DEAR JERRY: You probably have seen the widely-publicized story (CNN, MSNBC, etc., etc.) about the “world's biggest insect,” the giant weta bug.
Since this species is pretty much confined to New Zealand's Little Barrier Island, I'd not heard of this insect until now. I found several YouTube videos about this bug, including one where a man eats a live weta bug.
All of which brought to mind a record I heard on a local radio station long ago, one that I think is actually titled “Eat a Weta Bug.”
I swear I am not making this up!
Even so, it seems nearly impossible that a song about a weta bug wouldn't have something to do with real weta bugs. Where else did they get the name? It can't be a coincidence, or can it?
Carmen Brandmeier, Washington D.C.
DEAR CARMEN: And I foolishly thought my study of entomology would never be useful.
The recording now bugging you is a late 1958 release by the Coolbreezers, issued by Bale (No. 100), a D.C. label.
To simply listen to the lyrics, whether spoken or sung, anyone could think they were hearing “eat a weta bug,” especially someone aware of the weta bug, a plentiful source of protein, or so I'm told.
However, the exact title of this up-tempo doo-wop tune is “Eda Weda Bug.”
Against all odds, after several spins of “Eda Weda Bug” on your behalf, I am convinced it is a coincidence. Beyond the homophonic “Eda Weda” and “Eat a Weta,” there is no arthropodal connection.
The “bug” reference is about catching the bug, or being caught up in the eda weda, suggesting a dance craze or music style. This is evident from the very first verse:
The Eda Weda is goin' around
The Eda Weda never lets you down
When it bites you're rhythm bound
Eda Weda has a rock, rock, rock and roll sound
Better yet, for your listening and dancing pleasure (and, gulp, dining), click here to hear the Coolbreezers sing about their bug, which we posted just for you.
DEAR JERRY: The store where I work plays music from one of the satellite oldies stations, which now includes many Christmas classics, from the 1950s and into the '80s.
One of the most played tunes is “Stop the Cavalry,” by the Cory Band.
Having never heard any other song by the Cory Band, it has me wondering how many of the now-familiar Christmas tunes are by artists who had no other hits, seasonal or otherwise.
Jackie Padgett, Evansville, Ind.
DEAR JACKIE: Most Christmas-related recordings from the period you specify are by established hit-makers, making for very few one-Christmas-hit wonders. Also, most of those would not likely be regarded as “now-familiar,” having been somewhat popular decades ago but rarely heard since.
For starters, here are five tunes I rate as familiar:
Cory Band and the Gwalia Singers “Stop the Cavalry” (1981)
Elmo & Patsy “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” (1979)
Gayla Peevey “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (Hippo the Hero)” (1953)
Augie Rios “Donde Esta Santa Claus? (Where Is Santa Claus?)” (1958)
Yogi Yorgesson “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas” (1949)
Now for 15 likely less familiar releases, ones that still made the Billboard charts, as referenced in Joel Whitburn's “Christmas in the Charts” book:
Art Carney “Santa and the Doodle-Li-Boop” (1954)
Dancer, Prancer & Nervous “The Happy Reindeer” (1959)
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” (1975)
Derrik Roberts “There Won't Be Any Snow (Christmas in the Jungle)” (1965)
Jack Halloran Singers “The Little Drummer Boy” (1961)
Stan & Doug “Christmas Goose (Snowbird)” 1970
Harvie June Van “Natividad” (1967)
Joe Ward “Nuttin' for Xmas” (1955)
Toni Wine “My Boyfriend's Coming Home for Christmas” (1963)
Ricky Zahnd and the Blue Jeaners “(I'm Gettin') Nuttin' for Christmas” (1955)
Not included are groups assembled for one special cause (e.g., Band Aid), or duets of bona fide stars (e.g., Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker).
IZ ZAT SO? Knowing most of the top-ranking singles and albums artists made at least one Christmas recording, have you ever wondered who is the biggest name exception?
That distinction goes to the Rolling Stones, but is not without caveats.
In a hidden, half-minute snippet on the December 1967 LP, “Their Satanic Majesties Request,” is the Stones' wish for a “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
In 1978, Keith Richards revived Chuck Berry's “Run, Rudolph, Run.”
Then Mick Jagger did a duet with Joss Stone of “Lonely Without You (This Christmas),” which is on the 2004 “Alfie” soundtrack album.