A Novel-ty Idea

27 Apr

So, let’s talk Novelty songs…..

My podnuh, Shrew, suggested this topic. I immediately lurved it. And, it just so happened that Barry “Boris” Pickett, creator of Monster Mash, passed away earlier this week. In honor of Barry and because I need a good laugh, here’s the questions to be addressed:

1. What are your favorites? Can be from any “time”….

2. What do you think is the attraction of Novelty songs and do they have a place in music today?

That’s it. Pretty simple, huh? I challenge you to be as snarky and humorous as you can, because I need a good laugh….isn’t that enough motivation?

To help you along, here are the Top 10 from Why is that many of these are from my “era”? No doubt, you will agree with some and disagree with others. You may have other favorites not listed here. Let’s hear it.

1. Pac-Man Fever

2. Disco Duck

3. King Tut

4. Convoy

5. The Chanukah Song

6. The Chipmunk Song

7. Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah

8. The Streak

9. Eat It

10. Valley Girl

These all bring back various fun memories, however some of my favorites aren’t included. So, here are my Top 3 4.

Battle of New Orleans – This is a song that my parents listened to in the late ’60’s when I was just a tot, but I can remember this song vividly. Of course, it was sort of an anthem and I’ve always loved it. It reminds me of the parties my parent used to have back in Southwest Louisiana when I was growing up and the unfettered fun they all had on those crazy Saturday nights.

Marie Leveau – I’ve heard this song for many, many years. Along the same lines as the Battle of New Orleans, this song was fun and close to our collective hearts; being Cajun.

Big John — I’m going to do a post at some point about “sympatico” in music. My husband and I are very far apart on the music scale and in age, but we have found that there are a few songs that we were both drawn to through our lives and they are important to us. Silly as it sounds, but Big John is one of those songs. Jimmy Dean should be recognized for more than breakfast sausage.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy – I love Bobby McFerrin and this song. So appopriately light and non-concerning.

Now, it’s your turn. Give me a couple of Novelty songs that you like and why…

NOTE:  Temporary Music Files deleted.


Posted by on April 27, 2007 in Uncategorized


36 responses to “A Novel-ty Idea

  1. Little Debbi

    April 27, 2007 at 7:30 am

    Morning. I heard about Mr. Pickett on the radio this morning and started thinking about novelty songs. Must be a Libra mind meld thing.

    Here are two of my favorites. I can’t say anything really “insightful” about why I like them – hell they’re classics. I like One Piece at a Time because I can imagine someone actually doing this. Boy Named Sue is a tribute to the old style of “making your boy tuff”. I don’t know if I agree with this totally, but a milder version might help some young people who are bullied stand up for themselves or it might turn someone into a bully. But that is the story of the song anyway.

    I have a lot more, but want to see what everyone comes up with.

    BTW, I love Marie Leveau and Big John.

    Thanks for a fun topic on a rainy day MM.

    Johnny Cash – One Piece at a Time

    Johnny Cash – Boy Named Sue

  2. music maven

    April 27, 2007 at 8:46 am

    Love those Johnny Cash songs, as well.

    I’d have to throw in I’ve Been Everywhere

    Good stuff, Little Debbi.

    p.s. I LURVE this movie. Hugh Laurie is magnifico!

  3. shrewspeaks

    April 27, 2007 at 10:34 am

    Where to begin…where TO begin…

    It was 1979, music was in the throws of massive change. The punk movemnt was taking a firmer grasp. People were declaring disco was dead. Rupert Holmes had a no. 1 hit. London Calling was released by THE Clash and Blondie was defining New Wave. Everything seemed so serious, (okay maybe not Rupert), and everything seemed so confused (again, not Rupert).

    I was ten and was on doing a segment about The good Doctor Demonto. Dr. Demento, is a DJ in California who plays nothing but novelty records. The segment tickled my ten year old funny bone. This little man in his Top Hat and Tails and rubber chicken sticking out of his pocket seemed so happy! In a world of hostages and energy crisis, Dr. Demento’s giggles and gafaws were (and to a large part still are) the object of my hearts desire. I wanted to be that happy always. And these songs bring me back to that child-like love of laughter for the pure silly sake of laughter.

    The first offering…
    The Firms-Star Trekkin’ a perfectly honed spoof sendup of the ultimate nerd-o-rama show. What is so perfect? This song captures the flavor of the show that makes it so beloved of Trekkies…without making fun of the fans. In fact, last year this was the OFFICIAL song of that years Star Trek convention.

    Ahhhh, the original king of novelty Spike Jones and The City Slickers What phenominal muscians and what great comedians! Really, do a search…find out more they are worth digging into.

    Did someone ask for puns? Well, Kip Adotta has them in this classic Still cracks me up.

    More to come…

  4. texastaylorfan

    April 27, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Let’s see, does the song “Taylor, You Make My Wife Thud” or whatever that was called count?

  5. shrewspeaks

    April 27, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Part 2

    Now, as a gal I don’t have the requist genes to appreciate the Three Stooges, yet seeing this performed live by my college’s Jazz ensamble made me love this little song. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Curly Shuffle.

    Delving deeper into the novelty vaults you find Pico and Sepulveda by Felix Figueroa & His Orchestra. It is hypnotic and happy all at the same time inticing you in with a latin beat. This as recorded in 1974 and would become the theme of Dr. Demento’s show. Personal side note – The first time I was in Los Angeles I went on a search just to find this intersection.

    Novelty song can be used to make a social comment on the times. The 70’s saw the rise of the golden arches across the nation and the subsequent march of pre-organic foodies. Larry Groce’s good humored Junk Food Junkie captures the emortal struggle between what is good for you lacks in pleasure and what is bad for you tastes and feels so good! (why a tiger is singing this in the video I don’t know)

    And the king of the novelty…
    Weird Al This was the first video I saw of his on MTV. Weird Al was a faithful listener of Dr. Demento and his first parody “My Bologna” debuted on Demento’s show in 79. Since then Weird Al’s unique brand of satire and parody has garnered him international fame selling more that 12 million records and three Grammy Awards.

    There are many many more…We should revisit at Christmas!
    Until then, Thank you, Dr. Demento for all the terrific laughter!

    PS- Gee, and I wonder why I am single?

  6. Little Debbi

    April 27, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Anyone else remember this Chuck Berry tune? Very “risque” back in those days.

  7. Little Debbi

    April 27, 2007 at 11:44 am

    One more that I almost forgot. This has “special” meaning for me. When I was 11 and trying to have a “music career” in NY, I actually sang back-up on a Tiny Tim 45. One side was “My Nose Always Gets In the Way” and the other was “Go to Sleep with Dogs and You Wake Up with Fleas”. My big memory of this event was that Mr. Tim had the worst body odor I ever encountered.

    For your listening “cough cough” pleasure:

  8. shrewspeaks

    April 27, 2007 at 11:56 am

    I am so bummed…I typed in my part 2 and is zapped into cyber thin air…

    Okay gather yourself and write again.

  9. jenfera

    April 27, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    When it comes to novelty songs, I gotta give the mad props to Weird Al. Sure, we all know Do I Creep You Out, White & Nerdy, and Amish Paradise, but let’s not forget some of those great 80’s hits like Eat It, Like A Surgeon and My Bologna. Besides the parodies, Al also write original comedy tunes like one of my faves,the Devo-inspired Dare To Be Stupid

    Oh, and I love the Hanukkah song, but the Thanksgiving Song also cracks me up:
    Turkey for the girls
    And turkey for the boys
    My favorite kind of pants are cordoroys!

  10. brc

    April 27, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Shrew, I’m feeling your pain. I’ve actually taken to writing longer posts in Word, then copying and pasting. Have had posts disappear to many times.

  11. music maven

    April 27, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    Guys — it sometimes comes in as spam with multiple links or if AN ENTIRE PARAGRAPH IS LINKED. I check it every few hours but it’s usually there. I just “released” Shrew’s Part Deux…..see above.

  12. shrewspeaks

    April 27, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Okay and I am back…

    I am missing the proper genetics to actually get the full enjoyment of this song, but when I saw this performed by my College’s Jazz Ensamble…I just loved it! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Curley Shuffle.

    Delving deep into the novelty vault you findPico and Sepulveda by Felix Figueroa and orchestra. This little gem was recorded in 1974 harkening back to the sounds of Spike Jones. Dr. Demento being from California adopted this as his theme song for his radio show.

    Novelty song in it’s purist form stems from satire or parody. Larry Groce captured the emerging war between knowing you should eat macrobiotic but we crave Big Macs reflecting the Nationalization of fast foods in 1976’s Junk Food Junkie (Why a tiger is singing the song in this video? I don’t know.)

    And the king of the novelty…
    Weird Al

    This was the first video I saw of Weird Al’s. As a you may or may not know, in 1976 when Weird Al was a senior in high school sent Dr. Demento a demo tape. Demento immediatly played the tape on the air. And the rest as they say is “magic”…that plus three Grammy Awards and 12 million albums sold.

    Geesh, I had NO IDEA I knew this much about Novelty Music. Scary! But you know, I have had many many laughs. Thanks to the man in the Top Hat.

    PS- And I wonder why I am still single?

  13. shrewspeaks

    April 27, 2007 at 12:29 pm


  14. brc

    April 27, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    I think at least one demerit is in order for the linked paragraph!

  15. brc

    April 27, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    How do you guys remember all these songs? Curly Shuffle — LOL — I would never have thought of this if Shrew hadn’t mention it. What a classic. I also love King Tut and Don’t Worry Be Happy.

    Had never heard of Dr. Demento before. Maybe because I’m in the Midwest.

    MM, thanks for a fun Friday topic.

  16. shrewspeaks

    April 27, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    And I love this one…The Scotsman

  17. shrewspeaks

    April 27, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    brc…I am eastie so I guess it was Real People TV Show and Rhino Records that connected me with the wonderful land of Dementia.

    Little Debi…that is crazy! Do you have an anti-novelty slant now because of TT’s BO?

  18. Little Debbi

    April 27, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Shrew. No, I actually still like the novelty songs, but mainly the ones from my “era”. They’re just fun to sing along to. I mostly forget about the TT thing until something brings it back up. The sad thing is that I don’t even know if the 45 was ever released, so I don’t have a copy for old time’s sake. I wonder if I would have a “smell” memory if I ever heard the songs???????????

    My all time favorite novelty song is Jimmy Buffet “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw”.

    Any Parrotheads out there?

  19. leejolem

    April 27, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    I’m not sure if this is a novelty song, but I remember watching the video, singing along and laughing back in the 1st days of MTV–Mickey!!! “Hey Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey….” I also love the B-52’s–Rock Lobster, Love Shack, Quiche Lorraine, Planet Claire, etc….

    Bob and Tom (were local dj’s now syndicated) have some great ones with the Electric Amish (I think that’s their name). They’re kind of in the Weird Al vein.

    And who can forget William Hung– She Bang. You can’t beat that!!

  20. leejolem

    April 27, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Oh, I forgot–Red Hooded Sweatshirt by Adam Sandler. It’s almost as good as The Channukah Song.

  21. brc

    April 27, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    My formative years were in the 70’s. I think I may be older than some of you, but one of the classic novelty songs (and fads) of my generation was The Streak…

  22. brc

    April 27, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    Sorry.. cutting and pasting didn’t work above. Here is the correct link to The Streak:

  23. nolagirl

    April 27, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    Does “Chickaboom” count? Daddy Dewdrop. My sister-in-law sang that to my niece when she was a tiny baby allllllll the time (seriously, it was ridiculous) because I think her parents had sung that to her when she was a kid.

    What about “Baby Got Back”? Or “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”?

  24. music maven

    April 27, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    Ahem…brc…did you read my post? #8 THE STREAK…You are not older than some 😉

    Have you read the 1982 post on this blog? Back a few pages….

    NOLAGirl — I remember when Chickaboom came out and riding the bus home from school with it on the radio — like 1st or 2nd grade…..“Chickaboom, Chickaboom, don’t you jus’ love it….Chickaboom, Chickaboom-boom-boom.”

    Little Debbi — mos’ definitely some Parrotheads out here.

    Personally, I lean (right) to FINS

    TODAY’S TRIVIA: Jimmy Buffett is from MOBILE,ALABAMA and went to the same grade school and high school as Mini-DD. (He was a Cheerleader…heh.)

  25. nolagirl

    April 27, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    NOLA’s personal trivia: Our family friend that lives in Mobile was at one time Jimmy Buffett’s mom’s neurologist. 🙂

  26. brc

    April 27, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    Thanks for not giving me a demerit for not seeing The Streak in your original post! And I was so excited that I actually thought of something.

    Now I’m going to the archives (I assume to find out how old you are).

  27. brc

    April 27, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    Well you made me work for that one. You could at least have told me to look in the March archives. On the positive side, scrolling through ALL of the April posts brought to my attention how many treasures you have here that I have not yet explored.

    -brc (Class of 1979) 🙂

  28. jazzy43

    April 28, 2007 at 9:23 am

    Can I play?!?

    I remember playing this over and over again when I was a kid. Thought it was so cool! Winchester Cathedral:

    And this one was played on the radio ALL the time in 1971 I believe:
    There coming to take you away, ha haaa

    And I can’t remember the name of it, but it was from the 70’s and it was something about ‘Election Coverage’ or ‘Convention’. On the b-side it had ‘The Mistake’. Anyone remember what this was?

    Love this topic!

  29. Little Deb

    April 29, 2007 at 5:40 am

    jazzy. You brought back memories. I started taking “singing” lessons when I was 4 years old. The first song I ever sung for the voice coach was “Winchester Cathedral” while holding my nose. The coach told my mom not to waste her money or his time with my “talent”. Then I sang “Hey Good Lookin” minus the nose holding and went on to take the lessons.

  30. jazzy43

    April 29, 2007 at 9:25 am

    Little Deb,
    That is freakin’ hilarious!!!

  31. Little Deb

    April 29, 2007 at 9:47 am

    jazzy. I’ve been trying to think about your “convention” song. You don’t mean Ray Stevens’ “Shriners Convention” do you?

    It sounds like you are in the same age group as me. Remember Jim Stafford’s “Spiders and Snakes”?

  32. jazzy43

    April 29, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Yes I remember spiders and snakes. I had a 45 of that song! How about Hot Rod Lincoln? Do you remember that one? I forget who that was by. Damn, I had some good 45’s…

    No, It wasn’t Shriners Convention. No I believe it was more political. I will try to google it to see if anything pops up.

  33. jazzy43

    April 29, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Doh! I just thought of it! I don’t know why I thought it was more political…It was ‘Energy Crisis ’74’ and the b-side was ‘The Mistake’. By Dickie Goodman. He did do Election 84′ as well but that was never as good as Energy Crisis.

  34. Tayfancier

    April 29, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    Disco Duck single handedly made me a country music fan in I think 1975. I could not take it anymore.

    Loved Battle of New Orleans. I was in 2nd grade and two boys from the class lipsynced the song.

    Also loved the Flying Purple People Eaters song.

  35. jazzy43

    April 29, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Tayfancier, I’m with you on Purple People Eaters. I used to play that all the time as well as Chantilly lace.

  36. jazzy43

    April 29, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    ok, I have to end with just one more…



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