Various Artists

25 All-Time Novelty Hits

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These 25 tracks were all hits between 1955 and 1977, so it might not be quite accurate to dub them "all-time novelty hits." Still, that's the time span that most people who buy such compilations are going to want to zero in on, so what's the harm in the chronological limits? It can be taken for granted that a novelty compilation is going to have a lot of frivolous material and might be too much of a good thing all at once if you're not in a certain mood. But this is a pretty good assortment of cuts, usually with a strong or at least tenuous rock base, ranging from familiar classic smashes to some items that are seldom anthologized or played on oldies radio. Among the best familiar tunes are the Olympics' Coasters-like "Western Movies," Bill Parsons' Elvis Presley satire "The All-American Boy" (actually sung by future country star Bobby Bare), Jan & Dean's "Baby Talk," Johnny Bond's "Hot Rod Lincoln," and the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird." Among the most frivolous? Certainly Dickey Doo & the Don'ts' "Nee Nee Na Na Na Na Nu Nu" has marks to spare for qualification, as do Bob McFadden & Dor's "The Mummy" (written by Rod McKuen!), the Ran-Dells' outer-space doo wop takeoff "Martian Hop," the Pipkins' "Gimme Dat Ding," and Napoleon XIV's apocalyptic "They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!" As for the seldom-heard items, there's the Ivy Three's "Yogi," based on the Yogi Bear character and an actual (if quickly forgotten) Top Ten hit in 1960, the Daddy-O's' "Got a Match?," and the Peels' Chiquita Banana commercial spoof, "Juanita Banana." You also get Buchanan & Goodman's "The Flying Saucer, Pts. 1-2," a number three hit in 1956, but not often played these days due to its dated use of brief clips of early rock & roll hits in a simulated news report with mid-'50s topical references. The liner notes are learned and witty, something you can't expect as a given with these kind of reissues.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 04:21
2 02:21
3 02:27
4 03:01
5 02:24
6 02:17
7 02:09
8 01:55
9 02:46
10 02:47
11 02:44
12 02:36
13 03:05
14 02:12
15 02:01
16 03:23
17 02:00
19 02:13
20 03:09
21 03:04
22 02:13
23 02:01
24 02:04
25 02:08
blue highlight denotes track pick