It Must Be Jelly ('Cause Jam Don't Shake like That)

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1944 RCA Victor 78 single release by Glenn Miller, 20-1546-A.

"It Must Be Jelly ('Cause Jam Don't Shake Like That)" is a 1942 jazz and pop song recorded by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra. The song was released as an RCA 78 single by Glenn Miller in 1944. Woody Herman also released the song as a single and as a V-Disc.


Based on the original 1929 song Jam Don't Shake by Frankie "Half-Pint" Jaxon. The music for Glen Miller's version was written by J.C. Chummy MacGregor and George "The Fox" Williams and the lyrics by Sunny Skylar. George Williams also arranged the song. A version was also recorded by the Army Air Force band under Glenn Miller. Sheet music was published in the U.S. by Mutual Music Society, Inc., New York, N.Y. In the UK, the sheet music was published by Chappell & Co., Ltd., London. The 1944 Woody Herman recording featured the additional lyrics written by Sunny Skylar and sung by Woody Herman and Frances Wayne.

The song was first recorded on July 15, 1942 by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra at Victor Studios, Chicago, Illinois, in a Wednesday session that lasted from 11:00 am to 3:15 pm in one take. The 1942 lyrics to the song as recorded by Glenn Miller were: "It must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that / It must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that / Oh Mama, you're so big and fat!"

The Glenn Miller civilian band played the same arrangement that was performed at least twice, available on a Victor 78 recording, Victor 20-1546-A, recorded July 15, 1942.[1] There is also a version taken from a radio remote broadcast from September 15, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts and later re-released by RCA Victor on LPT 6700.

"It Must Be Jelly ('Cause Jam Don't Shake Like That)" was the first song performed on the October 16, 1943 I Sustain the Wings radio program with the Army Air Force Band.[2]

The 78 single, Victor 20-1546, reached number twelve on the Billboard charts in January, 1944, where it stayed for eight weeks on the charts.[3] Moreover, the record was a crossover hit, reaching number two on the Billboard 'Harlem' Hit Parade Chart on February 19, 1944, the then equivalent of the later R&B chart,[4] and number sixteen on the Billboard Juke Box Chart.

An ad for the RCA Victor release appeared in the December 11, 1943 Billboard magazine.[5]


On trombones: Glenn Miller, Jimmy Priddy, Paul Tanner, Frank D’Annolfo. On trumpets: Billy May, Steve Lipkins, Dale McMickle, Johnny Best. On reeds: Lloyd “Skippy” Martin, as; Ernie Caceres, as, bar & clt; Wilbur Schwartz, clt & as; Tex Beneke, ts; Al Klink, ts. Rhythm: Chummy MacGregor, p; Bobby Hackett, g; Doc Goldberg, b; and, Maurice Purtill, d.[6]

The vocals were by The Modernaires, consisting of Ralph Brewster, Bill Conway, Hal Dickinson, Chuck Goldstein, and Paula Kelly.

Other Recordings[edit]

1944 U.S. sheet music cover, Mutual Music Society, N.Y.
1944 UK sheet music cover, Chappell & Co., Ltd., London.

Harry James, Johnny Long, Back Alley Hoodoo, and Frankie Ford also recorded versions. Woody Herman recorded a version that was also released as a V-Disc, No. 320B, in November, 1944. Ray McKinley performed the song with the New Glenn Miller Orchestra on the fourth episode of the 1961 TV series Glenn Miller Time.[7]

In Popular Culture[edit]

The song's title was referenced on the TV series The Jeffersons. It was quoted by Carmen played by Roseanna Christiansen in Episode 7 of Season 8 which originally aired in November, 1981.

American recording artist RuPaul used the line "Must be jelly, cause jam don't shake" in his 2012 single "Peanut Butter".


  1. ^ A Jazz Anthology.
  2. ^ I Sustain the Wings, October 16, 1943.
  3. ^ Song artist 6 - Glenn Miller..
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 400. 
  5. ^ Billboard, December 11, 1943, p. 67.
  6. ^ Flower, John (1972). Moonlight Serenade: A Bio-Discography of the Glenn Miller Civilian Band. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House.
  7. ^ Glenn Miller Time, IMDB.


  • Flower, John (1972). Moonlight Serenade: A Bio-Discography of the Glenn Miller Civilian Band. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House. ISBN 0-87000-161-2.
  • Miller, Glenn (1943). Glenn Miller's Method for Orchestral Arranging. New York: Mutual Music Society. ASIN: B0007DMEDQ
  • Simon, George Thomas (1980). Glenn Miller and His Orchestra. New York: Da Capo paperback. ISBN 0-306-80129-9.
  • Simon, George Thomas (1971). Simon Says. New York: Galahad. ISBN 0-88365-001-0.
  • Schuller, Gunther (1991). The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz, 1930–1945, Volume 2. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507140-9.

External links[edit]