Monday, October 1, 2012

Allan Sherman's 50th anniversary year starts today

"Sarah Jackman, Sarah Jackman
How's by you? How's by you?"

Los Angeles disc jockeys Gary Owens at KPMC and Bob Crane at KNX both claimed to be the first in the country to play Allan Sherman's "Sarah Jackman," the hit song from Sherman's million-selling first album, My Son, The Folk Singer.

But The Hollywood Reporter heard Crane play it on October 1, 1962, and that's what I'm going with.  That makes today the 50th anniversary of the song and Sherman's appearance on the pop culture scene, and the beginning of a year of 50th anniversaries that culminates in the summer of 2013 with the 50th anniversary of "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!"

Sherman at a recording session, 1962-63. Courtesy of Robert Sherman.

It was the start of an amazing year for Allan Sherman and the country. Both were shocked to discover that ethnic Jewish comedy could win fans among Jews and non-Jews, go mainstream, become a hit and make big money.

My Son, the Folk Singer kicked open America's ethnic floodgates.

Please follow this blog for updates on Sherman during this 50th anniversary year and the forthcoming biography, Overweight Sensation: the life and comedy of Allan Sherman.


  1. i met Brian Wilson at an event a few years ago and metioned working on an Allan Sherman project (pitching for a comment, of course) - Brian saying that he'd had wished to work on a comedy record with Sherman back in the day. can you imagine?

  2. That is amazing and it just shows how well respected he was to a broader community of people than I, even after all my research, sometimes realize. I have another great example. In 1969, Daily Variety reported that Sherman was set to record an album with Shel Talmy, producer for The Kinks and The Who. I emailed Talmy about it and it was not true, but Talmy added, "I would have loved to record Allan."

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