I actually remember this number. Alan Sherman was a briefly popular novelty act, a pleasant schlub who wrote not too terrible song parodies which he sang himself, badly. Had a hit record with “Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda” and a few successful albums. Ed Sullivan also inflicted him on America a few times.
The Beatles Channel on satellite radio played this the other day along with some other less famous anti-Beatles songs. Boy, do they sound stupid today. Here are Sherman’s lyrics, in case you can’t stand listening to the recording all the way through, which is likely:
My daughter needs a new phonograph.
She wore out all the needles.
Besides, I broke the old one in half.
I hate the Beatles.
She says they have a Liverpool beat.
She says they used to play there.
Four nice kids from offa the street.
Why didn’t they stay there?
What is all the screaming about?
Fainting and swooning.
Sounds to me like their guitars
Could use a little tuning.
The boys are from the British Empire.
The British think they’re keen.
If that is what the British desire,
God Save The Queen.
No daughter of mine can push me around.
In my home I’m the master.
But when the British come to town,
Gad, what a disaster.
Little girls in sneakers and jeans.
Destroyed the territory.
‘Twas like some of the gorier scenes
From The West Side Story.
Of course my daughter had to go there.
The tickets are cheap, she hollers.
I was able to pick up a pair
For forty-seven dollars.
When the Beatles come on stage,
They scream and shriek and cheer them.
Now I know why they’re such a rage,
It’s impossible to hear them.
Ringo is the one with the drum,
The others all play with him.
It shows you what a boy can become
Without a sense of rhythm.
There’s Beatle book and T-shirts and rings,
And one thing and another.
To buy my daughter all of those things,
I had to sell her brother.
Back in 1776
We fought the British then, folks.
Parents of America,
It’s time to do it again, folks.
When they come back, here’s how we’ll begin,
We’ll throw ’em in Boston harbor.
But please, before we toss ’em all in,
Let’s take ’em to a barber.
(See, the Beatles had long hair, so this was funny.)
Thanks to the internet and social media, uninformed opinions stated in a smugly assertive manner has become a cultural plague. This tends to spread ignorance and misconceptions, and also risks one looking like a compete ass when reality raises its head and the opinion registered with such certainty looks certifiably dumb. This a special risk when one is rendering an opinion on artistic genres that one has not studied or taken the time to understand, and is unqualified to analyze competently. I know what I like, but as opinionated as I am, I would never dare to make qualitative declaration about the quality of rap, hip-hop, progressive jazz, heavy metal rock, or Asian music forms. There is something infuriating about listening to an equally clueless 1964 audience of middle-aged Lawrence Welk fans chuckling along with Sherman’s jibes at the classic band’s musical ability.
There is a fair question to ask about what Sherman was doing. Was he just pandering to public biases? Was he singing in the voice of someone like the father in the song? Maybe Allan Sherman was a Beatles fan! Are really uninformed opinions acceptable from comedians and performers?
Your Ethics Quiz of the Day is…
Was there anything wrong with Sherman’s song, other than the fact that it makes him look like an idiot 54 years later?
For those of you who answer in the affirmative, here’s a poll to drill down deeper:
One last question: Do today’s kids even know “Pop Goes The Weasel”?