Nonsensical Song


Who would have thought that a nonsensical song, which some

of you may remember, made it to the top 75 in 100 Top Pop

songs? It came out in 1943, but our 60th Anniversary of

making it to the awesome place of Number One, was in March,

1944. Also, this crazy song was used as an eerie chant, in a

2000 horror flick. Read more to find out the name of the song,

and other amazing ways a nonsensical song, literally, ‘traveled

the world…’

Have you ever heard these strange words being sung?

“Mairzy doats

and dozy doats

and liddle lamzy divey.

A kiddley divey too,

wooden shoe.”

How many of you are ‘raising your hand’ out there?

I was talking to a dear, old friend who was giving me

examples of songs ‘today’ that don’t make any sense.

I had to laugh and ask her,

“Have you every heard of the song, ‘How Much is That

Doggy in the Window?’ or how about, ‘Mairzy Doats?'”

She claims she had never heard of this riotous and whimsical

song from back in the forties, used in the fifties and even,

as mentioned above, made it to the Top Pop charts and into many

movies, including a 2000 horror cult film!

There is a middle part of the song, called the ‘bridge’ in

the song written in 1943, by Milton Drake, Al Hoffman and

Jerry Livingston. In this section of the lyrics, you hear

the correct phrasing and wording of the song:

“If the words sound queer and funny to your ear,

a little bit jumbled and divey, sing–

Mares eat oats,

Does eat oats,

and little lambs eat ivy.”

According the song’s historical background, one fine day Milton

Drake’s 4 year old daughter came home singing another distorted

version of a song… It went like this:

“Cowzy tweet

and sowzy tweet

and widdle sharkey doisters.”

This means,

“Cows eat wheat

and sows eat wheat

and little sharks eat oysters.”

Clarity, at last! Right?!

These all could have come from nursery rhymes, one

source supposes.

Anyway, in 1943, the original song was played on a radio

station in New York City. It was performed by “Al Trace

and His Silly Symphonists.”

The next year, in 1944, the “Merry Macs” took it to number

one in March. That is our 60th Anniversary band that sang

the song to the Top of the Billboard charts!

Later versions of the song are so interesting, hope that

you may find them amusing also. In 1958, a New Orleans

rhythm and blues artist, Tommy Ridgely, sang this with

a whole different pace and tune!

In 1963, Carlos Mastrangelo of the band, “The Belmonts,”

gave it an ‘up tempo’ beat and they performed a rock and

roll version of “Mairzy Doats.”

In 1967, a group called, “The Innocence,” got the song to

become #75 in the Pop Top 100 of Karma Sutra Records.

Spike Jones was among several other artists who covered

the song, “Mairzy Doats,” who substituted sound effects

for the food items! What an ingenious idea! Sounds kind

of ‘gross’ to me!

The song had its first appearance in a 1944 movie, where

Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy fame) sang it in, “The

Big Noise.”

Woody Allen featured the song in 1987, in his movie, “Radio

Days.” This movie was about the history of songs, including

ridiculous ones.

Shari Lewis, (this may have been who ‘taught’ me this song!)

included “Mairzy Doats,” in her record, “Lamb Chop’s Play-


Two British versions have appeared throughout the song’s

history. It was featured on the BBC radio show called,

“I’m Sorry I Haven’t Got a Clue.” A group called, “Graeme

Garden,” sang it and the joke was, ‘Are they speaking


In 1965, the WWII suspense movie, “36 Hours,” with James

Garner acting in it, included the silly song, too.

On “M*A*S*H” television show, Alan Alda used the song as

a joke, teaching the Koreans an “English lesson” and

recited it, as Hawkeye Pierce. It was also used on the

show as part of a spy code.

Another television show, which was a type of mystery,

in and of itself, “Twin Peaks,” featured the song sung

with a sinister twist.

This must have inspired the horror cult favorite, “The

Cell,” (2000). This was its last usage, so far, of the

confusing and wacky song, “Mairzy Doats.”

Sometimes the way the world works, where magnificent

music takes ‘back stage’ to such songs, amazes and

baffles me…

Hope this brought you a little nostalgia and a little

goofy smile to your face, too!


40 responses »

    • You are most welcome for the memories, Jill! such a nice thing that she used to sing that song to you for a long time. And that you had her for 48 years, too. Take care and hugs, Robin

      • She’s a true life friend. When I talk to her either on the phone or in person, it’s like going back in time. It’s pretty incredible.
        Here’s to life long friendship!

  1. Oh my gosh, my a Dad use to sing that song to us kids….we’d just laugh and giggle and so would he. Thanks for bringing back that great memory, I haven’t thought about that time in quite awhile.

    • I love this addition to my post, Belle! I apologize for this belated comment! I was exploring and looking for a few more recent followers that had disappeared, sure enough! I found them all in my ‘pending approval’ dungeon! I don’t know why a wordpress to a wordpress needs approval when we have followed each other from awhile back… Sorry this is belated but hope this finds you having an amazing June! Smiles, Robin

    • Thanks, Teela! A treasure hunt to find out it started with a child who couldn’t enunciate the words, then the song began to come to fruition and animals eating different items! Things are so crazy when they go from point A to Z! Smiles, Robin

  2. I recall images of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby singing Mairzy Doats in a movie. I had to look it up. It was “Hollywood Singing and Dancing: A Musical History”. Singing that song as a kid reminded me of the classic songs like “Daisy, Daisy”, “Oh You Beautiful Doll”, “Five Foot Two” and others by singing along with the bouncing ball on cartoons. Those songs are still in my head. I am glad I was not too self-conscious to sing along in my young childhood. 🙂 – Mike

    • I remember this idea of the bouncing ball accompanying songs. Was it for intermissions during movies? I somehow wonder if that is how karaoke came about? This was a great set of comments, since you added movie references and other slightly silly songs that are part of our memories! Thanks, Mike! Smiling back at you!

      • The bouncing ball songs were part of cartoons that played on our local children’s shows when I was a kid, and yes, they would have been exactly like singing karaoke! 🙂

    • I like this version, maybe this is the way it should be! Thanks, Elizabeth! It is amazing how songs are created and we follow along, sometimes not really understanding why!! Hugs, Robin

  3. That’s pretty much the first song I remember from my childhood! I remember me and my sister listening to that song on a record player (yes, some of you younger folks will need to google that term) over and over again. Thanks again for the memories!

    • I still have my 45 record player that I babysat for a week, back in the 90’s to have a man fix it for me! I also have an old record with the song, “The Teddy Bear Picnic” on it! We have some shared great music and fun memories!

      • Oh Right! The Teddy Bears Picnic…I always liked it, but at the same time it scared me:-) “If you go down in the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise” How scary is that:-)

  4. Reminds me of when I was singing with the Chancel Choir at the First Presbyterian Church in Bryan, Texas, from 1983-1993. On the first Sunday of each month, the Choir took requests. One time a little boy about five or six raised his hand. His request was for us to sing “Lead On Oh Kinky Turtle.” Of course, it was “Lead On Oh King Eternal,” and we sang it for him.

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