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Long Live The King, Dickie Goodman! Why? …Because he is “The King of Novelty” as listed by Billboard and Guinness World Records for the most charted Novelty/Comedy hits (17); although he has even more listed under various pseudonyms such as John & Ernest, and Spencer & Spencer. Some of Dickie Goodman’s most famous records are Mr. Jaws (Gold Record), The Flying Saucer (Grammy®), Mr. President and Hey ET. While he built his career on these unique and funny novelty records (hundreds of them filled with social commentary spanning the decades), he actually entered the music business, and continued throughout, as a songwriter and producer for other performers such as The Nut-megs, The Del Vikings, Frankie Sardo and Bobby Darin.
Dickie’s influence on popular culture is still alive today as fans old and new, comedians, and radio
hosts create their own versions of Dickie Goodman-style recordings which they post all over the World Wide Web. His body of work ranks him among the most notable comedians of all time alongside such talented artists as Ray Stevens, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Cheech & Chong, Weird Al Yankovic, and Adam Sandler!
Dickie Goodman records have been called all sorts of things—novelty records, break-in records and he himself called them Flying Saucer records (based on his first big hit, The Flying Saucer). His recordings fit into so many categories: parody, satire, samples, cut-ins or mash ups. Most times, though, people describe them by reciting song lyrics until a friend says, “Oh yeah! I remember that one from when I was a kid.”
Dickie Goodman took bits and pieces of popular songs and used those tiny sound bites as answers to questions on his records. What kind of ques-tions did he ask, and who was he asking? Well, that depended upon current events of the day, and which notable public figures were around at that time (e.g., he would pretend to be a famous news reporter conducting an impor-tant interview with a presidential candidate or star of a current hit movie). Dickie Goodman records were always timely when first released… but their universal phenomenon would turn them into audio time capsules, summariz-ing the most talked about events of an era. His records would resonate with both kids and adults equally as well; because he tapped into a unique way of providing comic relief and poignant commentary. Dickie Goodman began his career the way aspiring singers, songwriters and musicians dream of —he walked into a major radio station, and handed his tape to a famous disc jockey that played it on air. That very first novelty record, Flying Saucer, became an overnight sensation in 1956. Not only that, but it was also the first time anyone had a hit record using samples of other songs. An uproar within the music industry erupted. News reports started spilling onto the desks of media personalities whose recordings had been sampled. But almost immedi-ately, trade publications reported that Dickie’s records had become the catalyst for increased sales and airplay of the complete songs from which these sound bites were taken. Dickie’s follow up record, Buchannan and Goodman on Trial, made light of the music industry taking everything so seriously, and it was a hit too!
Dickie Goodman drew from the original versions of songs, rather than the more socially accept-able covers. So, in radio markets where they would play Pat Boone’s version of a Little Richard tune, suddenly DJs were forced by fan requests to play the original as heard on Goodman’s recording. Elvis Presley songs (believe it or not) once considered “race music,” became part of a station’s regular rotation. And, validation even came from well-respected Time magazine that printed, “If you’re not on saucer, you’re nowhere!”
What Dickie unleashed in 1956 has been passed on to the 21st century YouTube generation—they make mash-ups and call them Dickie Goodman-style recordings. It all began as the inspired thought of one man who loved radio and music so much that he invented the radio and record reality show before anyone else could have conjured up such a thing. So even in today’s technological era, a guy who spliced tapes together in the 1950s can still reach out and touch something in us all… something as pure and timeless as our present moment. Thank you for entertaining The King of Novelty Dickie Goodman… Long Live The King!
—Jon Goodman, 2012