Allan Sherman's Mad-Man-style comedy song: "When I Was a Lad"

This shuffled into my music player this morning, and delighted me as it ever does: Allan Sherman's When I was a Lad, a lovely bit of Mad Man-style period parody from the album My Son, the Celebrity. You probably know Sherman's work from "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah," but it's well worth exploring his whole catalog -- especially since there's a fabulous box set.

When I Was A Lad - Allan Sherman


  1. OMG, as a kid I listened to this record over and over (I still have it, inherited from my parents). Learned most of the tunes before ever knowing the real songs they were based on.

  2. Best Allan Sherman song ever might be his spoof of “Heart,” which he twists into “Skin.”
    Ya gotta have skin.It’s the stuff that we’re all in.It’s the stuff that if you got it outsideIt helps keep your insides in.

    1. Don’t make your final decision until you hear “When You Walk Through The Bronx,” his parody of Carousel’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Listen to it here

  3. I’ve always thought it was unfortunate that Sherman seems to only be remembered for “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah”. It’s a great song, but it’s not his only great song, as the above reminds us.

    1. Could not agree more. As as kid I really loved, “You Went The Wrong Way Old King Louie,” which has the fantastic line, “King Louie was living like a king.” Haha!

      1. That’s one of my favorites too! The sad thing is I was twenty before I heard it. It was on a British Airways flight. I don’t know if they still do this, but the in-flight radio included an all-comedy station that played “You Went The Wrong Way Old King Louie” alongside selections from Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, Jasper Carrott, and others.

        As soon as I got to a record store (back when they were still legal) I purchased a copy of My Son, The Greatest.

        Something tells me I’ll soon be purchasing a copy of your book as well.

        1. I wish I could say yes. 

          I’m, um, a physically enthusiastic member of the cast… I try to minimise my singing as a damage reduction strategy. 

          1. Hehe!  I was in Pinafore a couple of years ago myself as one of the sailors.  Fun times.

  4. I enjoy his songs, but love his book – The Rape of The A*P*E (American Puritan Ethic).

    It’s one of the funniest books I’ve read and a wonderful history of the American sexual revolution. It was published by Playboy Press just before Sherman’s death and has been out of print for some time, but definitely worth tracking down.

    1. I also came here to praise this fine, funny, angry, snarky, and ultimately fascinating book, which probably had an inordinate amount of influence on who and where I am today. It and Judy Dater’s photographs from ‘The Woman’s Eye’ make up two of the three legs of the camp stool that is my life* — although I should hasten to add I don’t hold either at fault. Less and less frequently in recent years have I come across a copy of this thick, cheaply bound volume, once a staple of college-town used book stores, However, it appears to be readily available online through such vendors as ABEBooks and ExLibris — although at prices I’m sure must keep Sherman chuckling merrily from beyond.
      * I’m not yet certain what makes up the third leg** — although I suspect it involves leg warmers.
      ** heh heh

  5. Because my biography of Allan Sherman appears in May (perhaps giving me the dubious distinction of being the world’s Sherman expert — what comedy Sherman would have made out that idea!) this post made my day. Here’s some Allan Sherman trivia: He wrote “When I Was A Lad” in June 1959 when he was a writer on the Perry Como summer television series, Perry Presents. I’ve posted some really cool completely lost Sherman song parodies on YouTube at “Seventy-Six Sol Cohens” anyone?

  6. My Dad had this album when I was a kid – we all loved it although most of the humor went straight over our heads until we were older (I had to get my Mom to explain “The Let’s All Call Up A.T. & T. and Protest To the President March”).  But “Shticks Of One And A Half A Dozen Of The Other” was full of references that even a kid of the 70s could get.

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