I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I think there’s room in the casket for this classic LP.
I believe it was back in 1978, when I was living in the Chestnut Prison (the colloquial name for the four-month period when I lived with my father and stepmother in Massachusetts) that I found this LP in a yard sale. At the time, I really didn’t have too many records to listen to, so I purchased it – hey, it was 25 cents, the worst thing was I would lose a quarter in the transaction.
The LP was by a singer named Allan Sherman – the songs were a collection of parody tracks of old standards. The singer had a hoarse, atonal quality to his voice, but the laughs and cheers and guffaws from the appreciative audience made up for it.
I got the jokes on the LP. I got the humor. And the humor on that record, at times, helped me get trough some tough moments in my adolescent life.
You might know Allan Sherman as the parodist whose greatest hit, “Hello Muddah! Hello Fadduh!” as the paean to all summer camp vacations; you might also remember Sherman as the voice of the Cat in the Hat in an animated television special.
Now before all that, Allan Sherman recorded this album in his home, as part of a house party that included several Hollywood guests (Sherman’s biggest claim prior to this album was as the producer of the game show I’ve Got a Secret).
This album sold like crazy. It topped the charts. It spawned a national catchphrase, “My Son, the _____________,” and Sherman appeared on the talk shows and variety programs.
So after you’ve shoveled your car out of the snowbank for the fifth time this winter, and you need a good laugh to get you through the day…
Click on this link and you can hear the entire album.
I should note that Allan Sherman’s legacy goes far beyond this album and the “Hello Muddah! Hello Fadduh!” novelty singles. His recordings inspired generations of musical parodists; heck, “Weird Al” Yankovic has acknowledged Sherman’s recordings as an inspiration for his own career.
And as the recordings brought joy and laughter to millions of listeners in the 1960’s…
So too did it bring joy and laughter and more than a few sly smiles to a young, scared teenager in 1978.
So it’s nice to hear these recordings again… if for no other reason than, nearly four decades later… I’ve survived past that dark moment.
With a smile or three.
You know what? I’ve got room in the casket for at least another 45. So here’s “Hello Muddah! Hello Fadduh!” as performed on live television.