"Who Put the Bomp (In the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)" is a doo-wop style hit song from 1961 co-written (with Gerry Goffin) and recorded by Barry Mann. He was backed up by The Halos,[1] who had previously backed up Curtis Lee on the song "Pretty Little Angel Eyes". The song was originally released as a single on the ABC-Paramountlabel (10237).

In this song, Mann sings about the frequent use of nonsense lyrics in Doo-Wop music, and how his girl fell in love with him after listening to several such songs.

Examples of the type of song referred to include the Marcels' version of "Blue Moon" (in which they sing "Bomp bomp ba bomp, ba bomp ba bomp bomp" and "dip-de-dip-de-dip")[2] and the Edsels' "Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong", both of which charted earlier the same year.[3] The spoken part is a reference to the song "Little Darlin'" by The Diamonds. "Boogidy shoo" can be found in the lyrics to "Pony Time" by Chubby Checker, released earlier that year.

The song inspired the title of a music magazine, called Who Put the Bomp.

The song fits into the category of "self-referential" songs. Rock songs are often about rock, reggae songs about reggae, rap songs about rap, etc. In this particular song that aspect is accentuated by the fact that Mann is a songwriter singing about songwriters.

It is also an ironic, lightly self-mocking song, a frequent phenomenon in popular music, M's "Pop Muzik" being another example.

Chart performance[edit] Edit

The single debuted on Billboard's Hot 100 on August 7, 1961, and remained for twelve weeks, peaking at # 7.[3] Mann's version did not chart in the UK, though a cover version by the Viscounts reached # 21 there in September, 1961, and another version by Showaddywaddy charted at # 37 in August 1982.[4]

In popular culture[edit] Edit

The song has been covered by:

  • Bobby and Jerry ("We're the guys" who put the bomp...)
  • Jan and Dean (who claim "We put the bomp..."[5])
  • Frankie Lymon (who claims "I put the bomp...", and opens the song with the "Oo-wah, oo-wah" that opened his hit song with The Teenagers, Why Do Fools Fall in Love)
  • The Viscounts (on the album Who Put the Bomp—The Pye Anthology)
  • Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (on the album Blow in the Wind)
  • Showaddywaddy, "Who put the Bomp in the Bomp a Bomp a Bomp a Bomp"
  • The Muppets
  • Sharon, Lois & Bram on their 1995 album Let's Dance!
  • The Heebee-jeebees (on their live album Surgical Strike)
  • The Real Group (on their album Debut)
  • Le Tigre (on their self-titled album Le Tigre with Deceptacon as title)
  • The Wurzels
  • The Cartoons
  • The Overtones on their 2013 album Saturday Night at the Movies

The song was parodied by Bob Rivers as "Who Put the Stump?", involving, from the perspective of an angel on top of a Christmas tree, the tree being inserted up the angel's rectum. The lyrics include "Who put the stump in my rump ba-bump ba-bump".[6]

Bentley Rhythm Ace had a track called "Who Put the Bom in the Bom Bom Diddleye Bom" on their debut album.

The song "We Go Together" in the Broadway musical and subsequent film Grease includes a similar mix of nonsensical lyrics. The versions of "We Go Together" on the 1993 London cast recording and movie soundtrack include a bit of "Who Put the Bomp" sung in counterpoint at the end.

The Mugar Omni Theater at the Boston Museum of Science introduction/audio check is Leonard Nimoy reciting "Who Put the Bomp"

A parody titled "Who put the Bomb in Tehran, Tehran, Tehran" was produced by political satirists Capitol Steps and included in their book Sixteen Scandals and the accompanying CD.[7] An earlier parody, "Who'll Put a Bomb on Saddam Saddam Saddam" was introduced in the Capitol Steps' 1990 album, Sheik, Rattle and Roll.

A parody titled "Who Put the Mush" was written and performed by The McCalmans. In an inversion of the original song, the singer's girlfriend leaves him due to the nonsense lyrics in his folk music.[8] It was released in 1994 on the album Songs From Scotland.[9]

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