Who out there has heard of Dickie Goodman?
Well, that’s kind of my point. While Weird Al Yankowhatizface and Dr. Demento are often attributed as being pioneers in the music parody business there’s no doubt in my mind that they owe a debt of gratitude to Dickie Goodman. His shtick was that he would act as a "reporter” and ask questions and the responses from the "people" he was interviewing would be lines taken from the pop songs of the day. His fist release entitled “Flying Saucer” in the 1950’s was a minor hit and for his efforts he was sued by 17 different labels for his “inventive” sampling techniques and actually won the case, the judge citing that he had indeed “created a new, unique work of art”. I can remember back when tape recorders were fairly new my cousin and I would spend entire days making our own cut'n'paste versions of Goodman's recordings. It was painstaking! Coming up with the 'script', voicing each bit and then adding the appropriate "musical answer", hitting pause, voice another bit, add another sample of music, etc etc. It was a lot of work, but when it was done we were proud little 11 year olds, let me tell you!
He continued to make novelty hit after novelty hit (come on, you MUST remember “Batman And His Grandmother” from the 60’s) eventually reaching his creative and commercial peak with 1975’s “Mr. Jaws”, which parodied such acts as 10cc and WAR among many others. It sold over 500,000 copies and was Goodman’s only certified Gold record.
He made one other worthwhile recording (1977’s “Kong”), which was his last single to chart. After that he disappeared and didn’t reappear until his death in 1987 of an apparent suicide.
Thankfully the wonderful Rhino Records has started releasing compilations of Goodman’s works, and such unlikely celebrities as Howard Stern has continued to keep his memory alive with similar parodies on his radio shows over the years. Sure, upon reexamination his stuff now seems quaint, but back then it was subversive...and a little bit naughty.
Here's his most famous 'bit' for your listening pleasure:
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