THe Door To Yeterday Vol 4 Number 15. Alan Warner. 2019

 

 

 

Wild and Wacky. the World Of vintage Novelty Records. the Door to Yesterday. alan warner. 2019.

 

 

 

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 Welcome to the world of novelty records which, in my book, contain fun songs incorporating amusing lyrics, 

nonsense phrases, bizarre sound effects, cartoon voices, madcap satirical references and humorous examples 

of puns, spoofs and wordplay. 


Parody songs created and recorded by folks such as Homer & Jethro and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic also fit the genre 

as do the countless weird and wonderful records that DJ Dr. Demento unearthed, broadcast and documented

 in his series of compilation records. 


Novelty songs have been around forever. In the 1920’s, there were humorous ditties such as 

WHO TAKES CARE OF THE CARETAKER’S DAUGHTER WHILE THE CARETAKER’S BUSY TAKING CARE?

SHE HAD TO GO AND LOSE IT AT THE ASTOR and BARNEY GOOGLE With His Goo-Goo-Googa-ly Eyes. 


The 1930’s witnessed such titles as THE FLAT FOOT FLOOGIE and 

THERE’S NO ONE WITH ENDURANCE LIKE THE MAN WHO SELLS INSURANCE 

and in the 1940’s you could hear WHO PUT THE BENZEDRINE IN MRS. MURPHY’S OVALTINE

 and MAIRZY DOATS AND DOZY DOATS. 


In the 50’s and 60’s, memorable doo-wop and R&B songs bore such novelty titles such as 

SH-BOOM, MOPE-ITTY MOPE, BUZZ-BUZZ-BUZZ, SHIMMY SHIMMY KO-KO-BOP

OOH POO PAH DOO and PAPA-OOM-MOW-MOW.


Countless novelty records exist and here are just a few of my personal favorites… 


THE AUCTIONEER 

(Leroy Van Dyke/Buddy Black)

by Leroy Van Dyke

Guitar by Andy Nelson

 (Dot: 1956) 

https://youtu.be/mDn6hOCd_K8

  Country singer Leroy Van Dyke initially found fame with his imitation of rapid-fire auction calls.


BANANA BOAT (DAY-O)

 (Irving Burgie) 

by Stan Freberg w/Billy May’s Music

Interruptions by Peter Leeds

 (Capitol:1957)

https://youtu.be/xx5YMqHFPKQ 

 Comic genius Stan Freberg satirized a host of songs including this Jamaica tune 

which had charted successfully for Harry Belafonte.  


THE CHANUKAH SONG 

(Adam Sandler/Ian Maxtone-Graham/Lewis Morton) 

by Adam Sandler

Pro: Adam Sandler & Brooks Arthur

 (Warner Bros: 1995)

 https://youtu.be/AvcvvNk2Fic

Introduced by Adam Sandler on an edition of NBCtv’s “Saturday Night Live” in ’94. 

Co-authors were SNL writers.


CINDERELLA 

(Jack Ross/Elmer Nemeth)

by Jack Ross

Pro: Norman Malkin 

(Dot: 1962)

 https://youtu.be/ikfnMoLrBt4 

 A standout example of the kind of wordplay known as spoonerism. 

 

 

 

Spiike Jones. The Door To Yesterday. 2019. alan warner. Coctails For Two.

 COCKTAILS FOR TWO (Sam Coslow/Arthur Johnston)

by Spike Jones & His City Slickers

Vocal: Carl Grayson

 (Victor: 1945) 

https://youtu.be/bYrv-kBUh3Y 

  Madcap bandleader Spike Jones lampooned existing songs 

and utilized the sounds of pistols, toy whistles and cowbells!


COPS AND ROBBERS

 (Kent Harris)

by Boogaloo & His Gallant Crew 

(Crest: 1956) 

https://youtu.be/Pgeih8-QSOA

  R&B singer/songwriter/producer Kent Harris used his Boogaloo alias on this streetwise narrative. 

  

THE CURLY SHUFFLE 

(Peter Quinn)

by Jump ‘N The Saddle

Pro: T.C. Furlong, Barney Schwartz & Mike Rasfeld 

(Atlantic: 1983)

 A tribute to the Three Stooges.

 https://youtu.be/UomSvk6ShSA


DOES YOUR CHEWING GUM LOSE ITS FLAVOR 

(On The Bedpost Overnight) 

(Billy Rose/Marty Bloom/Ernest Breuer) 

by Lonnie Donegan & His Skiffle Group

 (Dot: 1959)

  https://youtu.be/Lbg0ZBXnuZE 


A major UK hit in ’59, it eventually reached #5 

on Billboard’s Hot 100 in ’61.

 Adapted from the 1920’s song 

DOES THE SPEARMINT LOSE ITS FLAVOR 

ON THE BEDPOST OVERNIGHT.

DON’T GO NEAR THE ESKIMOS

 (Lorene Mann/Sheb Wooley)

by Ben Colder

Pro: Jim Vienneau

 (MGM: 1962)  

https://youtu.be/__AfIDHdHDk

  

Actor/singer Sheb Wooley topped the charts in ’58 with his novelty song

 THE PURPLE PEOPLE EATER and then, using the alias Ben Colder, 

he cut a series of comical country records including this parody of Rex Allen’s huge hit DON’T GO NEAR THE INDIANS.


THE FLYING SAUCER Pts.1 & 2

 (Bill Buchanan/Dickie Goodman)

by Buchanan & Goodman

 (Luniverse: 1956)

 https://youtu.be/MgEZR0LC_jg  

The granddaddy of all break-in records. 


HELLO MUDDAH, HELLO FADDAH! (A Letter From Camp) 

(Allan Sherman/Lou Busch) 

by Allan Sherman

Pro: Jimmy Hilliard

Arr & Cond: Lou Busch 

(Warner Bros: 1963)

 https://youtu.be/JN4nP5pxnTg

Tune was adapted from the Italian classical ballet 

DANCE OF THE HOURS by Ponchielli.


I Taught I Taw a Puddy Tat. Novelty Songs. Alan Warner. The Door To Yesterday

 I TAUT I TAW A PUDDY TAT 

(Alan W. Livingston/Warren Foster/Billy May)

by Mel Blanc

Music by Billy May

 (Capitol: 1950)

 https://youtu.be/PdRVGvf7wko 

Actor and voice impressionist Mel Blanc sang this song 

built around the Sylvester & Tweety characters from the

 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon films. 


THE INTRO AND THE OUTRO 

(Vivian Stanshall)

by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

Pro: Gerry Bron 

(UK Liberty: 1967)

 https://youtu.be/cMqdwtd8TrQ 

 Bonzo leader Vivian Stanshall namechecks an imaginary 

list of celebrities playing musical instruments.


THE LAUGHING GNOME 

(David Bowie) 

by David Bowie

Pro: Mike Vernon 

(UK Deram: 1967)

    https://youtu.be/eGcORTMsxSM  

David Bowie sounding like Anthony Newley 

with one of the chipmunks! 


LILY THE PINK 

(Trad. Arr: John Gorman/Mike McGear/Roger McGough) 

by The Scaffold/

Pro: Norrie Paramor

Arr & Cond: Mike Vickers (Capitol: 1968) 

https://youtu.be/bHBq93Ss5wI 

The Scaffold was a British trio led by Paul McCartney’s brother, 

Mike McGear. Backup vocalists on this track included Tim Rice.


Shirley Ellis the Same Game. The Door to Yesterday. alan warner. 2019

 THE NAME GAME 

(Shirley Elliston/Lincoln Chase)  

by Shirley Ellis

Pro & Arr: Charles Calello 

(Congress: 1964)

 https://youtu.be/zAyw2ZbacJ4

  Song was briefly performed by Howard Stern 

on the ‘Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ in May 2019.


PAPA-OOM-MOW-MOW 

(Al Frazier/Carl White/Turner Wilson Jr./John Harris) 

by The Rivingtons

Pro: Adam Ross 

(Liberty: 1962) 

https://youtu.be/AnW2WNHiTPw 

  Song was sampled (along with another 

Rivingtons hit THE BIRD’S THE WORD) 

by The Trashmen in their 1963 smash

 SURFIN’ BIRD.


RUBBER BISCUIT

 (Charles Johnson) 

by The Chips

 (Josie: 1956) https://youtu.be/Hz0UvIZw-Y0

Doo-wop song successfully revived in ’79 by The Blues Brothers.


SMOKE! SMOKE! SMOKE! (That Cigarette) 

(Merle Travis/Tex Williams) 

by Tex Williams & His Western Caravan (

Capitol Americana: 1947) 

https://youtu.be/1WZLUm-gekA

Giant crossover hit by country singer/songwriter Tex Williams. 


TEMPTATION 

(Tim-Tayshun) 

(Nacio Herb Brown/Arthur Freed)

by Red Ingle & The Natural Seven

Vocal: Cinderella G. Stump & Red Ingle

 (Capitol: 1947) 

https://youtu.be/LzVV2NJ1wx4

Cinderella G. Stump was really Jo Stafford.


THE THING 

(Charles R. Grean) 

by Phil Harris w

Orch cond: Walter Scharf 

(RCA Victor: 1950) 

https://youtu.be/-1tKZ3flZZY

Chart-topping novelty by radio/tv/film actor and musician Phil Harris.


 

 

The Goons. The Door To Yesterday 2019.

 THE YING TONG SONG

 (Spike Milligan)

by The Goons w/Maurice Ponké & His Orchestre Fromage

 (UK Decca: 1956) 

 https://youtu.be/33-fVsL5Kdc 

Featuring the key ‘Goon Show’ characters from the BBC radio series namely Bluebottle 

(voiced by Peter Sellers), Eccles (Spike Milligan) and Neddie Seagoon (Harry Secombe).  


Novelty records also come in the form of seasonal songs such as the various Monster and Voodoo favorites 

ranging from MONSTER MASH to WEREWOLVES OF LONDON that are revived each Halloween.


 Then there are the Christmas-time novelties such as GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A REINDEER

 by Elmo & Patsy, ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS (IS MY TWO FRONT TEETH) by Spike Jones & His City Slickers 

and of course THE CHIPMUNK SONG (Christmas Don’t Be Late) by David Seville & The Chipmunks.

 

Which leads to my final choice:

GREEN CHRI$TMA$ 

(Stan Freberg)

by Stan Freberg as Scrooge 

Featuring Daws Butler as Cratchet with Marvin Miller & Wil Wrightwith

 The Jud Conlon Chorale & Billy May’s Music 

(Capitol: 1958)

 Stan’s superb commentary on the commercialization of Christmas. 


Rock on.


Alan Warner


As in all my postings, the recordings listed above are selected personal choices 

and are in no way intendedas a definitive collection of the genre.


Please send any comments or suggestions to 

thedoortoyesterday@gmail.com


© Alan Warner, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material

 without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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