Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” — Napoleon XIV (1966)

Remember when you ran away
And I got on my knees and begged you
Not to leave because I’d go berserk?
You left me anyhow and
Then the days got worse and worse
And now you see I’ve gone completely
out of my mind.
They’re coming to take me away, ha-haaa…

All this over a freakin dog…

Surprising absolutely NO ONE who has spent maybe five minutes looking around this place, your narrator was an insanely devoted… devotee of the great Dr. Demento. For me, a young dorky goofball from pretty much the moment I bounced out of the womb, Dr. Demento’s weekly radio show was my only outlet for all songs novelty, comedy, parody, you name it.

And few songs were more Dr. Demento than They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!

Demented doesn’t even begin to describe Napoleon XIV’s (Jerry Samuels) novelty hit from the mid 60s. This thing sounds positively deranged, capturing the singer’s descent into absolute madness as the object of his affection, a woman he loved more than life itself, not only leaves him, but mocks and belittles and trivializes his emotions to the point of tortured insanity.

Except, as it turns out, it wasn’t a woman; it was a dog. One he fed and housed and kept safe and left him anyhow.

This thing is loopy. The driving percussion along with Samuels’s creepifying delivery and then of course that oscillating effect on the chorus just makes the song that bloody wonderful and ridiculously insane. And bloody wonderful and ridiculously insane is pretty much the best kind of Halloween descriptor, I’d think.

Hey, don’t be too judgey of the singer here; haven’t we all gone mad over someone toying with our emotions and then taking off? Suddenly those nice young men in their clean white coats don’t seem so farfetched. So give in to They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! for a few minutes. It ain’t all that far from home!

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.
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.

They’re coming to take me away, ha-haaa…


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