These titles are examples of “comic” songs that were popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their topics range from songs about well known comedians of the time to political humor. 

Those Charlie Chaplin Feet

Title: Those Charlie Chaplin Feet
Composer: Archie Gottler
Publisher: New York : Maurice Abrahams Music Co.
Date: c1915
Find the Sheet Music Here
 
What’s it about?
This song is a tribute to the giant feet that Charlie Chaplin became famous for. His size 14 shoe gets him into loads of trouble, and hilarity ensues. 
 
Lyrics:
“Those Charlie Chaplin feet,
Those funny Chaplin feet,
When he comes down the street
He makes a cop flop,
They chase him ’round the town,
An auto knocks him down,
Poor Charlie,
Twenty times a day they spill him,
But they never kill him,
Like a bug
He gives the girls a hug,
And when he stubs his toes
And bangs his nose,
You’ll tumble from your seat,
One fat lady that I saw
Got a dislocated jaw,
Laughing at those Charlie Chaplin feet.”
 

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 10.39.39 AM

 Title: Arrah Go on I’m Gonna Go Back to Oregon
Composer: Bert Grant
Publisher: New York : Waterson, Berlin & Snyder Co.
Date: c1916
Find the Sheet Music Here
 
What’s it about?
Pat McCarty left his farm in Oregon to go see New York City. After he arrived all he wanted was to go back to Oregon where everything is cheaper. Pat just wasn’t cut out for life in the big city. 
 
Lyrics: 
“Pat McCarty, hale and hearty, Living in Oregen,
Heard a lot of talk about the great New York;
He left the farm, where all was calm and landed on old Broadway,
He coaxed a little Mary Ann into a swell cafe.
The waiter brought the card and said, ‘what will you have’ to Pat;
Then Pat looked at the prices and he said ‘I’ll have me hat.’”
 
 
You Ain't Talking to Me 1
Title: You Ain’t Talking to Me
Composer: Shelton Brooks
Publisher: Chicago, Ill. : Will Rossiter
Date: c1908
Find the Sheet Music Here
 
What’s it about?
 The man in the song plays tricks on his parents, gets an illness only a cold bath can cure, changes his mind about marrying a woman because she has ten kids, won’t saw wood for a lady who provided him dinner, and refuses to commit suicide with his wife. Each situation leaves him saying, “you ain’t talking to me.” Except everyone was, indeed, talking to him. 
 
Lyrics:
“You ain’t talking to me,
You ain’t talking to me,
I may be foolish and all of that,
But that’s not my fault you see,
You ain’t talking to me,
You ain’t talking to me,
To the woodshed we’d repair,
Papa spanked me you know where,
No, you ain’t talking to me.”
 
 
 
   
Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 11.58.49 AM
 Title: Since Mother Goes to Movie Shows
Composer: Albert Von Tilzer
Publisher: New York : Broadway Music Corp.
Date: c1916
Find the Sheet Music Here 
 
What’s it about?
Mother becomes a big fan of the movies and decides to go there all the time instead of doing the cooking and cleaning. Her child becomes bitter that he and his father are left to do all this womanly work. They don’t miss her so much as they miss all the work she does for them. So can anyone really blame mother for wanting to have a good time instead of being taken for granted?
 
Lyrics: 
“We are in an awful stew,
All the cooking we must do,
And the wash and ironing too,
‘Cause we’ve lost dear mother,
Brush that tear drop from your eye,
There’s no reason you should cry,
Mother darling didn’t die,
She’s hardly ever home,
She says as how she’s busy now,
And goes out if you please,
The fam’ly cat is not so fat,
And Fido’s full of flees.
Since mother goes to movie shows,
Ev’ry thing is on the blink,
Dishes dirty in the sink,
Since mother goes to movie shows.”
 
 
Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 11.55.42 AM
Title: Mr. Hoover and Mr. Smith: A Non-Partisan Comedy Song
Composer: Robert King
Publisher: New York : Shapiro, Bernstein & Co.
Date: c1928
Find the Sheet Music Here
 
What’s it about?
This political comedy is about the 1928 presidential election between Herbert Hoover and Al Smith. The song portrays the listener as seeing the two candidates in a dream giving backhanded comments to one another about their campaign issues. 
 
Lyrics:
“Who’s the grandest greatest man
This country ever knew?
Oh! It’s you, Mister Hoover,
No, it’s you, Mister Smith,
Excepting Georgie Washington,
He was a good man, too,
He’s not running, Mister Hoover,
What a break, Mister Smith,
Are you dry? You can’t remember!
But you’ll know-know-know in November?
Well, anyhow you’ll get one vote,
Because I’ll vote for you,
Be yourself, Mister Hoover,
Keep the change, Mister Smith.”
 
 
Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 6.13.11 PM
Title: She’s Back Among the Pots and Pans Again
Composer: Seymour Furth 
Publisher: New York : W. Jerome Pub. Corp.
Date: c1917
Find the Sheet Music Here
 
What’s it about?
Bridget McCann just wasn’t cut out to be a movie star, her face was too big for the screen among other reasons, so she had to go back to work in the kitchen. 
 
Lyrics: 
“Bridget McCann wasn’t made for moving picture shows,
Her face it wouldn’t fit upon the screen,
Sure her head it was too fat to wear Mary Pickford’s hat,
Every time she posed she broke a new machine,
Bridget McCann had a fight with her director,
Got mad and whipped a dozen picture men,
Some one threw a custard pie,
And struck her in the eye,
Now she’s back among the pots and pans again.”

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 6.02.01 PMTitle: I’m Such a Naughty Kid: Comic Song and Dance
Composer: George Schleiffarth
Publisher: New York : S. Brainard’s Sons Co.
Date: c1894
Find the Sheet Music Here
 
What’s it about?
This kid terrorizes his family and others around him but “plays off like a sweet young lamb” to fool everyone into thinking he’s not the absolute worst. 
 
Lyrics: 
“I’m such a naughty kid, I am,
But oh, I have such loads of fun,
I play off like a sweet young lamb,
To fool most anyone,
I’m worse than any crack of doom,
I keep them in a stew,
You’d better give me lots of room,
You can’t tell what I’ll do.”
 

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 2.05.43 PM

Title: My First Music Lesson: New Comic Song
Composer: Will Lamartine Thompson
Publisher: East Liverpool, Ohio : W. L. Thompson & Co.
Date: c1880
Find the Sheet Music Here
 
What’s it about?
The child’s mother thinks she needs to learn how to sing and play the piano. After the lesson the child asks the teacher what a rest is and closes by exclaiming, “I jump’d up from the music stool, and I’ve been resting ever since.” See what she did there?
 
Lyrics:
“This exercise I then went thro’,
As all beginners have to do,
I sang so high that my voice broke down,
And I drove the neighbors out of town.
I warbled high, says he,
‘You’re sharp, just come a little down,’
My Ma chimed in and says,
‘You’re right, she’s the sharpest girl in town,’
‘Now teacher what’s this little scroll?’
‘Why that my dear’s a rest,’
I jump’d up from the music stool
(spoken) and I’ve been resting ever since.”
 
 
I'd Like to Fish With the President! : The Funny Song that Makes "Cal" Laugh!
Title: I’d like to Fish With the President! : The Funny Song that Makes Cal Laugh : Easy Ukulele Arrangement
Composer: Leslie O. Reed
Publisher: Chicago : Gene Gamble, Inc.
Date: c1927
Find the Sheet Music Here
 
What’s it about?
A farmer wants to fish with president Calvin Coolidge, make him jealous at how good he is at catching trout, and then hopefully folks would build a monument for him. This guy dreams big. 
 
Lyrics
“I’d like to fish with the president,
I’d like to show him what fishin’ meant,
I’d try a scheme that never fails,
I’d put some salt right on their tails,
I’d make them Black Hill fish feel blue,
Bet I’d make Cal jealous too,
The folks would build me a monument,
I’d like to fish with the President.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *