Sunday, December 04, 2011

Meri Wilson's Merry Double Entendre Hits

I love double entendre songs--there's a whole slew of blues music from the 20s and 30s, for example, that have suggestive lyrics, such as Lil Johnson's "Sam the Hot Dog Man." 

"Sam's got the best hot dog in this town, I like the way he serves it, he goes round and round! Baby, with his hot dog, Baby, with his hot dog, Baby, with his hot dog, Honey in his hot dog van!" 

So when fellow blogger Darrin over at the awesome Dads Dish Retro Blog introduced me the other day to Meri Wilson and her hits, I knew I had to share them here. Technically, this post should be saved for Two Forgotten Friday Favorites. But really, how I could wait until Friday to share prolific lyrics such as these with you?

"Hey, baby, I'm your telephone man
You just show me where you want it and I'll put it where I can
I can put it in the bedroom, I can put it in the hall
I can put it in the bathroom, I can hang it on the wall
You can have it with a buzz, you can have it with a ring
And if you really want it you can have a ding-a-ling
Because-a hey baby, I'm your telephone man"


Watching the ditsy clips of Meri Wilson performing her signature song, you'd never know she was a serious musician. She was actually a child musical prodigy who began singing and mastering several instruments beginning at age two, earning a master's degree in music from George State University. 

As an adult, she modeled on the side, appearing in commercials and singing. "Telephone Man" was a song she performed with her jazz group, and Jim Rutledge, who was the lead singer and drummer for a Texas rock group called Bloodrock, took an interest in Wilson after seeing her in a TV commercial, helping her record and release "Telephone Man" to the general public. It received airplay in the U.S. and England in 1976, and climbed to the tops of both music charts that year. Wilson claimed it was based on an exchange she had with an actual telephone company man. It quickly became a favorite on the Dr. Demento radio show.

Wilson had a few silly, naughty follow-up songs with "Dick the D.J.", "Peter the Meter Reader" (who actually was also the telephone man), "Santa's Coming", and "My Valentine's Funny"--the last about a cross dressing lover. She also released an updated version of "Telephone Man" in 2011 called "Internet Man." Not exactly Grammy-worthy but entertaining such the same.

Sadly, her life was cut short in 2002 when she died in a car accident in Georgia during an ice storm...but her legacy will live on here. There are not many uploads of her on YouTube, but here she is performing "Telephone Man" and "Peter the Meter Reader." 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a dig from the past Pam. My Mom, never a prude, allowed us to sing in the car to Chuck Berry's "My Dingaling" - all laughing hysterically. And Telephone Man was the same. I always thought Meri Wilson had a very sexy voice, but always thought she was a woman of color. Thanks.
s-a-h-d

ApacheDug said...

That's funny, I always thought she was a woman of color too! Great post Pam, and while 'Telephone Man' rings a bell (pun intended) I don't remember this getting a lot of airplay back in '77 (when I was 15 and hooked to the radio).

Back in those days, we were allowed to bring in records on Fridays during the holidays--I remember one guy brought in a 45 of "More More More--How do you like it" and was almost tossed out on his ear for bringing "raunchy music" to school. I can just imagine what THIS song would've done! :)

Pam@GoRetro said...

Stay-at-Home-Dad: I love Chuck Berry's "My Dingaling"--I think it's a riot!

Doug--I posted about Andrea True (who sang More More More) a while back...she was actually a porn star!

The great thing about these songs is kids could usually get away with listening and laughing at them...if your parents ever made a fuss you could just say, "BUT mom, it's just about a telephone man!"

Teena in Toronto said...

I have "Telephone Man" on my ipod ... such a fun song :)

Darrin.. said...

Nice tribute Girlie!! Boy did my Mom HATE this song back in the day... which of course made me want to listen to it all the more. LOL!

Retro Hound said...

Someone just gave me this 45 in a small stack of 45s. I hadn't connected it to this song which I've read about before. I'll have to give it a spin when I get home.

Desdinova said...

I think the first time I heard this was in elementary school in music class on "record day." The teacher never said anything so we didn't know anything was wrong with it.

I did list this as #20 on my list of my 40 least favorite one hit wonders.

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