The 1951 Rolling Review Show … # 76

The 1951 Rolling Review Show … # 76

Welcome to the 1951 Rolling Review Show which twice weekly features pieces of music I have enjoyed at some time in my life. I hope you enjoy them as well. Let me know if you do.

Today I am taking you beyond your comfort zone.

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“They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” – Napoleon XIV

 “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” is a 1966 novelty record by Jerry Samuels, recorded under the name Napoleon XIVand released on Warner Bros. Records. The song became an instant success in the United States, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 popular music singles chart on 13 August and reaching No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart.

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The flip or B-side of the single was simply the A-side played in reverse, and given the title “!aaaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er’yehT” (or “!AAAH-AH ،YAWA ƎM ƎʞAT OT ʚИIMOƆ ƎЯ’YƎHT”) and the performer billed as “VIX ИOƎ⅃OꟼAИ”. Most of the label affixed to the B-side was a mirror image of the front label (as opposed to simply being spelled backward), including the letters in the “WB” shield logo. Only the label name, disclaimer, and record and recording master numbers were kept frontward.

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The lyrics describe the effect on the mental health of an individual after a break-up. The main character seems to be addressing an ex-girlfriend, and describes his descent into madness after she has left him. And yes, before you ask … there was a backlash. It dropped rapidly down the charts in America because many radio programmers removed the song from their playlists, fearing an adverse reaction from people who might consider it to be ridiculing the mentally ill. I will leave you to decide for yourselves. You will find both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides featured below.

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15 responses to “The 1951 Rolling Review Show … # 76

  1. I remember it so well. Never bought it because I thought it was rather silly,but did enjoy the overall humor in the performance. As for being offensive? I remember mild concerns being expressed (in UK)… but no more than those of Peter Sellers doing his East-Indian/Pakistani impersonations. Most people that I knew just saw it all as harmless humor, along with all the “Irish jokes”!

  2. Brilliant a blast from the past. I just had to play the b side too… my husb has gonecback to bed clutching his head 😯😐😕 p.s. you should have held off on this for all hallows night. 😆😇

  3. I’ve heard this before somewhere. Goodness only knows where, though, since it was released the year before I was born. I’d put it in the “interesting to listen to” category, but I’m not sure I’d dance to it. 🙂

  4. Oh boy… that’s one looney tune, HA HAAA! 😉
    Interesting to hear both sides plus background info 🙂 💜 ❤

  5. 1966 eh, 15 years old and enjoying the music. This was a great slice of humour rammed onto a record and seem to remember other goodies around the same time like the humour of Peter Sellers and the total change of musical style of The New Vaudeville Band ( sung through a megaphone). A lot wouldn’t be PC anymore but I’m glad I didn’t miss it.
    Hugs

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