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The Best Novelty Songs Of All Time

A novelty song is simply a song that is “new or unusual”.

When we were putting together the list of our favorite novelty songs we opted to focus on those songs with some longevity that still works today rather than those which focused on current events or fads that no longer make any sense.

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini – Brian Hyland

This worldwide hit sold over a million copies in the U.S alone! It’s been covered many times but the original by Brian Hyland remains our favorite.

Just try not to sing out loud if you’re listening to this on headphones.

Listen to it here.

The Purple People Eater – Sheb Wooley

This song was inspired by a friend’s child’s joke.

We learn that the monster eats purple people but not whether or not the monster is, itself, purple as the song progresses.

“I said Mr. Purple People Eater, what’s your line?
He said eating purple people, and it sure is fine
But that’s not the reason that I came to land
I wanna get a job in a rock ‘n roll band”

Listen to it here.

Monster Mash – Bobby Boris Pickett

Bobby Pickett’s impersonation of the horror movie actor Boris Karloff is what makes this song about a mad scientists stand out from the pack.

It hit number one in the US and Canada and made the top 3 in the UK and Australia too.

Listen to it here.

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (A Letter From Camp Granada) – Allan Sherman

Hello Muddah, hello Fadduh.
Here I am at Camp Granada.
Camp is very entertaining.
And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining

This classic song was inspired by a complaint letter from an actual camp attendee and is set to the tune of the Dance of the Hours from the opera La Gioconda!

Listen to it here.

St. George And The Dragonet – Stan Freberg

This Dragnet-inspired satirical track sees the “hero” take on a dragon with a “dragon net”.

Apparently, it took ages to record this song because the trombone players couldn’t stop laughing at the jokes and this stopped them playing properly!

Listen to it here.

I Lost On Jeopardy – Weird Al Yankovic

Any song by Weird Al Yankovic could have made this list but it’s the second album from Weird Al Yankovic that produced this famous track that still works as well today.

Mainly, because Jeopardy is still on TV today.

Listen to it here.

Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor (On the Bedpost Overnight) – Lonnie Donegan

This 1959 smash hit is actually a cover of the 1924 song Does the Spearmint Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?

But it had to be changed to chewing gum as Spearmint is a registered trademark and without the change, the UK’s BBC wouldn’t play it on air!

Listen to it here.

The Streak – Ray Stevens

This song was inspired by the trend of “streaking” which is running through sporting events and other public events naked.

It’s a song about a man warning his wife not to look, as he streaks. And it’s uproariously funny. Ray Stevens is at his best here.

Listen to it here.

They’re Coming To Take Me Away Ha-Haaa – Napoleon XIV

This utterly odd record about a man being driven mad by a runaway dog is wonderful listening every time you hear it.

Listen to it here.

Leader Of The Laundromat – The Detergents

This spoof on the classic record “The Leader of the Pack” was a smash hit in the mid-60s.

We recommend you listen to the original if you haven’t heard it before, to properly appreciate this clever song.

Listen to it here.

Eat My Shorts – Rick Dees And His Cast of Idiots

The American humorist Rick Dees recorded his most famous number “Eat My Shorts” in a pre-Bart Simpson world.

It’s still very funny though.

Listen to it here.

Der Fuehrer’s Face – Spike Jones

And there really is nothing better in this world than mocking Hitler.

This song from 1943 was a Walt Disney number intended to thumb a nose at the German warmonger and it did fabulously.

Listen to it here.

It’s hard to know what, exactly, will stand the test of time but a great novelty song has a hint of something more than just a quick joke.

All of the songs above stand out because they’re timeless, so if you’re thinking of getting into novelty songwriting, keep that in mind if you want the royalties to keep flowing for decades to come.