I was driving home from the airport a couple of days ago listening to my favorite oldies station and what should come blasting out of my speakers but “Wooly Bully” by Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs. I was immediately transported back to my college days of toga parties, Boones Farm, and the Johnson triplets. Forty-five years after is release “Wooly Bully” remains Frat Rock at its best.
Domingo “Sam” Samudio and his cast of Pharaohs dressed the part complete with turbans. They originally wanted the title to be “Hully Gully” but that name had been a famous hit in the past. The song has a simple organ foundation with lyrics about Mattie and Hatty, American Bison, and learning to dance. It’s all inane which is part of its charm.
The song reached the number two position on Billboard Magazine’s singles charts during April of 1965 but because it spent fourteen weeks in the top forty and sold three million copies, it became the number one song of the year.
It has been a part of innumerable movie soundtracks including Animal House, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Full Metal Jacket, and Happy Gilmore.
“Wooly Bully” has been able to bring a smile to my face for almost half a century now and maybe that’s what music should be all about. Toga! Toga!