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
Have you ever heard these strange words being sung?
and dozy doats
and liddle lamzy divey.
A kiddley divey too,
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:
and sowzy tweet
and widdle sharkey doisters.”
“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
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
Woody Allen featured the song in 1987, in his movie, “Radio
Days.” This movie was about the history of songs, including
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
Hope this brought you a little nostalgia and a little
goofy smile to your face, too!