Novelty and Comedy Songs in Pop Music

Novelty & Comedy Songs

Novelty songs are different from most popular songs in that they usually have an invisible expiration date like 1999 or Pac-Man Fever with the exception of Christmas Songs and to a lesser extent, Halloween Songs. Pac-Man Fever really mattered in the early 1980s, but it has long since lost its purpose. Sometimes you can’t tell the difference between a novelty song and an odd pop song written on purpose. Songs like 1999 by Prince, Angie Baby by Helen Reddy, 1985 by Bowling For Soup and Who Let The Dogs Out by the Baha Men come to mind.

Songs like Lindbergh (The Eagle of the U.S.A.) and Lucky Lindy (both 1927) celebrated Charles Lindbergh’s historic non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Even Lorne Green (TV’s Bonanza’s Ben Cartwright) tried to financially horn in on the Beatles’ coming, with his tribute to Ringo, in 1964.

Of course, not all novelty tunes were about the world around them. Some were very experimental. Richard “Dickie” Goodman took short riffs (now called ‘samples’) from then-current pop songs to answer by his intrepid, fast-talking reporter/announcer. His Mr. Jaws was a hit in 1975 and The Flying Saucer soared in 1956. Some novelty tunes are new interpretations of the classics, like Richard Cheese’s Baby Got Back, and Jessica’s Simpson’s remake of These Boots Are Made For Walking.

Youtube videos changed the game, and the most successful are targeted towards a younger audience.

Top Novelty Songs Given To Us By Youtube

1. Baby Shark – Pinkfong
2. Crazy Frog – Axel F
3. Gummy Bear
4. Gangnam Style – Psy
5. The Duck Song – Song by Bryant Oden and video by Forrest Whaley
6. It’s Raining Tacos – Parry Gripp
7. Hamster Dance – Hampton the Hamster
8. The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?) – Ylvis
9. Everything is Awesome – Tegan and Sara
10. Chocolate Rain

2000s Comedy & Novelty Songs

1. White and Nerdy – Weird Al Yankovic
2. She-Bang – William Hung
3. The Hardest Part of Breaking Up (Is Getting Back Your Stuff) – 2ge+her
4. Aaron’s Party – Aaron Carter
5. Because I Got High – Afroman
6. Tribute – Tenacious D 
7. My Humps – Black-Eyed Peas
8. Chicken Noodle Soup – Young B and Webstar 
9. Baby Got Back – Richard Cheese
10. Osama – Yo’ Mama – Ray Stevens

90s Comedy/ Novelty Songs

1. Amish Paradise – Weird Al Yankovic
2. The Humpty Dance – Digital Underground
3. The Thanksgiving Song – Adam Sandler
4. Smells Like Nirvana – Weird Al Yankovic
5. This Is Ponderous – 2nu
6. Deep, Deep Trouble – The Simpsons
7. Meet The Flintstones – The B.C. 52’s
8. Three Little Pigs – Green Jelly
9. Redneck Games – Jeff Foxworthy & Alan Jackson
10.  Turtle Power – Partners In Kryme

80s Comedy/ Novelty Songs

Noone in the world of novelty has had the enormous success of Weird Al Yankovic. He has mocked many of the stars of the 1980s through today, including Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Eminem, Limp Biskit, Chamillionaire and others. His first breakout near-hit was Another One Rides the Bus, recorded in a bathroom for “just the right echo effect”.
1. Fat – Weird Al Yankovic
2. Curly Shuffle – The Jump In The Saddle Band
3. Shaddap You Face – Joe Dolce
4. Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life – Monty Python (Eric Idol)*
* From 1979’s Life of Brian
5. Because I’m a Blonde – Julie Brown
6. Take Off – Bob & Doug McKenzie with Eddie Lee
7. Eat It – Weird Al Yankovic
8. You Look Marvelous – Billy Crystal
9.Meet The Flintstones – Bruce Springstone
10. Make My Day – T.G. Sheppard with Clint Eastwood

70s Comedy/ Novelty Songs

The Streak had its day in 1974, but by April of that year, the shortcomings of this fad, running naked through public events, were evident, as noted by film star David Niven. Practically everybody bought a C.B. radio when they heard Convoy in 1976. Of course, some Novelty tunes are timeless like Junk Food Junkie by Larry Groce and Take This Job and Shove It by Johnny Paycheck.
1. Disco Duck – Rick Dees
2. King Tut – Steve Martin
3. My Balogna – Weird Al Yankovic
4. Mr. Jaws – Dickie Goodman
5. Earache My Eye – Cheech and Chong
6. Shaving Cream – Benny Bell
7. The Topical Song – The Barron Knights
8. Junk Food Junkie – Larry Groce
9. Do You Think I’m Disco – Steve Dahl
10. Dead Skink – Loudon Wainwright III

60s Weirdest/ un-P.C. Songs

1. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – The Beatles
2. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida – Iron Butterfly
3. A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash
4. Star-Spangled Banner – Jimi Hendrix
5. If You Wanna Be Happy – Jimmy Soul
6. Surfin’ Bird – The Trashmen
7. Fire – The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
8. Tip-Toe Through the Tulips With Me – Tiny Tim
9. I Want My Baby Back – Jimmy Cross
10. My Pal Foot Foot – The Shaggs

60s Comedy/ Novelty Songs

1. They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! – Napoleon XIV
2. Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini – Brian Hyland
3. On Top Of Spaghetti – Tom Glazer
4. Short Shorts – Royal Teens
5. Beep Beep – Playmates
6. Tip Toe Through The Tulips – Tiny Tim
7. Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor – Lonnie Donegan
8. Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah – Allen Sherman
9. Leader Of The Laundromat – the Detergents
10. Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport – Rolf Harris

50s Comedy/ Novelty Songs

Ross Bagdasarian, better known as David Seville, used the process of speeding up his voice to create the Halloween hit, Witch Doctor. He further refined the technique to create Alvin, Simon and Theodore, the Chipmunks. With them, he created another holiday classic The Chipmonk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late). Mad with power, he built this one-trick novelty bit into a mini-empire with a prime time animated TV show.
1. Purple People Eater – Sheb Wolley
2. Banana Boat (Day-O) – Stan Freberg
3. Alvin’s Harmonica – The Chipmunks
4. Stranded In The Jungle – The Cadets (or The Jayhawks)
5. The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane – The Ames Brothers
6. The Flying Saucer – Buchanan & Goodman
7. The Thing – Phil Harris
8. What It Was, Was Football – Andy Griffith
9. Uh! Oh! – The Nutty Squirrels
10. Nuttin For Christmas – cracked the top 40 in 1955 by Art Mooney & Barry Gordon, Joe Ward, Ricky Zahnd, The Fontane Sisters and Stan Freberg in 1955.

Pre-50s Comedy/ Novelty Songs

The earliest novelty song we could find was recorded in the days before CD, Cassette Tapes, even vinyl records. The Laughing Song followed up with The Whistling Coon ware recorded by ex-slave George Washington Johnson in 1891 on a cylinder. His Laughing Song was probably the highest-selling recording of the 19th century. The first-ever actually-recorded song that we have proof of was Thomas Edison singing Mary Had A Little Lamb.

In Der Fuehrer’s Face and (There’ll Be A) Hot Time in the Town of Berlin (When the Yanks Go Marching In) meant a lot to freedom-loving American people in the 1940s.

A Chicken Ain’t Nothin But a Bird – Cab Calloway
Animal Crackers In My Soup – Shirley Temple
Bake Dat Chicken Pie – Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy – Andrews Sisters
Brother, Can You Spare A Dime? – Bing Crosby
Casey At The Bat – DeWolf Hopper
Cigarettes, Whiskey and Wild Women – Red Engle
Come Take a Trip On My Air-ship – Billy Murray
Daddy Won’t Buy Me A Bow-wow – Dan Quinn
Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two) – various
Dem Golden Slippers – Silas Leachman
Der Fuehrer’s Face – Spike Jones
Girlfriend of the Whirling Dervish – Johnny Payne
Grandfather’s Clock – Burl Ives
I Scream You Scream We All Scream For Ice Cream – Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians
I’ll Lend You Everything I Got, Except My Wife – Bert Williams
I’m Against It – Groucho Marx
I’m Popeye, The Sailor Man – Billy Costello
Indian Love Call – Slim Whitman
Inka Dinka Doo – Jimmy Durante
Courtroom Catastrophe – Amos and Andy
Istanbul (Not Constantinople) – The Four Lads
K-K-K-Katy (The Stammering Song) – Billy Murray
Last Shot Got Him (Great Bloo-is Song) – Eddie Morton
Let’s Misbehave – Ben Bernie
Mairzy Doates – Merry Macs
Makin’ Whoopee – Eddie Cantor
Minnie The Moocher – Cab Calloway
My Own Grandpa – Lonzo and Oscar
Oh Death, Where Is Thy Sing? – Bert Williams
Shaving Cream – Benny Bell
Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowty – Dinah Shore
Shortnin’ Bread – The Andrews Sisters
Take Me Out To The Ball Game – Billy Murray and the Haydn Quartet
The Alphabet Song – The Three Stooges
The Laughing Sing – George Washington Johnson
The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane – The Ames Brothers
The Spaniard That Blighted My Life – Al Jolson
Three Little Fishes – Kay Kyser
Tubby the Tuba – Danny Kaye
When You Ain’t Got No More Money, Well, You Needn’t Come Around – Billy Golden
Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf – various
Would You Rather Be a Colonel With an Eagle On Your Shoulder Or A Private With a Chicken On Your Knee? – Arthur Fields
Yes! We Have No Bananas – Ben Selvin
You Oughta Be in Pictures – Little Jack Little