Allan Sherman

Warmly remembered for the huge 1963 novelty hit 'Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh', Allan Sherman built a good recording career as a clever parody act who won a Grammy Award for his album 'My Son the Folk Singer'. Born Allan Copelon to Jewish-American parents in Chicago, Illinois in 1924, he was the son of a racing car driver and adopted his mother's maiden name Sherman after his parents split up. He developed his humorous style writing for the college newspaper while studying at the University of Illinois, but was expelled before graduation for breaking into a sorority house with a girlfriend. He got his break into television after coming up with an idea for a new game show, which was turned into the hit TV show 'I've Got a Secret', launched in 1952 and which ran for 15 years, with Sherman as producer. His creativity and madcap ideas soon came to the fore, although they did often bring him into conflict with authority as he went on to produce the game shows 'What's Going On?' and 'Your Surprise Package'. Encouraged by his neighbour Harpo Marx, he would invent and sing parodies to perform at parties and amuse his friends, leading to his first 78rpm recording in 1951, 'A Satchel and a Seck' with singer Sylvia Froos , parodying a song from the musical 'Guys and Dolls'. It wasn't a success but Sherman's comedic songs became in great demand in showbiz circles in Los Angeles and it was comedian George Burns who was instrumental in getting him a contract with Warner Brothers after seeing him perform at a party. The result was the 1962 'My Son the Folk Singer', which went on to sell over a million copies. Sherman wrote material with Lou Busch, specialising in Jewish humour, parodying well-known songs of the day, although they often struggled to get approval from the original writers to use the tracks. He followed 'My Son the Folk Singer' with 'My Son the Celebrity', although it was 'My Son the Nut' in 1963 which gave him his greatest success, as one of the tracks, 'Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh' - depicting a disenchanted student's letter home to his parents from college - became a major hit single all over the world. He went on to record several more albums in the same vein but failed to replicate his previous success, although he inspired a new generation of comedians and was a huge influence on Weird Al Yankovic. He died of emphysema in 1973, aged 48.

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Stations Featuring Allan Sherman

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