Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


diddiewadiddiewahdittywahdiddydowahdiddydiddydumdiddydo
February 27, 2011 5:09 AM   Subscribe

Historical currents in American pop music, where nonsense syllables have always held a special place: Blind Blake, in 1929, recorded Diddie Wa Diddie, which Ry Cooder covered in 1974, and which Leon Redbone also covered in 1977. Now, folks, that tune is not to be confused with Bo Diddley's 1956 recording Diddy Wah Diddy, which a young Captain Beefheart covered in 1966, and which was also covered by Aussie garage rockers the Missing Links. Likewise, that tune is not to be confused with a little ditty recorded in 1963 by the Exciters, called Do Wah Diddy Diddy, which was covered with great commercial success in 1964 by British band Manfred Mann.

Not that it comes as any great surprise, but it's probably worth noting, for the record, that all three of these tunes were originally recorded by African-American artists, and subsequently covered by white people.

Diddy Wah Diddy wiki page!

Do Wah Diddy Diddy Wiki page!

By the way, you can download an mp3 of Blind Blake's wonderful original here. And there's a lot more on offer at that site, Public Domain 4U.
Maestro y2karl first turned us onto Public Domain 4U in this excellent post.

There are lots of other covers out there of these tunes, especially Do Wah Diddy Diddy, but it starts getting pretty grim pretty fast. Anyone who wants to subject us to execrable cover versions by the Fools, 8-Eyed Spy, the Dolly Dots, 2-Live Crew, etc. are, um... encouraged to do so. Well, not really, but, it's an open thread and a free internet, so I can't stop ya...
posted by flapjax at midnite (38 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
It was either P. Diddy or P. Diddy's daddy who did double duty doing a dub of a dainty ditty done by some dude named Doug. I dug Doug's dig at down and dirty ditties until I dove deeper, diving into the dirty dusty dealings of dozens of daffy denizens of dizzying depths of depravity.

Now I doesn't do dat.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:28 AM on February 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


"U will know what to do / when you unscramble / How Daddy is Doing."
posted by unregistered_animagus at 5:43 AM on February 27, 2011


Anyone who wants to subject us to execrable cover versions by the Fools, 8-Eyed Spy, the Dolly Dots, 2-Live Crew, etc. are, um... encouraged to do so. Well, not really, but, it's an open thread and a free internet, so I can't stop ya...

What a way to ruin a post that was getting promising with some execrable snark.
posted by libcrypt at 5:46 AM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


libcrypt, it was actually pretty tongue-in-cheek. Really sorry it ruined the post for you.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:48 AM on February 27, 2011


I'm not sure you know what "tongue-in-cheek" means, but the point of a post like this should be the celebration of all versions of the "diddys" in question.
posted by libcrypt at 5:52 AM on February 27, 2011


When Little Richard did Tutti Frutti in 1955, he could sing
A-Wop-bop-a-loo-lop a-lop-bam-boo
Tutti Frutti, all over rootie,.....
A-wop-bop-a-loo-lop a-lop bam boo


without the least sense of irony.

But by the time Grease came along in 1971, you just couldn't take the same kind of lyrics seriously:
We go together like
rama lama lama
ke ding a de dinga a dong
remembered for ever like
shoo bop shoo wadda wadda yipitty boom de boom
Chang chang chang-it-ty chang
shoo-bop
That's the way it should be
Wha oooh yeah!
We're one of a kind
Like dip di-dip di-dip
Doo-bop a doo-bee doo
Our names are signed
Boog-e-dy boog-e-dy boog-e-dy
boog-e-dy
Shoo-by doo-wop she-bop
Chang chang chang-it-ty chang
shoo-bop

We'll always be like one
Wa-wa-wa-waaa!

When we go out at night
And stars are shinin' bright
Up in the skies above
Or at the high school dance
Where you can find romance
Maybe it might be lo-oh oh oh-oh oh-ove

Ra-ma la-ma la-ma ka ding a da ding de dong
Shoo-bop sha wad-da wad-da yipp-it-y boom de boom
Chang chang chang-it-ty chang shoo-bop
Dip da-dip da-dip doo-wop da doo-bee doo
Boog-e-dy boog-e-dy boog-e-dy boog-ed-y
Shoo-by doo-wop she-bop
Sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na yip-pit-y boom de boom
Ra-ma la-ma la-ma ka ding-a de ding de dong
Shoo-bop sha wad-da wad-da yipp-it-y boom de boom
Chang chang chang-it-ty chang shoo-bop
Dip da-dip da-dip doo-wop da doo-bee doo
Boog-e-dy boog-e-dy boog-e-dy boog-e-dy
shoo-by doo-wop she-bop
Sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na yip-pit-ty boom de boom

posted by twoleftfeet at 5:57 AM on February 27, 2011


"Moses went up to the mountain high
To find out from god why did you make us why
Secret words in a secret room
He said a womp bop a lu bop a lop bam boom"

The Rainmakers - Let My People Go-Go
posted by modernserf at 6:00 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are we allowed to post links to the cover version by Harold Ramis and Bill Murray?
posted by drlith at 6:01 AM on February 27, 2011


Are we allowed to post links to the cover version by Harold Ramis and Bill Murray ?

That's surely one of the better ones!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:10 AM on February 27, 2011


I sure wish someone would tell me what this means.
posted by organic at 6:16 AM on February 27, 2011


That Capt. Beefheart clip is just awesome. Who knew the Magic Band were a surf band prior to Trout Mask Replica?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:26 AM on February 27, 2011


Do Wha Diddy went mainstream in 1947, when Phil Harris, the bandleader on the popular Jack Benny radio program, recorded a 1942 Bob Wills song called "That's What I like About the South". The ultra-cool song, with an incredibly driving horn part, contained the lyric:

"Did I tell you 'bout the place called Doo-wah-diddy. It ain't no town and it ain't no city. It's just awful small, but awful pretty ... That's Doo ... wah ... diddy."

The song was a big hit for Harris, and Jack Benny ribbed him about it constantly on the air. Benny's writers made a running joke out of the name Do-Wah-Diddy for the whole season for the entertainment of the shows millions of listeners.
posted by Faze at 6:27 AM on February 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Right on, Faze, thanks for that!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:29 AM on February 27, 2011


I sure wish someone would tell me what this means.

You can use the Internet for this. For example, a perusal of online dictionaries tells the following meanings:
Doo: a dove
Wop: offensive term for a person of Italian descent
Diddy: very small

So from this we can infer that the lyric "Doo Wop Diddy" refers to a small dove of Italian descent.

Please mark this best answer!
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:29 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure you know what "tongue-in-cheek" means, but the point of a post like this should be the celebration of all versions of the "diddys" in question.

Hey, here's an idea, why don't you doo wadda diddy dang-a-long diddy make a FPP post of your own, and then we can all dang-a-lang-a-liddy decide what it should be about instead?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:34 AM on February 27, 2011


Gotta love those tags.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:57 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oobie doobie?
posted by Bromius at 7:07 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not American but I will say goo goo g'joob
posted by victors at 7:26 AM on February 27, 2011


i've always wished i could have been in the studio when some of these oldies were recorded. i would have loved to see a recording engineer or producer look at the backup singers and say something like "okay, after that 3rd beat you guys come in with hey nonny ding dong a ling a ling a lay"
posted by kitchenrat at 8:21 AM on February 27, 2011


For 51 more tracks of exquisite nonsense, check out the fine Ace compilation CDs Great Googa Mooga and Great Googly Moogly.
posted by Paul Slade at 8:31 AM on February 27, 2011


Great post for the links, not so much for the commentary.

For me, I will always associate "Doo Wah Ditty" with Roger & Zapp.
posted by yeloson at 9:08 AM on February 27, 2011


In 1966, Frank Sinatra took some flack for his "doobie doobie doo" at the end of "Strangers in the Night". It was somewhat incongruous in the slow, romantic ballad, but many of his hardcore fans wanted to hear more, and legend says it inspired both the founders of The Doobie Brothers and the creators of Scooby Doo.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:38 AM on February 27, 2011


To do is to be;
To be is to do;
doobie doobie do.
posted by ovvl at 9:50 AM on February 27, 2011


This still doesn't answer most of my questions. I mean, who put the bomp in the bomp ba-bomp ba-bomp? Who put the ram in the ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong? Who put the bop in the bop sha-bop sha-bop? Who put the dit in the dit-di-dit di-dit?

Who was that man? I'd like to shake his hand.
posted by maryr at 9:51 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


... legend says it inspired both the founders of The Doobie Brothers

I don't know about that oneswellfoop, I think doobie may have another meaning outside of the Frank Sinatra context. Isn't it a kind of fish?
posted by Faze at 9:56 AM on February 27, 2011


Considering certain other possible inspirations, I suspect that was the Safe For Parents explanation for the Doobies' name.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:07 AM on February 27, 2011


I like the part where Fezzik says,
"Inigo! Inigo! Where are you? Oh, there you are. Inigo, I saw the prince's stable, and - diddy wha! - four white horses."
posted by perspicio at 10:18 AM on February 27, 2011


Barry Mann, "Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)" [Wikipedia]
Who put the bomp
In the bomp bah bomp bah bomp?
Who put the ram
In the rama lama ding dong?
Who put the bop
In the bop shoo bop shoo bop?
Who put the dip
In the dip da dip da dip?
Who was that man?
I'd like to shake his hand
He made my baby
Fall in love with me
Who put the bomp? You Did (Bomp Shooby Dooby Bomp)
posted by kirkaracha at 10:22 AM on February 27, 2011


And I say, B I Bicky Bi Bo Bo Go...
posted by foonly at 10:41 AM on February 27, 2011


Here's the version I grew up with, by the Last Four (4) Digits.
posted by mwhybark at 10:44 AM on February 27, 2011


Not that it comes as any great surprise, but it's probably worth noting, for the record, that all three of these tunes were originally recorded by African-American artists, and subsequently covered by white people.

Probably the most notorious example is Pat Boone's cover of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti." Little Richard toned down his original lyrics: "Tutti Frutti, good booty." Boone's debut album could be the whitest album ever. (He also covers Fat Domino's "Ain't That a Shame," although his producers rejected his suggestion of changing the title to "Isn't That a Shame.")
posted by kirkaracha at 10:53 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oo. Ee. Oo-ah-ah.
Ting, tang, wallah-wallah bing bang.
posted by Cookiebastard at 11:27 AM on February 27, 2011


American pop music, where nonsense syllables have always held a special place

I like to think of all syllables attached to music as nonsense syllables. Music's almost always better if I just ignore the words. Come to think of it, life's like that.
posted by Twang at 12:21 PM on February 27, 2011


The real question here is, Da do ron ron?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:37 PM on February 27, 2011


Cools-ville, population: Us.
posted by nola at 5:22 PM on February 27, 2011


Who can forget Eep Op Ork Ah Ah (That Means I Love You) from the Jetsons?
posted by Sculthorpe at 7:43 PM on February 27, 2011


Rubber Biscuit
posted by Splunge at 6:55 AM on February 28, 2011


Also relevant: Metalhead.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 9:28 AM on March 4, 2011


« Older Vincent Callebaut has been pursuing visionary arch...  |  Marilyn... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments