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November 30: Allan Sherman

November 30, 2010

album_Allan-Sherman-My-Son-the-Folk-SingerAllan Sherman, one of the creative kings of low-brow comedy, was born on this date in 1924. His 1962 debut song-parody record, My Son, the Folksinger, became the fastest-selling album, with a million copies snatched up, until the Beatles broke out the following year. Sherman’s strength was in setting silly lyrics to classical music (as in “Hello Muddah, hello Faddah, here I am at Camp Granada...” — a #2 hit on the charts in 1963)) and writing spoofs that attached a suburban, assimilationist Jewish sensibility to songs. His parody of “Frere Jacques,” “Sarah Jackman” (“Sarah Jackman, Sarah Jackman, how’s by you?”) became a smash hit after President Kennedy was spotted in a hotel lobby singing it. Even while Sherman was sued several times by the creators of the material he parodied, he produced several more successful novelty records. He also conceived and produced the hit CBS television show, I’ve Got a Secret, which was on the air for more than fifteen years. Sherman ended his life, however, sick with diabetes, divorced, and living on unemployment insurance before dying of emphysema at the age of 48.

“Dearest Faddah... darling Muddah... How’s my precious little bruddah? ... Let me come home if you miss me...” —Allan Sherman

Allan Sherman mixes it up with Dean Martin and Vic Damone in a medley of Shermanesque parodies: