My Old Man's a Dustman

Album: My Old Man's a Dustman: The Singles A's & B's 1954-1961 (1960)
Charted: 1
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Songfacts®:

  • This comic number was written by Lonnie Donegan, his road manager Peter Buchanan and Beverly Thorn. It was based on "My Father Was a Fireman", a song sung by British troops during World War I.

    Lonnie Donegan recalled in 1000 UK #1 Hits: "'My Old Man's A Fireman (on the Elder Dempster Line)' became a student's union song in Birmingham, and then it was picked up by the troops in World War 1 as 'My old man's a dustman, he fought in the Battle of Mons. He killed ten thousand Germans with only a hundred bombs.' We used it as a joke on stage and then the A&R department at Pye told me to write it… We performed new verses every night until we had ones that would work well on record."
  • The single release was a live recording from Donegan's show at Gaumont Cinema, Doncaster in Yorkshire. It broke a UK record with 250,000 advance orders mainly due to Donegan's performance of the song on Sunday Night At The London Palladium.

    "Dustman" became the first UK record to go straight in at #1 on the singles chart and was also the first comedy tune to top the chart. It also reached #1 in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

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