Crazy Words—Crazy Tune (Vo-do-de-o)

Music by Milton Ager; lyrics by Jack Yellen. Written in 1927

Original version(s)


FZ album(s) in which song has appeared



Marc De Bruyn (, August 23, 2003

"Crazy Words—Crazy Tune" was composed by Milton Ager (1893-1979) & Jack Yellen (1892-1991) in 1927, a quick, snappy number which the title describes perfectly.

One of the performers was Frank "The Gay Caballero" Crumit, who also recorded (in 1928) a tune called "The Song Of The Prune" (a clever, ridiculous ditty of the prune and how no matter what age it is it always has wrinkles)...

"There's a guy I'd like to kill, if he doesn't stop I will. He's got a ukulele, and a voice that's loud and shrill. 'Cause he lives next door to me and he keeps me up till three, With his ukulele and a funny melody. Crazy words, crazy tune, all that you'll ever hear him croon. Vo doe de o, vo doe doe de o, doe, vo-doe doe. Sits around, all night long, sings the same words to every song. Vo doe de o, vo doe doe de o, doe. His ukulele, daily, how he'll strum! Bum bum bum! Vampin' and stampin'. Then he hollers, "Black bottom!". Crazy words, crazy tune, he'll be driving me crazy soon. Vo doe de o, vo doe doe de o, doe. I have begged that guy to stop, I have even called a cop, told my dog "Go sic him", but the durn dog wouldn't go. But tonight will be the end, yes siree, 'cause I intend to go up and kick him in the vo doe doe de oh doe. He's got to stop it, stop it. Yes he must, or I'll just kill him, I'll kill him. Then I'll do the black bottom. When I'm jailed, upon my need, to the jury and the judge I'll plead: vo doe de o, vo doe doe de o doe. Now the minuet, quiet bliss, calm and peaceful, it went like this: Vo doe de o vo doe doe de o doe. The Polka too was a treat, your partner said if you tread on his feet: vo doe de o vo doe doe de o doe. The gliding Foxtrot we've got and the blues, if you choose. We've got the Charleston and we'll soon have Black Bottom. Our vicar said, "Ah, me, friends, our hymn for tonight will be Vo doe de o doe doe doe de o doe. It's a rage, it's a craze, everybody sings now-a-days: vo doe de o, vo doe doe de oh doe, vo doe doe. Every goof, every sheik, tunes his uke and begins to shriek: vo doe de oh, vo doe doe de o doe. Go on the east side, the west side, here or there, everywhere, they vo doe, vo doe doe. Then they holler, "Black bottom!". Young or old, old or young, the guy that started it should be hung. Vo doe de o, vo doe doe de o, doe."

Note: Ager and Yellen also wrote a tune called "Vo do do de o blues" as a sequel to the big hit "Crazy Words—Crazy Tune", of which the long title was "Crazy Words—Crazy Tune (Vo-do-de-o)".

An early incarnation of Grateful Dead (Weir, Garcia and Pig Pen) recorded "Crazy Words, Crazy Tune (Washington at Valley Forge)" in 1964; this live recording (from a July Tangent show in Palo Alto, Califronia) was released in 1998 on the album "Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions".

Conceptual Continuity

More Ager & Yellen:


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This page updated: 2023-03-14