We all know the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Songwriter Ron Blackwell developed a more adult reading of the song in 1966 for Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, who were coming off their monster hit “Wooly Bully.” Blackwell used the term “wolf” to refer to a man with…needs. It’s all in good fun, though, and the record is a classic comic novelty song.
The record begins with a lupine howl and a gritty, spoken voice intoning “Who’s that I see walkin’ in these woods? Why it’s Little Red Riding Hood”. In this good-natured pickup song, Sam constantly tries to prove his good intentions but seems to have a hard time suppressing his wolf-howl. As an aside to the audience, he mentions that he is wearing a “sheep suit” and goes into the record’s fade-out with a couple of unconvincing “baaah’s.”
“Li’l Red Riding Hood” was Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs’ second top-10 hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1966 and #2 on the Canadian RPM Magazine charts. It was certified Gold by the RIAA on August 11, 1966. It figures prominently in the 1993 Bruce Willis film Striking Distance and is featured in the 2005 film Wild Country. The song was used in a 2012 Volvo commercial as well as the TV show Grimm in 2014.