The frigid weather we’re experiencing helped lead to my latest Earworm, and it also proved that — as we all know — sometimes just one phrase from a song does the trick. (Or maybe we should say a ‘segment’ since we’re talking about worms.) It happened for me when I contemplated prying myself out of a warm bed on an icy morning, and kept hearing a familiar line from an old song: ‘Please, Mr. Custer. I don’t wanna go!’
A novelty song from 1960 that would probably also qualify for our Saluting Silly Songs feature, today’s Earworm is “Mr. Custer,” written by Al DeLory, Fred Darian, and Joseph Van Winkle. It was first recorded by comedian/singer Larry Verne, whose record — believe it or not — made it all the way to #1 on the charts. That same year, British performer Charlie Drake turned it into a solid hit in the United Kingdom, proving once again that goofy recognizes no borders. (You can hear both versions below.)
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the song was written from the viewpoint of a hapless trooper in Custer’s Seventh Cavalry, a sad sack who desperately doesn’t want to accompany the guys on their upcoming expedition. I guess you could say that me leaving my warm bed wasn’t quite as serious as his dilemma, but I was still helpless — as always — to the invasion of an earworm.