For today’s Deep-Fried Friday, the topic is not so much deep as just juicy. Paul McCartney declared, “You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs,” but we haven’t. Indeed, we can’t get enough of silly songs, period.
Since I love making lists, today I’m giving you my list of incredibly silly songs that we listen to anyway. To make my Top 10 (or so – I’m not a mathematician, I’m a writer), the song had to meet my criteria.
1. It made it to Billboard‘s Top 5 in its day – meaning that quite a few people liked it. While I personally adore “I Eat Cannibals” by Total Coelo and “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon, they didn’t have enough fans like me to make it onto the list.
2. I could find a video of it on YouTube – So sorry, but Rose Royce’s #1 hit “Car Wash” did not make the list; no quality video. I want to take the readers back down Memory Lane and share the song, in case our recall fails us or we simply want to hear it again.
3. At least one stanza or chorus of lyrics is completely silly, even if the rhyming is clever. I wavered on whether “Walk Like an Egyptian” by Bangles was silly enough, so it didn’t make my list.
4. It isn’t by the Beatles. Yes, I know that you can find “Yellow Submarine” on others’ lists, but I refuse to group the Fab Four with some of the following artists. In fact, I loved their movie by the same name!
So here is my list of music at its silliest and best.
10. Muskrat Love by Captain & Tennille (Billboard #4, September 25, 1976). A song about muskrats falling in love. It was cute. It was stupid. It was a hit.
Silly Lyrics: “Now, he’s ticklin’ her fancy; Rubbin’ her toes
Muzzle to muzzle; Now anything goes as they wriggle
Sue starts to giggle.”
9. Pop Muzik by M (#1, August 11, 1979). Shooby-dooby-doo-wop, this was a pointless song which was fun nonetheless. I remember seeing the music video of this song, but I don’t know where because MTV premiered in 1981. I can’t explain the misspelling of music, though I suppose it does make the title memorable.
Silly Lyrics: “Let’s do the milkshake; You’re selling like a hot cake
Try some, buy some; Fee fi fo fum.”
8. Ballroom Blitz by Sweet (#5, June 14,1975). This song is so fun that it was covered by Krokus in the 1980’s, and that’s the version I had on my Sony Walkman cassette player in college. It’s a song about a bar fight, more beautifully called a “ballroom blitz.”
Silly Lyrics: “Oh yeah, it was electric, so frightfully hectic
And the band started leaving, ’cause they all stopped breathing.”
7. The Streak by Ray Stevens (#1, April 13, 1974). Ray Stevens was a musician and comedian whose recording of “The Streak” made us all say, “Don’t look, Ethel!” This was also the same year that actor David Niven’s presentation of an Oscar award was interrupted by a streaker on stage, to which Niven brilliantly quipped, “Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?”
Updated Video Version from Ray Stevens
Silly Lyrics: “Oh, yes, they call him the Streak
He likes to show off his physique
If there’s an audience to be found, He’ll be streakin’ around
Invitin’ public critique.”
6. The Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley (#1, June 1958 -pre-Billboard’s Hot 100). One-horned, one-eyed, and flying, that purple people eater was Wooley’s way of parodying the science fiction flicks of the day. Oddly enough, my son went to a camp last year in which his team was named the Flying Purple People Eaters. Now that’s a silly song that has lasted.
Silly Lyrics: “Well I saw the thing comin’ out of the sky
It had the one long horn and one big eye
I commenced to shakin’ and I said ooh-eee
It looks like a purple eater to me”
5. Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas (#1, October 12, 1974). My husband might not think this is silly (he’s a David Carradine/Kung Fu series fan). But a song about kung fu? Remember that this was released long before there was a martial arts studio on every corner or any Karate Kid movies.
Silly Lyrics: “They were funky China men from funky Chinatown
They were chopping them up and they were chopping them down.”
4. Safety Dance by Men Without Hats (#3, June 25, 1983). What the heck is a safety dance? I still don’t know. But Dr. Turk from “Scrubs” did; he sang the song on the show.
Silly Lyrics: “And we can dress real neat from our hats to our feet
And surprise ’em with the victory cry.”
3. Mickey by Toni Basil (#1, September 4, 1982). The song is definitely shallow, but it’s the video with Toni and her cheerleader squad that takes the cake on this one.
Silly Lyrics: “Oh Mickey, you’re so fine
You’re so fine, you blow my mind
Hey, Mickey! Hey, Mickey!”
2. I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred (#1, February 8, 1992). Wow, we actually catapulted this lame song to Numero Uno! Does that mean we’re all egotistic enough that we loved singing along with “I’m too sexy for my shirt”? We are a sexy bunch, aren’t we? Not so much this guy, though.
Silly Lyrics: “I’m too sexy for my shirt
Too sexy for my shirts
So sexy it hurts.”
1a. Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini by Brian Hyland (#1, July 4, 1960). The best part of this song is the background singers. I swear to you that I have never owned an itsy bitsy bikini of any pattern, and if I did, the people around would sing “Get Back” by the Beatles instead.
Silly Lyrics: “Two three four
Tell the people what she wore
It was an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”
1b. YMCA by The Village People (#2, October 21, 1978). If I had predicted that a song by men dressed as workers, a cowboy, and a Native American (what was that about?) would record a song about your local community center and it would become a number two hit, you would have called me loony at the least. But here you go! And there are arm movements to the song, which we all know and do whenever the song comes on.
Silly Lyrics: “It’s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A.
It’s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A.”
If you paid attention to dates, you’ll see that eight of my songs range from the ten-year period of 1974-1983. Either those songs struck a chord with me because that decade was during my growing-up years or we were especially silly at that time. Who knows!
What other silly songs about stupid things were fun and popular? What are your favorites?