When I was growing up the radio was a diverse cross-cultural melting pot of styles and genres. We listened to AM on our little transistor radios and the majority of stations were Top 40, playing songs of the wide-ranging tastes of the public at the time (the splintering of the music scene was still several years in the future). You could hear a Motown song followed by a country song followed by adult contemporary followed by the British Invasion. One minute the Supremes were leading into Johnny Cash, who led into Dean Martin then along came the Rolling Stones for example.
Now most of these styles are represented on their own stations instead of all on one. Rock stations, country stations, R&B stations, nearly every style imaginable has its own station, but one genre of music is missing. Fun songs. The last truly fun song I can remember hearing on the radio was “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” (and don’t worry, I won’t play it). Or, if you consider it fun and not just stupid, “Achy Breaky Heart.”
But back in the 1960s, fun songs were just as likely to be on the airwaves as any other more serious genre. But, for whatever reasons, these songs have disappeared from the scene. I say it’s for the worse. Songs don’t always need to be serious.
So in that vein, here’s a selection of fun songs from those more innocent times.
Let’s start off with Snoopy. Why not? Everyone loves Snoopy. Here are the Royal Guardsmen with their hit, “Snoopy and the Red Baron.” It reached #2 on the Billboard Top 100 and #6 on the UK charts.
Many fun songs told a story. This one tells a story about summer camp. It’s Allan Sherman’s “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.” It reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963.
Here is Napoleon XIV with “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Hahaaa.” It reached #3 in 1966.
This song by Larry Verne reached #1 in 1960. It’s a soldier pleading not to have to go fight, called “Mr. Custer.
One song that has become a holiday favorite, hit #1 in 1962, then charted again later that year, in 1970, and in 1973. Strangely, the song was banned from airplay by the BBC until 1973 for being “too morbid.” That song, “The Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt Kickers.
And of course, no list of fun songs would be complete without this song that hit #15 in 1984. It’s not from my childhood but it’s an homage to my childhood heroes. Here’s Jump ‘N the Saddle Band with “The Curly Shuffle.”
Hope these songs gave you a chuckle.