They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha Haaa

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They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha Haaa

Napoleon XIV They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Haaa

Novelty Songs

Jerry Samuels (aka Napoleon XIV) wrote, performed, and produced “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” It was  Top 5 hit novelty song in 1966. His previous credits include writing “As If I Didn’t Know” with Larry Kusik, a Top 10 hit for Adam Wade in 1961, and “The Shelter of Your Arms,” a Top 20 hit for Sammy Davis, Jr. in 1964.

Here is Samuels’s own description of the song’s origin: “I was sitting in a nice easy-chair one night and I was stoned because I loved to smoke grass. What popped into my head was the old Scottish tune, ‘The Campbell’s Are Coming.’ Based on that, I came up with the idea of ‘They’re Coming To Take Me Away.””

Samuels was working as a recording engineer for Associated Studios in New York City. “We used a device called a VFO,” says Samuels. “The VFO was a Variable Frequency Oscillator. If you move it from 60 to 59 to 58 to 57, it slows down, and if you move it up it speeds up. You could raise or lower the pitch of a voice without changing the tempo by hooking it up to that 4-track machine.”

He continues: “I asked the owner of the studio, who was my partner in my publishing company, to adapt the VFO to connect to the Scully 4-track. He said, ‘Why?’ and I said, ‘I can’t explain it, all I can tell you is we’re going to make a record called ‘They’re Coming To Take Me Away Ha Ha,’ and that’s the only way to do it.’ He had enough trust in me to say, ‘OK, I’ll do it,’ so he built the necessary adapters and connected it, and he was in the control room when I dubbed the voice in.”

“It took me nine months to finish it. I wrote one verse and the chorus, and immediately I realized I was writing a sick joke.” After putting it aside for six months, he got an idea. In the last verse he would reveal that the one who ran away and put him over the edge was his pet dog. He felt that would lighten up the joke.(?)

The record was released by Warner Bros. Records in 1966 and went to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also sold more than one million copies (including one to my own household) and was RIAA Certified Gold. This was some controversial subject matter for 1966, and it eventually got banned on many radio stations. Says Samuels: “It was a hit before it got banned. Once it got banned, it was finished.”

Currently, Samuels works as a singer and agent who books various performers. He works the Delaware Valley area.

Trivia Question — What is on the B-Side?

The B-Side of "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" by Napoleon XIV.

And here are the lyrics to “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” by Napoleon XIV:

“Remember when you ran away and I got on my knees and
begged you not to leave because I’d go berserk?
Well, you left me anyhow and then the days got worse and worse and now you see
I’ve gone completely out of my mind

And, they’re coming to take me away, ha, ha
They’re coming to take me away, ho, ho, hee, hee, ha, ha
To the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time
And I’ll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats
And they’re coming to take me away, ha, ha

You thought it was a joke and so you laughed, you laughed
when I had said that losing you would make me flip my lid, right?
You know you laughed
I heard you laugh, you laughed, you laughed and laughed and then you left but now
you know I’m utterly mad

And, they’re coming to take me away, ha, ha
They’re coming to take me away, ho, ho, hee, hee, ha, ha
To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they’re coming to take me away, ha, ha

I cooked your food, I cleaned your house and this is how you pay me back for all my kind unselfish
loving deeds, huh?
Well, you just wait, they’ll find you yet
And when they do, they’ll put you in the A. S. P. C. A, you mangy mutt
And, they’re coming to take me away, ha, ha
They’re coming to take me away, ho, ho, hee, hee, ha, ha

To the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time
And I’ll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats
And they’re coming to take me away, ha, ha
To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they’re coming to take me away, ha, ha”

Check Out The Groove Pad for More 1960s Music

The Pass the Paisley Groove Pad is a resting stop, a place to chill out and listen to the featured song on the stereo. If the mood strikes you, click on the juke box to access and listen to the 50+ commercial free online songs there. The TV has several channels, with selections updated twice a week. Every now and then, Pass the Paisley hosts an all-request of 1960s and 1970s songs for a Be-In at the juke box in the Groove Pad. Keep on truckin’. Hope you enjoyed “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” by Napoleon XIV.

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