Sunday, 22 September 2013

silly song titles

I don’t listen to modern pop music, so I don’t know if the trend has continued, but in the late 1950s and 1960s, it was quite common for songs to have titles that were completely meaningless. Here is what I came up with after a few moments of thought:
  • Be-Bop-A-Lula by Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps (1956)
  • Rama Lama Ding Dong by the Edsels (1958)
  • Papa Oom Mow Mow by the Rivingtons (1962)
  • Da Doo Ron Ron by the Crystals (1963)
  • Doo Wah Diddy Diddy by the Exciters (1963)
  • Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um by Major Lance (1963)
  • Ring Dang Doo by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs (1965)
  • Sha La La La Lee by the Small Faces (1966)
  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da by the Beatles (1968)
  • In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly (1968)
  • Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep by Middle of the Road (1971)
And if you think that these titles are silly, then I must warn you that things are about to become a lot sillier. One of my favourite radio programs is the self-styled ‘antidote to panel games’, BBC Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, which has been running since 1972. An idea of the anarchic humour of this program can be gleaned from the program announcer’s closing credits, which suggests that the panellists ‘were given silly things to do’.

These include singing one song to the tune of another (e.g., Chuck Berry’s My Ding-a-Ling to the tune of Charles Aznavour’s She); Uxbridge English Dictionary, in which the panellists are asked to suggest new definitions for old words (e.g., randomize—a squint); and a series of games in which the teams are asked to suggest books, songs or movies that would appeal to a specific social group, such as accountants or farmers.

In the spirit of the last game, I would like to suggest a few ‘well-known’ songs that might appeal to an audience of fish:
  • Shark, Rattle and Roll by Big Joe Tuna (1954)
  • Theme for a Bream by Cliff Pilchard (1961)
  • Twist and Trout by the Isley Brothers (1961)
  • Cod Only Knows by the Beach Boys (1966)
  • A Plaice in the Sun by Stevie Wonder (1967)
  • Mullet of Kintyre by Wings (1977)
  • Sprat Trap by the Boomtown Sprats (1978)
For an older audience, possible contributions might include Heart and Sole by Hoagy Carmichael and Salmon Chanted Evening by Rodgers and Hammerstein. However, I’ve not suggested Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, which is a genuine title, or anything by Country Joe and the Fish, which was a real band.

I accept full responsibility for the awfulness of these examples, although you should bear in mind the origins of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again, which featured two of the later show’s regular panellists and John ‘Otto’ Cleese, later a stalwart of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, was a 1960s BBC radio comedy whose stock-in-trade was the excruciatingly dreadful pun—you often heard the studio audience groaning in unison as yet another was delivered.

With this in mind, can you suggest other ‘fishy’ song titles? All your contributions will be published, regardless of how awful and contrived they are. The possibility that they are even more terrible than mine is fairly remote.


  1. My favourite country song title is 'I've got tears in my ears from lying on my pillow and crying over you'
    Titles that spring immediately to mind are
    Ummagumma, Floyd's album which included the even more ridiculous 'Several Species of Small Furry Animals ..etc'
    Wordy Rappinghood
    My Girl Bill
    Peaches en regalia
    Aga Doo (Barf)
    I am the Walrus

    Fishy titles off the top of my head:
    Whale Meat Again - Vera Lynn
    The Pushpike Song - Mungo Jerry
    Rudd Golly Miss Molly - Little Richard
    When Gill I See You Again 3 Degrees
    Fin the Eskimo - Dylan
    Day Kipper - Beatles
    Like a Sturgeon - Madonna
    Kelp! - Beatles
    McArthur Shark -Richard Harris
    The above titles may not be the original artists

    Best Regards

    1. Hi Keith. As I recall, you had a particular distaste for Agadoo, which at the time I hadn’t heard. Now that I have, I concur with your assessment. Ummagumma is a good one, although I was concentrating on individual song titles. I should also point out that all the titles in my first list consist entirely of nonsense syllables, so although your suggestions are silly, they do convey some degree of meaning.

      I love your fishy titles, particularly the Vera Fin example. I should also point out that the Dylan song is titled The Mighty Fin (which, incidentally, reminded me of It’s a Fin by the Pet Shop Buoys).

    2. Oh my. Keith seems to have it nailed here. They are just so funny.

    3. He has too Rum. What you don’t know is that Keith and I go back to the 1980s in Hong Kong. I remember the time we sat together trying to compile a list of the worst records ever made. Agadoo was always top of Keith’s choices.

    4. Aga Doo is still top of my list Dennis, but is under threat from Justin Bleeper and One Direction (If I have got that right)
      Then there is always Achy Breaky Heart....

    5. I wouldn’t be able to recognize any modern pop music Keith, which is probably just as well.

  2. The first things that came to my mind related to the Bard,
    Midsummer Night's Bream
    The Tragedy of Mullet the Dane
    Pilchard the Third - a sea-horse, a sea-horse, my kingdom for a sea-horse.

    1. I don’t mean to carp Rum, but trying to come up with an appropriate quotation from Shakespeare has left me floundering. The best I could come up with is from Halibut’s soliloquy in the play of the same name: “To sleep, perchance to bream: ay, there's the chub”. Apologies for a less than turbot-charged reply.

    2. Most excellent Rum! I sea Dennis' has his cod piece in a twist and the next thing eel be charging sick squid to clam up about our daberrations. You would think he was flipping Salmon Rushdie or Ernest Herringway or even Shark Twain!

  3. Just had to come on this one Dennis. How about the words to John Travolta's song in 'Grease' called You're the One that I Want.

    I've got gills, there multiplying
    And I'm losing cod control
    All that fish that, they are frying
    It's electrifying
    Chorus - You're the one that I caught, one that I caught, ooh ooh ooh mullet

    Sandy Shaw - Like a mullet on a string

    1. Brilliant Rum! Do you listen to I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue? If not, I recommend that you do. I think you’ll love it.

  4. I Fought Piranhas By The White Stripes (this one is real)
    Angler Eyes (Angel Eyes)
    Bango a Drum (Bang a Drum)
    Get You Kicks on Trout 66 (depending on how you pronounce Route)
    Heart of Wrasse (Heart of glass)

    There are so many different fish. With some thought, I'm sure we could come up with a ton of these things.

    1. I’m sure we could too Pat. Anything by Chub E. Checker, Blenny Kravitz or Bob Marlin and the Tailors would be a good place to start.


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