My children’s favorite CD to play in the car these days is Allan Sherman’s “My Son, the Greatest.” It’s a compilation of some of his most popular hits pulled from albums like “My Son, the Box,” “My Son, the Folk Singer,” and “My Son, the Nut.” What amazes me is not only what an amazing lyricist Sherman was (d. 1973; the tunes are mostly lifted from much older songs and classical pieces), but the fact that they’re so well written, I can still smile and chuckle at them after over 10 years of listening to them. Here are some of our favorites, thanks to YouTube. (You can ignore most of the videos as homegrown and lame, but listen to the lyrics and Sherman’s amazing band.)
“Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah” is probably the one people are most familiar with, which seems to have even made the Hit Parade in the UK in 1963.
“Harvey and Sheila,” set to the tune of “Hava Nagila,” is an utterly conventional love story coupled with Sherman’s love of American acronyms.
Here’s a version (not by Sherman) of “Sarah Jackman,” which my two youngest (yes, even Bill asks for “Jock”) request over and over and over and over again. (I looked for one with Sherman and his female co-singer, but couldn’t find it. This man gets Sherman’s part down pretty well, but the chorister needs a tuning fork next to her ear, and a few lessons in New York accents.)
“You Went the Wrong Way, Old King Louie” is my personal favorite, though it’s not easy to choose. (I also love “The Rebel,” but couldn’t find a video of it to post here. Such a shame.) Enjoy, all you students of European history.
And finally, for those who can’t get enough of exaggeration and name-dropping, “Good Advice” should satisfy you…and then some.
Enjoy these, and tune in again tomorrow for some more video goodies I found while researching this.