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Music Monday on Tuesday: Alley Oop

I was going to write about something different for Music Monday—a terrific song came up yesterday that I suspect most of y’all haven’t heard of—but then I found out something truly shocking: the lyrics in “Alley Oop” call the titular caveman a mean motor-scooter. I mean, really? This would have been in something like 1960. OK, I looked it up, it was written in 1957. I suppose (actually, I’ve just spent, like, twenty minutes doing internet research) that B.B. King’s “Mother Fuyer” was contemporary (it was actually an older song, recorded by “Dirty” Red Nelson in 1947), but still, this was a popular song about a popular comic strip. And, you know, popular with white people.

So the Beach Boys and all of those other bands that covered this novelty song called Alley Oop a mean motherfucker (at least notionally) on commercial radio? Alley Oop? The Beach Boys?

Sometimes I wonder about that whole parallel universe thing that sometimes leaks through.

Oh, and yes, I discovered this whilst listening to a collection of 50s novelty tunes that was packaged specifically for youngsters.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


"Motor-Scooter" is a pretty effective piece of spuck-feak if the goal is to make sure the kids don't figure it out. I listened to "Alley Oop" a bunch of times when I was 10-12 years old, going through my fifties music phase. Knew the lyrics to the song by heart (mostly still do, if I stop to think about it), and the idea that this was a stand-in for mother fucker never occurred to me until this post. Not that I had given the lyrics much thought in the last 28 years or so, but still.

So, it's still not a bad song for kids, as long as their parents don't set them wise.

Are you serious that the Beach Boys covered Alley Oop?? It's not their sound at all . . .

The only version I know is the original recording by the Hollywood Argyles.

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