Shoo bop sha wadda wadda yippity boop de boop
May 28, 2006 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Mixtape suggestions of ridiculous 1950s pop music.

I'm looking for songs that take the 1950s style to the hilt. Better if they get ridiculous along the way. And take backup singers with them.

There's no emotional or lyrical theme, just that -- I was making a mix for someone who liked postmodern electronica and kept perversely slipping ultra-pop into the playlist to contrast with whatever discord or cacaphony I'd just heard (Prefuse 73 or whatever). I realized I needed antidotes. :p

So, these may not seem funny to you if you're still sick of the oldies station, but the idea is that they're funny in the context of "sophisticated" music or from an ironically detached perspective. (I don't mean to sound like a jerk here -- just trying to be explicit.) Even on their own, they crack me up.

Here are the songs so far. Sorry for my total lack of musical vocabulary:

* Blue Moon (Marcels). Total classic '50s sound.
* Runaround Sue (Dion & Belmonts). Ditto. That classic chord progression (1-4-5?). Plus funny bits ("she gooooooes.... out with other guys!")
* Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay (Sha-Na-Na). So manic. This song goes up a step, twice.
* Be True To Your School (Beach Boys). There are cheerleaders in the background!

You get the picture. Thoughts? Songs from the 50s that crack you up?
posted by salvia to Media & Arts (30 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
As I always say, have you tried sites dedicated to music mixes?

Art of the Mix
Tiny Mix Tapes
posted by IndigoRain at 8:53 PM on May 28, 2006

Chantiily Lace
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 8:59 PM on May 28, 2006

My personal favorite when I was about 8, drawn from my mom's old collection of 45s: "Nee Nee Na Na Na Na Nu Nu" by Dickie Doo and the Don'ts.
posted by scody at 9:04 PM on May 28, 2006

posted by Zozo at 9:13 PM on May 28, 2006

Battle of New Orleans.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:38 PM on May 28, 2006

The Book of Love
Who put the bomp in the bomp ba domp
The Ten Commandments of Love (very funny spoken part)
Leader of the Pack
Mr Bass Man
posted by rglass at 9:57 PM on May 28, 2006

The two doo-woppiest doo wop songs that come right to mind for me are Guided Missiles, by the Cuff Links, and Blind Date, by the Eternals.
posted by chicobangs at 10:08 PM on May 28, 2006

"get a job" by the silhouettes
"speedo" by the cadillacs
"along came jones", "charlie brown", "yakity yak", "poison ivy" by the coasters
"stranded in the jungle" by the cadets
"duke of earl" by gene chandler
posted by pyramid termite at 10:21 PM on May 28, 2006

"Sh-boom," The Chords
"Tutti Frutti," Little Richard (a wop bop a loom op a bop bam boom!)
"Splish Splash," Bobby Darin
"Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)," The Tokens
"Runaway," Del Shannon
"Red Rubber Ball," Cyrkle (mainly for the lyrics)

Songs with dubious 50's cred, but are still fun:
"Ooby Dooby," Roy Orbison (not doo-wop, but that title!)
"Doo Wah Diddy," Manfred Mann
posted by Vervain at 10:58 PM on May 28, 2006

Check out the insane "Egyptian Shumba" by the Tammy's. It's from the sixties, but I'll bet it fits your needs. (Most of your examples are also from the early sixties, so it might be a good fit.)
posted by hydrophonic at 11:01 PM on May 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

Henry the VIII, I Am, by Herman's Hermits, is from the Sixties, but the lyrics always crack me up.
posted by gt2 at 11:36 PM on May 28, 2006

Ridiculous (in part):
"Great Balls Of Fire," Jerry Lee Lewis
"Good Timin'," Jimmy Jones (actually 1960, but has the crazy 50's sound) "Timing, A-Tock-A-Tock-A-TOCK-A-TOCK-A"
posted by CrunchyFrog at 11:46 PM on May 28, 2006

The provocatively titled "Pat's 40 Big Ones" (UK release) includes quite a few novelty ditties sung by Mr. Boone, including "Tutti Frutti," "Gee Whittakers" and "Speedy Gonzales."

Then again, Yuletide has always brought out the Cracker Barrel cheese big-time, as this page makes crystal clear. The Singing Dogs woof it up with "Jingle Bells," Alvin & His 'Munks offer their classic "Christmas, Don't Be Late," plus "Santa & the Satellite" and "Christmas Dragnet" — what's not to love?
posted by rob511 at 12:12 AM on May 29, 2006

How about Beware of the Blob by Burt Bacharach ? snippet @ wfmu It creeps, and leaps, and glides, and slides, across the floor, and all around the wall, a splotch, a blotch. Be careful of the Blob. Blop!
posted by spacelux at 12:50 AM on May 29, 2006

Ooh, ooh! A few more...

"Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows," Lesley Gore
"Wooly Bully," Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
"Surfin' Bird," The Trashmen
"Purple People Eater," Sheb Wooley
"I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent," Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
posted by Vervain at 1:20 AM on May 29, 2006

You might want to add Exotica - such as tracks from Lex Baxter. In an not too dissimilar vein you might also want to look at some fo Raymond Scot's 50s era electronica - some of the music he wrote for adverts is particularly interesting.
posted by rongorongo at 1:46 AM on May 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

The Crystals - He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)

Also, the classic 50s pop chord progression is I vi IV V, or C Am F G in C major.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:44 AM on May 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

"Little Darling" is a must, IMHO.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:37 AM on May 29, 2006

"Lightning Striking Again"
posted by The Confessor at 5:50 AM on May 29, 2006

"The Loco-Motion" from Little Eva is actually from the early 60's but I think it fits.

Also "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" from Brian Hyland, although that might get a little too much into the 60's surf thing. But still fun in a cheesy way.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:26 AM on May 29, 2006

Teen Angel
posted by PenDevil at 8:25 AM on May 29, 2006

Popsicles and Icicles - the Murmaids
My Boy Lollipop - Millie Small
Please Don't Talk to the Lifeguard - Diane Ray
posted by clarkstonian at 8:56 AM on May 29, 2006

A White Sport Coat - Marty Robbins (1957)
posted by deborah at 10:59 AM on May 29, 2006

I'm not sure if this is the sort of thing you're after, but yesterday a friend sent me a link to the awesome Shooby Taylor. His song Stout Hearted Man is glorious nonsense. More songs here.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:31 PM on May 29, 2006

Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor
(can't recall who made it. It was in my aunt's collection of 45s, together with the two originals, already mentioned above).

Oo ee oo ah ah. Ting tang, walla walla bing bang!
posted by Goofyy at 2:27 AM on May 30, 2006

If I thought about it, I could go on for days when discussing this type of music, but just two that really stand out.....
Chordettes - Lollipop (check out these lyrics and tell me it's only me that has a dirty mind)
and everything else off the Stand By Me soundtrack.
Clyde McPhatter, my all time favorite with Lil' Bitty Pretty One and Lover Please.
The Coasters have a bunch of novelty-type songs - Smokey Joe's Cafe, Along Came Jones, Charlie Brown, Searching, Yakety Yak and Poison Ivy - all on the album linked there.
Sh-Boom by the Crew Cuts (couldn't find an audio clip).
Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop by Little Anthony & The Imperials
New Vaudeville Band - Winchester Cathedral
Everly Brothers - Bird Dog
Clarence "Frogman" Henry - Ain't Got a Home
Johnny Cymbal - Mr. Bass Man
Fireflys - You Were Mine (Cheesy background singers)
Dovells - The Bristol Stomp
The Crystals - Look In My Eyes
Del Vikings - Come Go With Me and Whispering Bells.
Shirelles - Foolish Little Girl and "I Met him on a Sunday"
Hank Ballard & the Midnighters - Annie Had a Baby (the follow-up to Work with me Annie, which spawned quite a story about Annie, her lover and the baby that came between them)
Rockin' Robin
Papa-Oom-mow-mow but it wasn't by the beach boys.
Freddy Ford - Sea Cruise
The Cadets - Stranded in the Jungle (also redone by Voodoo Glow Skulls)
I don't think Chuck Berry's "My Ding-A-Ling" fits with the tone of the examples you gave, but what a great song and amusing to think that it became a hit.

I really do love all these songs, but what makes me think they apply to your question is that they're so...innocent, so much so they're almost silly. Except, that is, for the ones I mentioned that are clearly silly.
posted by Iamtherealme at 3:39 AM on May 30, 2006

Response by poster: Wow, everyone, thank you so much! You reminded me of some old favorites I'd forgotten, and I'm sure some of the ones I haven't heard will turn out to be great finds. These all look great! hydrophonic, that sound clip is seriously hilarious. Iamtherealme, thanks for so many ideas. And any song that comes with a punk/ska cover for is an extra bonus -- speaking of which you (or anyone else) haven't heard a cover of Another Saturday Night ("...and I ain't got nobody, I got some money cause I just got paid"), have you? Someone like Bouncing Souls.

Thanks all!
posted by salvia at 9:02 AM on May 30, 2006

How about The Morse Code of Love by the Capris?

It has this excellent "dit-dit-dah" doo-wop part.
posted by exceptinsects at 9:57 AM on May 30, 2006

I can't think of any covers of "Another Saturday Night" unfortunately, and none of the coversongs websites seem to have more than 1 or 2 remakes - I know I've heard at least 4. I had high hopes for this list of punk covers, but it's not on there. Maybe you could contact the site and see if somebody over there knows it.
I did find this , apparently done by Barry Paterson & The Delons, when googling the song + punk. According to the description here, it could be it. The album came out in 1996. They seem to be a New Zealand band and my searching of didn't yield much but I didn't really know quite what I was doing. Maybe you could ask over at Monkeyfilter, since there are a lot of Kiwis over there.
posted by Iamtherealme at 11:27 PM on June 1, 2006

Response by poster: Iamtherealme, I might try Monkeyfilter, thanks. But I swear I heard some band play it in Chicago in 1994 or 1995, and I didn't go see them. :) Though.... right era.... maybe they were on tour and opened for someone I saw? I'll check it out. Thanks!
posted by salvia at 6:53 AM on June 2, 2006

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