Novelty Songs: Benny Bell, Dr. Demento and The Art of Laughter

Thanks Ed. I'd love to see you perform this one!









or this one...





Okay, one question. Are Easy Ed and Dr. Demento one and the same?  Dr. Doppelganger?

Yes...they are indeed one and the same.....and also one with the Universe....

And of course, leave us not overlook Spike Jones, David Seville (Ross Bagdasarian, Senior), the Smothers Brothers, Benny Hill, and Mickey Katz.  (Ray Stevens spends his time now writing paeans to Sarah Palin, but once upon a time he turned out some great nutty records as well.)

Great addition to the Easy Ed column!  I had the pleasure of producing a John Fahey Tribute with his first wife last year.  Barry was kind enough to host the event.   He was great to work with and the people loved him.  

"Alley Oop" was among my first connections with music in early childhood.  Parenthetically, hardly a mention of Kim Fowley's recent passing.  In a way, aren't those Beach Boys surf tunes just a breath away from novelty as well?  Also, in honor of the power of novelty, Chuck Berry's only #1 (and banned) song was "My Ding-a-ling." 

But, here's my favorite Americana novelty song......


Thanks for sharing Mr. Keen's song. A fine addition. 

I'm not so sure that the Beach Boy's songs would be considered novelty nor parody. The early tracks were quite derivitive of Chuck Berry, The Four Freshman, Kingston Trio, Lettermen, Elvis and any number of other influences from the fifties...but the lyrics were about tennage angst and pop culture, So Cal style. That they did or didn't have four on the floor or catch a wave is irrelevent. If every singer and songwriter had to actually "live" what they wrote about, we wouldn't have much music to choose from grand opera to Bob Dylan. Don't know if that's the context you were thinking from. is that 'breath away' that made the difference in those early BB songs.

Steve Goodman could put out novelty songs with the best of them.  This is my favorite:

Does the good doctor know about your article?

Don't know Terry. I tagged him on Twitter or Facebook when I posted it on my own site at

Many of the songs mentioned may be funny, clever, etc. but they fall short (or rise above) the genre of Novelty Song  (whatever that means). There is no doubt this is a Novelty Song. 


Further proof you can find ANYTHING and EVERYTHING on you tube!  Ahhhh  memories.