Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor (On The Bedpost Over Night)

Album: Doctor Demento 20th Anniversary Collection (1961)
Charted: 3 5
  • Holy Bubblicious, Batman, how'd a song with a messed-up title like this ever make it on the charts? Well, the truth is that the deeper you probe into this song's history, the weirder it gets. It's actually a rewrite/cover of an earlier song, "Does The Spearmint Lose its Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight?" by The Happiness Boys in 1924. Lonnie Donegan simply rewrote it, in part because the word "Spearmint" is trademarked in the UK.

    We'll get back to Lonnie Donegan in a minute, but first, The Happiness Boys. They had a radio program in the 1920s which was the bee's knees. I mean it could really knock your socks off, yep, it was the cat's pajamas... ahem. Anyway, they were Billy Jones and Ernie Hare, and their name comes from having been sponsored by a chain of candy stores called "Happiness Candy." Their entire gig was novelty songs. Modern audiences might most closely relate them with William Frawley's character Fred Mertz on the vintage TV show I Love Lucy - same Vaudeville-era style of humor and music. The Happiness Boys were also released on quite a few records of the Edison Records "Diamond Disc" label. What we're saying is, if you have a box of these guys in the attic from grandma's collection, you're probably sitting on a fortune.

    For comparison, here's a YouTube we found of "A Gay Caballero" by The Happiness Boys. We dare you to go into a modern music store and ask for it out loud.
  • As for Lonnie Donegan, you've barely heard of him today, but The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums says, "Donegan was Britain's most successful and influential recording artist before The Beatles. He chalked up 24 successive Top-30 hits, and was the first UK male to score two US Top 10s." Not only that, he was regarded as "the king of skiffle." We already told you about skiffle music in our article on obscure niche music genres, but we'll remind you that John Lennon was influenced by skiffle and his first band was a skiffle group.
  • Of course, the only reason this song is well-known in modern circles is because of the mighty Doctor Demento, radio patron saint of novelty songs. And this was one of the earlier songs in his regular rotation, playing over 50 times during the show's run.
  • Grammar geeks, before you rush to comment, the loose apostrophe it's in the title is how the song is named. We know that the possessive case of "its" does not get an apostrophe, in order to distinguish it from the contraction for "it is."

Comments: 1

  • Michael from Mcfarland, WiThe Happiness Boys recorded on most labels in the 1920s era, some under pseudonyms. They are not worth a fortune, and can usually be purchased in online auctions for under $15. Their entertainment value, however, is priceless.....
see more comments

TV Theme SongsFact or Fiction

Was a Beatles song a TV theme? And who came up with those Fresh Prince and Sopranos songs?

RamonesFact or Fiction

A band so baffling, even their names were contrived. Check your score in the Ramones version of Fact or Fiction.

Keith Reid of Procol HarumSongwriter Interviews

As Procol Harum's lyricist, Keith wrote the words to "A Whiter Shade Of Pale." We delve into that song and find out how you can form a band when you don't sing or play an instrument.

Evolution Of The Prince SymbolSong Writing

The evolution of the symbol that was Prince's name from 1993-2000.

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete BlondeSongwriter Interviews

The singer/bassist for Concrete Blonde talks about how her songs come from clairvoyance, and takes us through the making of their hit "Joey."

Gentle GiantSongwriter Interviews

If counterpoint and polyrhythms are your thing, you might love these guys. Even by Progressive Rock standards, they were one of the most intricate bands of the '70s. Then their lead singer gave us Bon Jovi.