The 10 Best Allan Sherman Songs of All Time

Allan Copelon, better known as Allan Sherman, is a man who will never be forgotten due to his way of bringing joy to anyone who listens to him. He was so talented with words that his friends urged him to sign with Warner Bros. Within three weeks of the release of his first album, Sherman had sold at least 65,000 copies every week. This was quite the feat, making the album the fastest-selling at the time. With so many Allan Sherman songs to choose from, here are some of his best.

10. Crazy Downtown

“Crazy Downtown” is a parody version of “Downton” by Petula Clark. Clark sings that whenever you are lonely, all you need is to go downtown to lift your spirits. Sherman’s version is about a couple who prefers seeing their kids going downtown so they can have some time alone. The parents, however, get worried about what their teenagers are up to downtown, but the kids are never forthcoming. They forbid their kids from going out when they call to report a collision. The parents decide to go downtown to have a good time.

9. Sarah Jackman

When Sherman collected his unemployment check one night, he decided to use the money to record his first album, “My Son, the Folk Singer.” Among the tracks in this album was “Sarah Jackman,” whose tune he borrowed from “Frere Jacques,” a popular French nursery rhyme. Its popularity rose when people heard President John F. Kennedy singing the tune as he hurried through the Carlisle Hotel lobby. In the song, Sherman talks to a girl on the phone, asking about how she has been, and she gets him up to speed with all that has been going on in her family.

8. 12 Days of Christmas

According to the Catholic News Agency, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a Christmas carol with a hidden meaning. It was allegedly composed as a catechism song at a time when Catholics could not openly practice their faith. The article goes ahead to list what each of the numbers represents, adding that “true love” stands for Jesus Christ. Sherman has his version of the carol and of course, it has tongue-in-cheek lyrics to keep his audience laughing.

7. Shake Hands with Your Uncle Max

Those who have to travel frequently for long periods can relate to this song, which tells how being on the road keeps you away from your family. Sherman sings that his job entails selling plastics, which he packs in his car and travels from place to place to find customers. It can be a long time until the season ends, but once it is over, he goes back home. It appears that he has been on the road for too long since his mother has to introduce his family members to him, who eagerly wait for him at home.

6. You Went the Wrong Way, Old King Louie

According to the lyrics in this song, King Louie XVI was the worst King of France. Sherman explains how Louie the Sixteenth was so bad that people had him and his wife executed. Although he uses snarking remarks such as the poor leadership was expected from someone who wore pink satin pants and silk stockings, the message is home. King Louie XVI watched the citizens go hungry and remain poor yet he wanted more money from them in the form of taxes. They had no choice but to execute him.

5. Good Advice

Someone once said that good advice is beyond all price and Sherman seems to agree in this song. For those who would like some history and physics lessons on the discovery of various things like gravity and the telephone, the lyrics serve as a teacher. Sherman uses the song to inform his audience how some scientists and historical figures discovered what they are famously known for, though the singer uses a bit of humor. In the song, he presents himself as the character who gives the scientists the good advice that leads to the discovery though it is farfetched considering he was not alive at the time. Still, “Good Advice” affords great lessons.

4. One Hippopotami

If you ever thought the English language was confusing, wait until you hear this song “One Hippopotami.” Sherman’s mastery of singulars and plural is impressive and when he combines it with his satirical genius, the song becomes a masterpiece. He mentions that two doctors would be a pair of docs, which he pronounces as “paradox” so you have to be aware of the witty lyrics.

3. My Zelda

Harry Belafonte released “Matilda’ and it became the song that would captivate his audience as they got to participate. Sherman recorded his parody of the song and released “My Zelda,” which carries the same message. Just like Belafonte whose woman took his money and ran away to Venezuela; Sherman’s woman took his money and ran with the tailor. He sings how the tailor hurt his pride by making Sherman’s lapels an inch wider. Although Zelda carried seven books of green stamps, what Sherman regrets the most is that she took his money and ran off to be with another man.

2. Harvey and Sheila

Harvey and Sheila is a parody of “Hava Nagila” which Abraham Zvi Idelsohn recorded in 1918. According to Tablet Magazine, Idelhson intended to refashion the Jewish religious culture into new secular traditions. In “Harvey and Sheila” Sherman describes how the couple met, fell in love, and settled to raise their family. He satirically ends the song, saying that the story could only happen in the United States.

1. Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh

This song peaked at No.2 on Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it stayed for three weeks. In the song, Sherman’s character is a little boy whose parents sent him to camp and he wishes he could go back home. He writes a letter complaining about all that is happening in the camp, but by the end of the letter, asks the parents to disregard it because he has finally found something interesting. According to the Los Angeles Times, the song is an autobiography of Sherman’s stay at Camp Champlain.

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