Witty Songs

ŠTed Schaar 2011

5.  "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu"


This medically inspired hit was recorded by Huey Piano Smith and the Clowns in 1957; John Vincent, record producer and owner of Ace Record Company,13 wrote the lyrics to music composed by Smith.

The song sold more than a million copies14 although some of the lyrics—"I wanna kiss her but the gal's too tall"—probably were included more for rhyme than meaning.  But if master songwriters Lennon and McCartney were able to get away with, "My love don't give me presents, I know she's no peasant," I'm okay with it.  Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Rivers, The Flaming Groovies, Sha Na Na, and Aerosmith are a few of the artists who have recorded versions. 

Lyricist Vincent produced another teen masterpiece, "Venus In Blue Jeans," a 1962 hit by Jimmy Clanton composed by Brill Building writers Howard Greenfield15  and Jack Keller.16   Here's the classic open:  "She's Venus in blue jeans; Mona Lisa with a ponytail; She's a walkin', talkin' work of art;  She's the girl who stole my heart."17   (Listen to the song at YouTube [Smith].)          

Lyrics

I wanna jump but I'm afraid I'll fall
I wanna holler but the joint's too small
Young man rhythm got a hold of me, too
I got a rockin' pneumonia and a boogie woogie flu

Call some other baby that ain't all
I wanna kiss her but the gal's too tall
Young man rhythm got a hold of me, too
I got a rockin' pneumonia and a boogie woogie flu

Wanna scream I want you all to know
I would be runnin' but my feet's too slow
Young man rhythm got a hold of me, too
I got a rockin' pneumonia and a boogie woogie flu

Wanna scream I want you all to know
I would be runnin' but my feet's too slow
Young man rhythm got a hold of me too
I got a rockin' pneumonia and a boogie woogie flu

Baby comin' now I'm hurryin' home
I know she's leavin' cause I'm takin' too long
Young man rhythm got a hold of me, too
I got the rockin' pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu

I wanna squeeze
I wanna squeeze
I wanna squeeze
I wanna squeeze



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