Tom the Dog made this abecedarian list; actually, he’s made at least three recently, and I haven’t done one since Thanksgiving 2005, I don’t believe.
So, these are songs I like. I think they’re a bit goofy, not necessarily in a Weird Al or Dr. Demento sort of way (though one of the artists does appear on a Demento album I own). Some are actually good songs, though a couple are terrible.
ABBA- Waterloo. Yeah, I know, they rule, a top 10 group for Mr. Hembeck. But they’re still a guilty pleasure for me.
Bee Gees-Jive Talkin’. Released before Saturday Night Fever, but included on the soundtrack, I find myself walkin’ down the street like Tony Manero when I hear it, which really hurts.
Costello, Elvis-Chewing Gum. Elvis’ birthday was last month and I was listening to Spike, my favorite EC album (and apparently no one else’s). I said to one of my co-workers, “Get that chewing gum out of your ears!” She said, “Why DID you say that to me?” It was this song featuring the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Doors-Touch Me. I’m not a big Jim Morrison fan; I went out with a woman (briefly) who was. Yet, I’m always waiting around for the “stronger than dirt” line.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer-Nut Rocker. At the end of the excess that was ELP doing Pictures at an Exhibition, the coda on the album was a variation on the Nutcracker Suite; a version is shown here. The song was originally done in 1962 by B. Bumble and the Stingers .
Focus-Hocus Pocus. This is a dopey, yodel-driven song by some Dutch band that was an unlikely hit. I bought the album. Check out a live version here.
Gore, Lesley- Judy’s Turn to Cry. Lesley sang, “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.” This is the vengeful follow-up. HA, Judy!
Herman’s Hermits-Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter. When I joined the Capitol Records Club when I was 12, I needed to buy 12 albums. Since the Beatles had only a half dozen albums out at the time, one of my selections was The Best of Herman’s Hermits. I used to do a fairly good Peter Noone impression.
Ives, Burl-Funny Way of Laughin’. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been fond of those songs in which the protagonist pretends not to be crying, or doesn’t want to be seen crying (the Temptations’ I Wish it Would Rain comes to mind.)
Jackson Five-Maybe Tomorrow. An overwrought power ballad. I once requested this on a radio station and the DJ took it off before its peak overwroughtness.
Kinks-Skin and Bone. A swing tune about the dangers of dieting. From possibly my favorite Kinks album, Muswell Hillbillies.
Tom Lehrer-the Vatican Rag. This is the artist on a Demento album, the 1950s novelty song Poisoning Pigeons in the Park. But this song is from the great mid-1960s album That Was The Year That Was, which I own on CD. Bizarrely, someone posted on You Tube someone playing the LP on his record player, placing the tonearm on the first track for Part 1, continuing Side 1 and onto Side 2 on Part 2, more of Side 2 on Parts 3 and 4, and finishing up with the theologically incorrect Vatican Rag.
Marcels-Blue Moon. A big doowop hit in 1961.
Napoleon XIV: !Aaah-aH yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er’yehT. The backwards B-side version of the annoying They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!, is also an unlisted final track on the CD Second Coming.
Ohio Express-Yummy Yummy Yummy. Is there a lyric so vapid as “Yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy, I’ve got love in my tummy”? Maybe their hit Chewy, Chewy, which has been used on TV commercials. I often confuse this group with the 1910 Fruitgum Company, their bandmates on Buddha, who had hits such as Simon Says; 1, 2, 3, Red Light; and Special Delivery.
Presley, Elvis-Hey Jude. A truly awful, out-of-tune version on a mixed CD that someone gave me. Listening to a train wreck.
Queen-Somebody to Love. It’s that dramatic, harmonic beginning that I love.
Rascals-More. Talk about overwrought. From the Groovin’ album.
Sinatra-The Lady Is a Tramp. Sometimes, Sinatra is cool (That’s Life), and then there are times when Sinatra thinks he’s cool; this is the latter.
Thomas, Rufus-Do the Funky Chicken. After doing at least four Dog songs, he moved on from canines to poultry. People will jump fences to do the Funky Chicken.
Utopia-Everything Is Going Wrong. Todd Rundgren’s group did this great Beatles parody, Deface the Music; this is the last track, designed in the Strawberry Fields/I Am the Walrus mode.
Van Halen-Happy Trails. The last song on the only Van Halen album I’ve ever owned, this Dale Evans classic is performed goofily.
Who-Boris the Spider. I just like to say “Boris the spider” in the scariest voice I could muster.
XTC-Your Dictionary. This is not a goofy song, this is a nasty song I first heard on a mixed CD.
Young, Neil-Mr. Soul. Neil must have really liked this song. He first recorded it with Buffalo Springfield. Then a live version is the springboard for Springfield’s Broken Arrow. The version I have in mind is the vocoder version on the much-maligned Reactor, which I love.
Zappa, Frank-Cosmic Debris. There are lots of Zappa songs that might have qualified, but this one has the great lyric, “Is that a real poncho or is that a Sears poncho?”
Teen death songs will never die.