNAHAHH!” than be subjected to this special song. Even Lloyd’s disjointed, off-kilter part in Mockingbird might have been better.
In the category of “why is this lumped in with Christmas music?” is Jewel’s My Hands. I’ll be pumped up on classic Christmas songs like Frosty the Snowman and I’ll Be Home for Christmas when this gem will come on. This is another tempting opportunity to create individualized lyrics even though Jewel is an accomplished songwriter.
This song usually comes on in a crowded shopping environment or noisy traffic when I can’t hear the lyrics enough to decide what the song is about. Her hands are not my hands, I get that, and I absolutely agree that we are God’s hands. The song seems to have a great message.
But somewhere in there, somebody give me a hand, because the whole thing becomes a tangle of thumbs and fingers and the possession of body parts. Was there an elbow and an appendix involved? Plus it’s kind of depressing. Christmas music can be contemplative, but it should never be depressing.
Vince Guaraldi’s Christmas Time is Here is a song that I cannot listen to when I’m driving or I’ll nod off at the wheel. In the context of A Charlie Brown Christmas, it’s fine. As a stand-alone song, I can’t take it.
I don’t mean to offend any readers with my Plan B lyrics to this song, but it’s so slow and boring that I think, “Christmas time… is here… with narcoleptic cheer… brush my nose… and gently doze… and off the road I veer…” I literally have to turn this song off because not only does it make me yawn, but it sounds slightly off pitch, like a shard of jagged porcelain screeching across a chalkboard…
Celine Dion is another great talent that somehow manages to jingle jangle my nerves during the holidays. This might be because a coworker insisted on playing one of her Christmas CDs over and over last year. Maybe that’s why I can’t deal with the Another Year Has Gone By song anymore. Or any Celine Dion.
Certain Kenny G songs have been similarly overplayed in the workplace, and while I think he’s an amazing talent and a nice guy, I might just rip the wires out of someone’s computer speakers if we are stuck on those CDs again this season. Let It Snow on alto sax gets disturbingly stale after 25,000 plays.
To offset the bad, confusing, and sacrilegious songs of the season, I’d like to share some of the better Christmas songs on record, which, oddly, are not played as much as the bad ones.
These are the songs that reach deep down into our souls and fill us with reverence and awe. They remind me of what Christmas is really all about, the Almighty taking human form to turn us from our inner darkness and give us a hope beyond this earth.
Certain songs give me goose bumps, especially when they are sung in our ancestral tongues. I learned Silent Night in the original German as a child, and there is no equivalent. Hearing ancient carols in Gaelic fills me with pride.
And although it wasn’t a Christmas song to begin with, it’s nice to witness a return of the Ukrainian Christmas Carol (Щедрик) in its native language. I must admit, though, that I get a big kick out of the Muppet version, which I’ll include below.
Stille Nacht (Silent Night) – German – Charlotte Church:
Oíche Chiúin (Silent Night) – Gaelic – Enya:
The Huron Carol (Jesous Ahatonhia) – English – Elora Festival Singers:
The Huron Carol (Jesous Ahatonhia) – Wyandot, French, and English – Heather Dale:
Don Oíche Úd I mBeithil (That Night in Bethlehem) – Gaelic – Celtic Woman:
Щедрик (Shchedryk) – Ukrainian – Choir of St. Petersburg (?):
Ringing of the Bells – Beaker, Swedish Chef, and Animal (Muppets Studio):
O Helga Natt (O Holy Night) – Swedish – Jussi Bjorling:
(while I love when Il Divo and Josh Groban sing this, Bjorling is electrifying)
So there they are folks, some of the best and worst Christmas songs of all time. I hope that radio stations will stop playing the annoying ones and focus more on the all-time greats. Police Mommy Dot to everyone!
Even the bad things are better than they used to be. Bad music, for instance, has gotten much briefer. Wagner’s Ring Cycle takes four days to perform while “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” by the Crash Test Dummies lasts little more than three minutes. –P.J. O’Rourke
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4 thoughts on “Police Mommy Dot”
Thanks for mentioning Heather Dale’s version of the Huron Carol. If you’re interested, the album it comes from, “This Endris Night,” is available on HeatherDale.com. I wanted to find a way to email you directly so it didn’t look like I was trying to spam your blog, but obviously it’s the end of a long day and I can’t find the requisite button. Guess I need more coffee 😉
And yes, Sir Paul’s song is the single most awful thing I’ve ever heard. TEN. TIMES. THIS. WEEK. Augh.
Maybe we should start a worldwide campaign to stop the playing of that song– “Simply Having an Obnoxious Music-Free Christmastime.”
Thanks for the Heather Dale tip. I did not know about the album, only the song. Any artist that can sing in three languages has my attention, and she has a beautiful voice.
It’s not a lack of java. You have to leave a comment to reach me.
Great! We were just having this discussion last night and McCartney’s song is at the top of my list as well. It is, truly, the work of uninspired man.
I also hate “Christmas in the Northwest”… 🙂
Jeff, you, me, and so many others! I did a Google search of bad Christmas songs, and McCartney’s is always mentioned. Poor guy.