Eight Silly Songs From the 1950s and 1960s

Updated on July 31, 2019
DzyMsLizzy profile image

Liz has been an online writer for over nine years. Her articles often focus on music and culture of the 20th century.

What Year Was It When You Were a Teenager?

For many of us "baby boomers" born in the mid to late 1940s, it was the 1950s and 60s when we hit the confused  and troubled  years of our pre-teens and teens.
For many of us "baby boomers" born in the mid to late 1940s, it was the 1950s and 60s when we hit the confused and troubled years of our pre-teens and teens. | Source

Those Teenage Years of Angst and Rebellion

Many of us, were either teens or pre-teens in the 50s and 60s, and some of the crazy songs we listened to had our parents shaking their heads in wonderment or disbelief.

"What's become of the youth?" they cried. "How can they listen to such nonsense?"

Whatever your age or musical era, parents worldwide have been saying exactly the same kinds of things ever since Socrates!

Here are 8 of my favorite goofy songs, in no particular order; which is to say, their order here has nothing to do with where they landed on the pop charts of the day.

Ready? Here we go! Please step into the time machine capsule...

  1. Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?

  2. Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

  3. Alley-Oop

  4. Beep Beep!

  5. Purple People Eater

  6. The Witch Doctor

  7. Jeremiah Peabody's Polyunsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills

  8. Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah

1. Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?

Released: 1958

Originally sung by: Lonnie Donegan,

Written by: Marty Bloom, Ernest Breuer, and Billy Rose


This has to be one of the goofiest. I never related as I wasn't a big gum chewer, nor did my bed have posts.

However, I vote this one up for a crazy, goofy song, and fun memories of singing the chorus at the top of our lungs with a group of friends.

Does your chewing gum lose its flavor

on the bedpost overnight?

If your mother says don't chew it,

Do you swallow it in spite?

— Marty Bloom, Ernest Breuer, Billy Rose "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor..."

2. Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini

Released: 1960

Sung by: Brian Hyland

Music and lyrics by: Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss

The Hyland version reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, selling over a million copies, and was also a hit around the world.

This song is funny in its own right; but upon re-listening to it as an adult, I realize it ends without resolving her problem.

Funny how you don't notice those subtleties as a kid.

… It was an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka-dot bikini

That she wore for the first time today.

An itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka-dot bikini

So in the locker she wanted to stay.

— Paul Vance, Lee Pockriss

3. Alley-Oop

Released: 1960

Written by: Dallas Frazier

Originally sung by: Gary Paxton

The song was originally penned in 1957, three years before its initial relase.

The title doesn't give much away, and in searching for an accompanying video, I came across more modern meanings to the term. It seems to have become associated with professional basketball.
Hmm, interesting. When I was a very young child, "alley-oop" meant either driving over a hump in a country road, or your dad picking you up suddenly, and giving you a slight toss before catching you immediately. What thrills!

It was also covered by the Beach Boys, and later also recorded by the composer, Dallas Frazier, in 1966.

But dinosaurs? Or dina-sawas, if you prefer the pronunciation in the song. Enjoy this for what it is: pure goofiness.

There's a man in the funny papers we all know (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)

He lived 'way back a long time ago (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)

He don't eat nothin' but a bear cat stew (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)

Well this cat's name is-a Alley Oop (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)

— Dallas Frazier

4. Beep! Beep!

Released: November 1958

Written by: Donald Claps and Carl Chicchetti

Originally sung by: The Playmates: Donald Claps (a.k.a. Donny Conn) drummer and lyricist, Carl Cicchetti (a.k.a. Chic Hetti), pianist and composer, and Morey Cohen (a.k.a. Morey Carr)

Ha! this one still makes me laugh today! Can you imagine the humiliation of that Cadillac driver?

I've never had a car that could 'out-race' any other, but, with careful attention to my driving and surroundings, I've often beat much 'hotter' cars off the line at the stop light; and without even trying. They tend not to like it, and roar past at the first chance they get.

This silly ditty hit number 4 on the Billboard top forty chart for twelve weeks.

While riding in my Cadillac, what, to my surprise,

A little Nash Rambler was following me, about one-third my size.

The guy must have wanted it to pass me up

As he kept on tooting his horn. Beep! Beep!

I'll show him that a Cadillac is not a car to scorn.

— Carl Cicchetti, Donald Claps

5. Purple People Eater

Released: May 1958

Written and sung by: Sheb Wooley

It was the beginning of the space race, and entertainment featured a lot of movies and songs dealing with aliens and outer space themes.

This song fit into that groove very well, and into the genre of funny songs. Surprisingly, it made it into the top of the pop charts, staying at number 1 from June 9 to July 14 in its release year.

Another space-themed song from the era, which really wasn't a song, but a pleasantly melodic instrumental bit called Telstar, after a new satellite of the same name, was also popular at this time. I used to enjoy making up ice skating moves to that tune. (Nothing fancy; I wasn't that great of a skater, but I had fun.)

It was a one-eyed, one-horned, flyin' purple people eater

(One-eyed, one-horned, flyin' purple people eater)

A one-eyed, one-horned, flyin' purple people eater

Sure looked strange to me

6. The Witch Doctor

Released: 1958

Written and performed by: Ross Bagdasarian, under the stage name of David Seville.

Talk about a song with lyrics that make virtually no sense at all! The "story line," such as it is, isn't much better.

The Witch Doctor is repetitive to the point of enjoyment by a 2-year-old wanting to have the same bedtime story read several times each night!

Nonetheless, it was another favorite for groups to sing (maybe holler would be a better description) at gatherings or pajama parties to drive the adults bonkers.

The version included here is by the original artist in "collaboration" with Alvin and the Chipmunks.

He told me

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla, bang bang

Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla bang bang

Ooo eee ,ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla ,bang bang

Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla bang bang

— Ross Bagdasarian a.k.a. David Seville

7. Jeremiah Peabody's Poly Unsaturated, Quick...

Released: 1961

Written and performed by: Ray Stevens

This song didn't make #1 on any of the charts, but it was Ray Steven's first to get into the top 100, peaking at #35 in 1961.

The premise is that of a spoof on the multitude of 'wonder drugs' then being introduced into television advertising of the era. Many of those were of dubious value, and smacked of the same kind of empty promises made by the quack medicine salesmen of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

I'm sure the animated selection below is newer than the original, but it's interesting to watch if you're fascinated by how they can match animations with the musical beat and melody.

Get ridda that runny nose (sniiiff), that naggin' cough (cough), that sneeze (achoo),

That wheeze (gasp) and other injuries.

Take the wonder drug that cures all your ills,

— Ray Stevens

8. Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah

Released: August 1963

Written by: Allan Sherman, Lou Busch, Amilcare Ponchielli

Sung by: Allan Sherman

Allan Sherman was a comedic genius with music. He took many folk songs and had his way with the lyrics. The results are hysterical.

The tune is that of Amilcare Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours, from the opera, La Gioconda. It was introduced in 1876, so this is a case of a piece of classical music spanning time.

The lyrics, by Sherman himself along with Lou Busch, are based on actual complaint letters Sherman received from his own son when the boy was at camp.

Hello Muddah, hello Faddah

Here I am at Camp Grenada

Camp is very entertaining

And they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining

— Allan Sherman

End of the Line

Our journey is over. Please exit the capsule to the right, and take all your belongings with you. We wouldn't want to cause a paradox for the next time travelers.

We hope you enjoyed the trip, and will travel with us again.

Feel free to comment on your favorites, or add others not included on this trip, or memories you had in this flashback.

Thank you.

© 2017 Liz Elias

Comments

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  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    9 months ago from Oakley, CA

    Thanks for answering that for Wayne!

  • profile image

    Sk8ball 

    9 months ago

    That's "Hold the Phone" by Janette Davis (1952)

    https://youtu.be/OL2_foSCJHA

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    10 months ago from Oakley, CA

    Sorry, WayneC1955, that's not a song I am familiar with, or even ever heard.

    Did you try searching Google or YouTube? Both are pretty good resources for all kinds of songs.

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article on these other songs.

  • profile image

    WayneC1955 

    10 months ago

    Im trying to find out who sang the song, “Helen Hold The Phone”. I’m fairly sure that’s the title but it was a long time ago, so I’m not positive. It was about a woman talking to a friend on the phone while evidently trying to keep a man away from her. The friend’s voice was recorded really fast but if you slowed the record speed down, she could be understood. The only line I can remember (except for “Oh Helen hold the phone” is, “I’ll just have to call you later, once I tame this alligator, heavens Helen hold the phone.”.

    Any help would be appreciated as this is driving me batty. It’s probably a 50’s or 60’s song.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    16 months ago from Oakley, CA

    Thanks Glenn!

    I had a lot of fun dredging up these oldies. Some of the bands were rather one-hit-wonders; I'm not sure if "Jeremiah Peabody's..." fell into that or not. I don't think that one every got very high on the charts.

    Interesting that you followed the 'not-so-famous' bands. They deserve recognition, too. Although, when I had a college art class, the instructor had a similar view, and for 'inspiration' used to play some really weird sh**...most of the class could be seen using their personal tape players ("Walkman," back in those days!)

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 

    16 months ago from Long Island, NY

    This was a fun article to read, and to watch the videos. It brought back a lot of fond memories. The only one I didn’t recall was “Jeremiah Peabody's Polyunsaturated”.

    When I was a teanager I always paid attention to the creative bands and singers who didn’t make it to the top of the charts, such as Myrth, a rock-jazz band of the '60s. I always appreciated creativity.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    22 months ago from Oakley, CA

    Yep--it was a caveman cartoon in the papers. I do remember seeing it now and then, though it did not appear in the particular paper my folks bought.

    ;-)

  • profile image

    Lynne Miller 

    22 months ago

    "Alley Oop" was a cartoon in the newspapers long ago. He was a caveman. THAT'S what the song is about!!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    2 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Yeppers! That it does; I remember that, and found it very funny as a kid. Thought we were speaking some kind of obscure secret language. Ah, youth! ;-)

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 

    2 years ago

    In English it means: Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy. A kid'll eat ivy to, wouldn't you?

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 

    2 years ago from Central Florida

    Yep and it translates to:

    Mares eat oats. Does eat oats. And little lambs eat ivy. A kid will eat ivy, too. Wouldn't you?

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    2 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi Shauna!

    Glad you enjoyed this trip back in time.

    Ah, yes--it wasn't around or popular when I was growing up, by my mom used to sing Maresey Dotes all the time.

    How did it go, now? Maresy dotes and doesey dotes and little lambs etivy...a kiddle etivy too, wouldnchoo?

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 

    2 years ago from Central Florida

    What a fun ride, Liz! I've always loved "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah". Even though the camper is miserable, the song always takes me to a happy place.

    Another of my silly favorites is "Marsey Dotes". Remember that one?

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    2 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Ohmigosh--I almost spit my drink laughing at that unexpected ending! I never tried that--there was no place on the bed to stick it--no headboard, and no posts...it would have been on the wall!!! Hahahaha Glad you enjoyed this sojourn.

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    2 years ago

    I had a good ride down memory lane today. I remember singing the Chewing Gum song. Although my parents didn't appreciate the follow through on our beds!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    2 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hahaha...right? They say the memory is the first to go...I guess I'm halfway 'there,' wherever that is! :D

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    2 years ago from England

    LOL! brilliant! polka dot bikini! whoo that brings back memories! I can remember it from when I was tiny! I think? now I am doubting myself! lol! love purple eater too! great stuff!

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 

    2 years ago

    You're welcome. The 50s and 60s seeemd the time for dumb dittys. Granted every era has them but somehow they seemed to be more of them during that time.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    2 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Robert--

    I did consider it briefly, but the only video I could find was one that was doctored up for Halloween...there are a few others I could have included as well, but decided to keep the list from becoming too unwieldy. Thanks for your bit of trivia--I've not seen that movie; and thanks for the suggestion.

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 

    2 years ago

    A good list. In the movie, "One, Two, Three" the song, "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny..." was used to torture a prisoner. Did you consider "They're Coming to Take Me Away"?

  • Blond Logic profile image

    Mary Wickison 

    2 years ago from Brazil

    I had forgotten about some of these. I think this generation will also have their own list of silly songs.

    Thanks for that trip down memory lane.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    2 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Sorry about the earworm, Bill! Some of them were like that, eh? Just be grateful I did not make it a 'top 10' list...you have 2 fewer to get stuck in your head. ;-)

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    2 years ago from Olympia, WA

    There truly were some very strange songs during my teen years...I would thank you for this list, but now you have me humming one of them, so thanks a lot, Lizzy! LOL

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