Editorial: The Novelty of Novelty Songs

Vamers-FIY-Ermahgerd-What-does-the-Fox-say-Ylvis-has-the-answer-Main-by Dale Y the Green Guy
Novelty songs have been around almost as long as music. They generally have a good beat behind them, but the lyrics are playful, nonsense or just plain daffy. Sometime they speak about a specific situation, sometimes they are about social fads and sometimes they are just goofy with no other reason than to BE goofy!
Perhaps the first recognized novelty song is a tune by Cab Calloway and his band the Harlemaniacs. This was done in about 1931, and fittingly, the song is about smoking weed, of all things. It’s actually not a bad tune, overall, but it’s probably something that you wouldn’t want your kids to listen to, especially the last spoken verse of, “Pass that thing, slightly, lightly and politely.”
Here is cab Calloway and “The Reefer Man.”

Cab Calloway – Reefer Man (Best HQ) by Bodhisattva1956
Moving along to the 60’s, a band called The Trashmen, heard a song on the radio somewhere, but couldn’t remember the lyrics. They decided to ad lib most of it, more or less as a joke at a party gig one night. A local DJ heard their version, and because the beat and the melody were catchy, he convinced them to actually record it.
The song became a huge success, but it was so bizarre that no other band members, save the lead singer, wanted to go near it and do a live version. You’ll understand why when you see the video. But money talks, and the kid doing the “Surfin’ Bird” probably laughed all the way to the bank.

Back in the day, a phenomenon occurred throughout the world called streaking. It was simply, taking off your clothes and running around naked in a public place. (My guess is that massive alcohol consumption had something to do with it.) Many public events were “streaked” during that time, from the Academy Awards to NBA basketball games, live television shows and uncountable public events. It died out about as quickly as it appeared, but a guy named Ray Stevens immortalized that fad with a song called “The Streak.”

That brings us all the way to today. A couple of Norwegian talk show hosts, brothers with the last name of Ylvis, came up with a novelty song unlike any of the others. It went viral in September of 2013, became a monster song, and the brothers have toured the world singing this novelty on TV shows and in concert. It’s the latest of the novelty song genre’, and it is as strange and goofy as anything else out there.
Here is Ylvis and “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)

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