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Judy In Disguise (with Glasses)

by

John Fred & His Playboy Band



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was a parody of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," which The Beatles released a year earlier. Instead of the psychedelic sound of the Beatles song, this was Bubblegum Pop, but with similarly obtuse lyrics. According to John Fred, John Lennon loved the song. Said Fred: "When I met John Lennon, that's the first thing he asked me. He thought it was great. He said the first thing he was going to do when he got home was write a song called 'Froggy in a Pond with Spectacles.'"
John Fred Gourrier was a star baseball and basketball player for Southeastern Louisiana University, where he went on scholarship. This was his only hit, but he did have some popular, non-parody songs in Louisiana with titles like "Up and Down," and "She Shot a Hole in My Soul." His song "Shirley" also did well locally, and was a #6 hit in the UK for Shakin' Stevens in 1982.

Following "Judy In Disguise (with Glasses)," Fred got a deal with UNI records, who also signed the unknown talents Neil Diamond and Elton John. His follow-up song was "Hey, Hey Bunny," which failed to chart. With the label putting most of their efforts into Elton John, Fred's career stalled. He worked for a record company for a while, in the early '80s returned to music, once again touring the south. He died on April 15, 2005 at age 63 due to complications from a kidney transplant.
John Fred came up with this song when he was touring southern states in 1967 behind his minor hit "Agnes English." He explained to One Shot magazine that he was looking for material for a follow up song when he found inspiration in the crowd. Said Fred: "We were playing in Florida and the girls at the time had these big old sunglasses. One of the guys was hustling this chick. She took off these glasses and she could stop a clock. I said, 'That's it.' That's what gave me the idea. I said, 'She's kind of in disguise.'"
At first, the girl in this song was named Beverly, but Fred changed it to Judy because it was much easier to sing and went along with the "Lucy" from the song he was parodying.
The lyric, "Cross your heart with a living bra" was very strange, but this was a strange song. Fred was writing lyrics while watching TV, and he cribbed the line from a Playtex commercial.
This song was also recorded by Tommy Roe.
Not everybody appreciated the fact that it was a parody. The comedian Dickie Henderson (1922-85) used it in his stand up routines, quoting the lyrics to ridicule '60s popular music. His favorite lines were: "Lemonade pie with a brand new car” and “Cross your heart with your living bra." (thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2)
John Fred & His Playboy Band
More John Fred & His Playboy Band songs
More songs with girls' names in the title

Comments (32):

This was NOT the group's only charted single. They had a minor hit with the song "Agnes English".
- Ken, Louisville, KY
On January 14th 1968, "Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)" by John Fred and the Playboy Man peaked at #1 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on November 19th, 1967 and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
The two weeks it was at #1 the record it held out of the top spot was "Chain of Fools" by Aretha Franklin (and it never did make #1)...
Note: "Hey Hey Bunny" did make the Top 100, it entered the chart on February 18th, 1968 at position #89 and peaked at #57.
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
What a fun song! I was 8 years old when this was #1 in 1968 & me and my 4 brothers loved its wildness. Such strange lyrics. And I've always wondered about that "moaning" that goes on in the song. I know there must have been lots of sexual innuendo throughout the lyrics, but that moaning! Oh, why was that in there? Anyone know? Perhaps something kinky was going on in the recording studio? Moaning...
- Rotunda, Tulsa, OK
Here on the last day of 2013, I heard this song again on an oldies radio station & it brought back good memories. I was having a ball in college in 1968, despite all the anti-war riots & political demonstrations on many college campuses. This wild song gave us some refuge from all that dissension. I always wondered about that MOANING going on in the mid-part of the song. What was it for? What was going on in the recording studio? Hmmmm? Maybe we shouldn't know???!!!
- Raunchy, Tulsa, OK
Rah rah's are shoes. Club Louisianne released "The Unreleased Masters" on John Fred in 2002. cd available at www.LouisianasMusic.com
- Johnny Palazzotto, Baton Rouge, LA
Has Anyone ever noticed how explicit this song is? I mean the Lyrics "Come to me tonight" and "Unzipper the strings of my kite" are obviously laced with Sexual innuendo and not to mention the pornographic sound effects that come before the first and last choruses. I'm surprised American radio stations didn't catch that when they heard the song.
- Sam Williams, Sherman Oaks, CA
This song was recorded at Robin Hood Studios in Tyler, Texas (still open and owned by Robin Hood Brians). Robin Hood Studios is where Joe Stampley and the Uniques, The Five Americans, Mouse and the Traps and even ZZ Top (first three albums) all recorded. It is legendary in Texas.
- coy, Palestine, TX
Here are some of what I thought the lyrics were (that are different from what you already got):
Take a look at fame in sight
And sit with the strings of my kite.
Judy in disguise
It's what you're aimin' for
The secondth of a holiday
Well that's what you are
You made me a laugh of matches
Guess I'll just take your glasses
- Jack, Longview , TX
Neil Diamond and Elton John weren't "unknowns" when signed by UNI?? Diamond had previously had a string of hit records with Bang Records and Elton John had a hit album in England. John Fred and the Playboy Band were a great group of professionals and had a very tight band. "Judy in Disquise" knocked the Beatles out of the number one spot on the charts. But since "Judy" was a novelty song no one would take the band serious. They were great live and really a blue eyed soul group bordering on jazz.
- coy, Palestine, TX
Have you noticed that the extended part of the bridge/"middle 8" in "Judy" (with the moaning over the ascending note) is similar (in a very abbreviated way) to the bridge in Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love"?
- Gerry, N. Massapequa, NY
I found a referece for the kite line that actually makes sense. " and zip up the strings of my kite."

Still pretty weird but makes more sense than unzipper
- allen, newark, CA
If you search lyrics for this song there seems to be two different versions, for at least three of the lines.

1) unzipper the strings of my kite Vs. except for the strings of my kites
2) chilly sweet sparrow with guise Vs. Chimney sweep sparrow with guise
3) you made me laugh about ya Vs. You made me a life of ashes.

There doesn't seeem to be any agreement from site to site and each site has different combinations of these choices.
to me 'Except for the strings of my kite 'makes more sense, but it sounds like he is saying 'unzipper' which doesnt make any sense.

I think "chilly sweet sparrow "makes more sense than "chimney sweep sparrow".

and niether "made me laugh about ya" or "made a life of ashes"
rhymes with take your glasses. I dont think either is right.
"Laugh about ya" makes more sense, but "ashes" comes closer to rhyming with glasses..
- allen, newark, CA
A really great more recent version of the song is available on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uweF6V-cv1M along with two of his other songs,

This was recorded by John Fred and his band later in his life.

this was released by the Lousiana music hall of fame. What a wonderful career he had making music through his whole life, even if he only had this one song that made the national charts.
- allen, newark, CA
Wikipedia defines Rah-Rah as a skirt warn by cheerleaders which became a popular style
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rah-rah_skirt
I always heard Rah-Rahs as a slang for a girls breasts, Maybe she has matured a bit since the last time he saw her... ??? Maybe thats why she's in disguise

I have no idea what he means by unzipper the strings of my kite. Anybody got any idea
- allen, newark, CA
i just realized i heard this song so much when i was little....and never understood what he said...still a good song
- Amanda, Gretna, VT
THIS IS one of the catchiest, irrepresible songs ever written.I love it every time i hear it.....I love the Beatles connexion..it is way cool.
- rod, Gainesville, FL
I remember being a very young child hearing this for the first time and thinking it was hilarious (hey, mentioning a bra in a song is hysterical to a 4-year-old). My sister (who is 13 years older than I) had made up hand motions for the song for me, including making glasses with her hands every time "...with glasses" came up in the song. I remember being thrilled when, for my 11th birthday, my sister gave me all of her 45s, with her original pressing of this included! I still have it, with its pink cameo label.
- Karen, Manchester, NH
A deceptively simplistic-sounding piece of work. It even manages a takeoff of the "ascending strings" from A Day in the Life. Years later, I'm still laughing.
- Ekristheh, Halath, United States
When the John Fred wrote this song, he thought that the Beatles song went "Lucy in disguise with diamonds". That lyric was not intended as part of the parody and by the time he found out how the Beatles song actually went, it was too late to change it. He still considers it a testament to his own stupidity. This is straight from his mouth.
- Robert, Denver, CO
You need to buy "The History of John Fred and His Playboy Band" There are so many good songs that would have been hits has they been promoted. You can read all the posts here you care to but you need to see the big picture. As catchy as Judy in Disguise is,it is by no means his best. Listen to "Up and Down, Sometimes You Just Can't Win, Agnes English and She Shot A Hole In My Soul". Amazing stuff was going on in Baton Rouge at the time.
- Adrian, Bogalusa, LA
To Jerry in Brooklyn: Back in the 60's rara's meant your saddle oxfords or the two tone shoes guys wore. The fraternity types. Button down shirts hanging out over starched white jeans. Dreamy! At least back then. Of course, this is if my memory serves me right. Any other guesses out there?
- Judy, New Orleans, LA
Sara , ever heard of a parody?
- Robbie, Augusta, GA
The buzzing sound that is at the beginning of the song and toward the end sounds just like my Jack LaLanne Juicer.
- Darrell, Eugene, United States
Wasn't the name of the band John Fred and his Playboy Band (to distinguish him from Gary Lewis and the Playboys)?
- Joe, ilton, MA
First off, to Jerry in Brooklyn. A "rara" is actually "rahs-rahs", which was a type of shoe worn by southern girls in the '60's. I guess it was shortened to rhyme with the "living bra" line in the song.

My first exposure to John Fred and his Playboy Band was in June, 1966 when I was 13 years old and they were the opening act for Herman's Hermits at a concert in New Orleans' City Park Stadium. They started out with a blistering version of Sam & Dave's "Hold On I'm Coming" and then launched into their original material. By the end of their set thirty minutes later, I and others were hooked. Even though I was too young to get into the lounges they played at, I hung around outside just so I could at least hear them play. And every now and then, they played some youth club dances so I was able to see them as well. They had a #1 song (pre-"Judy") along the Gulf Coast in 1967 called "Up & Down" that was also steadily rising on the R&B charts. But, when it was discovered that they were white, it was quickly pulled from black stations' playlists. This is documented in the book that comes with the "Absolutely the Best of John Fred & His Playboy Band" CD. This was when they made the decision to change from "Blue-Eyed Soul" to pop. But make no mistake, this was a very tight band and they deserved better than what they got. I guess that's just the breaks of the business. I'm just glad I got a chance to see and hear them when I did. Those were quite some times. R.I.P. John Fred Gourrier.
- GERRY, NEW ORLEANS, LA
I first heard this song on the radio yesterday, and I thought that he was saying "in the sky" instead of "in disguise". Being a really big Beatles fan, I didn't like the song because of all the similarities between this song and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I love that song and I think it's crazy that somebody tried to copy it! Marshmallow pies to lemonade pies, kaleidoscope eyes to cantaloupe eyes and diamonds to glasses... GEE, THAT'S ORIGINAL!!! And I must disagree with Zola... but suit yourself. But nothing is better than the original.
- Sara, Nashville, TN
"Keep a-wearing your bracelets and your new rara"? Anybody out there who can tell me what a "rara" is?
- Jerry, Brooklyn, NY
I heard Fred say in an interview that the first time he heard Lucy In The Sky w/Diamonds he THOUGHT it was "Lucy in disguise" (he might have misheard it cause he was in the shower or something) which he thought was a very cool idea, so when he found out it wasn't that, he decided to write a song based on what he originally thought he heard. I suppose the arrangement parodies the psychedelic sounds and orgasmic moans of Sgt. Pepper, but lyrically it has nothing to do with The Beatles but rather describes a woman's fascination with cosmetics and jewelry, which was what Fred thought The Beatles' song was about when he first misheard it.
- fyodor, Denver, CO
The song was originally titled "Beverly in Disguise" but John Fred changed it to the familiar title. Like me, he was very big into sports, since his father, fred Gourrier played in Detroit Tigers farm system. One of John Fred's post Playboy Band acheivements was when he wrote the song "Baseball at the Box" for the successful LSU baseball team.
- Howard, St. Louis Park, MN
Heres an interesting factoid!

In 1958,at age 17 John Fred recorded the song, "Shirley",an uptempo shuffle beat tune using the same musicians that Fats Domino had just wrapped up a session with, recording the Fats hit, "Whole Lotta Lovin'"
During the last few minutes of remaining session time,the band learned John Freds song & recorded it & did a quick yet tight take.
It was a minor hit in Louisianne.
He made a follow up,using the Jordainaires as back up singers on a decent ballad 45.

He & his own band,the Playboys paid a lot of dues as a popular party band till their big Top 40 moment!
Their follow up singles, "Agnes English" & "What Is Happiness" were minor but good tunes!

RIP John
- Steve, Salt Lake City, UT
His name: John Fred Gourrier not Gournier. The strings on this song are top-notch.
- Brandon, Ocala, FL
Much better and more fun than the Beatles song
- Zola, Dublin, OH
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