Wednesday, June 8, 2016

71. Novelty Songs from the Forties

When Nancy and I were sophomores at Gettysburg High School in 1946, the music we enjoyed on the radio or our record players included songs with beautiful and unforgettable lyrics like:

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop (Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop)
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop (Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop)
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop (Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop)
Hey! Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop (Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop)
Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop (Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop)
Yeah, my baby knows.

And who can forget the memorable and catchy lyrics to Mairzy Doats?

Mairzy doats And dozy doats 
And liddle lamzy divey 
A kiddley divey too, wooden shoe.

Some people called them novelty songs. Others referred to them as nonsense songs. In any case, the peculiar thing is that to this day Nancy and I are cursed to remember all the words to these and numerous other stupid songs but have trouble remembering what we ate for lunch two days ago.

Some years ago, I did a program of nonsense songs for a group of senior citizens, and most of them enthusiastically sang the lyrics like they had just heard them recently.

We suspect that such music was not meant for dancing but primarily for our listening pleasure either on the radio or on a 78rpm record we could play over and over until the words were imbedded in our memories.  

Let’s end our brief description of novelty tunes with the lyrics for Chi Baba Chi Baba which was recorded by Perry Como in 1947 and went to number one on the Billboard chart:

Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
My bambino go to sleep!


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