Alley Oop
04 Sep
Not in Hall of Fame
July 11 – 17, 1960
The Hollywood Argyles
Alley Oop

Long before I had the idea for this anthology for reasons that have long escaped me I told my wife there was once a number one song called Alley Oop”.[1]  She didn’t believe me, implying that no song with a name as stupid as that could possibly be successful as understand, she only likes love songs and boy bands, so if a song doesn’t the word “love” in the title, it probably isn’t good in her eyes.  Rather than prove it via the Internet, I let her talk to my dad who lived through the hits of the early 60’s and listened to him sing it…well just the “Alley Oop Oop Oop Oop Oop” part anyway.  Now I can’t blame her for not knowing this song as this came from a comic strip that isn’t popular anymore and hasn’t been in years, though come to think of it with the way newspapers are dying, what comic strip will be around in a decade?   

Alley Oop was about a time travelling caveman who rode his pet dinosaur and at one time was a very popular comic strip in the newspaper.[2]  The song was originally written and performed by a country musician named Dallas Frazier, who would write a lot of hit songs, though they wound up being hits for other people, one of them would be future famed producer, Kim Fowley.[3]

Fowley would become most closely associated with the all girl punk rock group he put together in the 1970’s, The Runaways, and would also be known for a successful string of novelty hits that he wrote and produced.[4]  In 1960, he wasn’t yet a widely known commodity and was good friends with a man named Gary Paxton, who Fowley produced two Top Twenty hits in 1959 when he was half of Rockabilly duo, Skip & Flip; incidentally he was “Flip”. 

Now we know that Fowley, Paxton and session drummer, Sandy Nelson (the same guy who was on Phil Spector’s Teddy Bears hit) were there but depending on whom you believe the story changes a little bit.  Nelson alleges that everybody was drunk when recording it, while Paxton seems to refute it alleging a more serious session but they would agree that the name the group was for an intersection they could see out the window, Hollywood and Argyle.[5] 

Either way the song was a surprise hit attributed to a band that really didn’t exist so when people tried to book the Argyles it would be Paxton and whomever he could dig up to perform.  A few other songs would be credited to the “group” but there was really no follow up, not did anyone expect there to be…unless they wanted to tackle Hagar the Horrible.

Other Notable Songs that charted but did not go to number one in this time period: July 11, 1960 – July 17, 1960.


[1] Maybe I have had this book idea a lot longer than I thought as why else what I bring this up in random conservation?

[2] Personally, I have generally disliked prehistoric and pop culture.  This includes the Flintstones (not funny), this song and the film, Quest for Fire.  I did however like Ringo Starr’s so bad it’s good film, “Caveman”, which I realize takes me out of being contention as a pop culture expert.

[3] Other than “Alley Oop”, Frazier wrote “Elvira”, the song that would become synonymous with the Oak Ridge Boys.

[4] Actually he was probably more known just for being strange.

[5] Is it completely wrong that I just want it to be true that they really were drunk off their ass?  It makes for a far better story.
Last modified on Monday, 04 September 2017 15:26

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