10 Best Novelty Songs

The best novelty songs are all about the unexpected. They are catchy tunes built around humor, a gimmick, or even a pop culture reference.

You know when you hear one — they are unlike most other songs on the radio. They might have funny lyrics, unusual sounds, or spoken words instead of singing.

But maybe most of all, novelty songs feature a catchy melody that is sure to get stuck in your head!


    The beginnings

    Novelty songs have roots dating back to the Tin Pan Alley and vaudeville eras. Early radio broadcasts also featured many of these humorous tunes. By mid-century, this unique style of music gained greater popularity and cultural impact.

    Let’s take a look at some of our favorite novelty songs.

    Oldies novelty songs

    The 1950-60s are widely considered to be the golden age of novelty songs. With the rise of rock and roll and the dominance of radio, these catchy, quirky tunes found a massive audience.

    1. “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa” by Napoleon XIV

    2. “Yakety Yak” by The Coasters

    More great oldies songs:

    • “Charlie Brown” by The Coasters
    • “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” by Brian Hyland
    • “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?” by Patti Page
    • “The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley
    • “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor” by Lonnie Donegan
    • “Short Shorts” by The Royal Teens

    Classic 70s songs

    The 70s were a time of social change, new technology, and some wacky trends. Novelty songs during this time often relied on puns, silly rhymes, and innuendo for laughs. Even though the lyrics are goofy, these songs have memorable tunes that stick in your head.

    3. “Spider and Snakes” by Jim Stafford

    4. “The Streak” by Ray Stevens

    More funny 70s songs:

    • “Fish Heads” by Barnes & Barnes
    • “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees and his Cast of Idiots
    • “Tip Toe Thru the Tulips with Me” by Tiny Tim
    • “Short People” by Randy Newman

    Comedy songs

    For comedians, recording novelty songs can be a strategic career move. These light-hearted and sometimes irreverant songs allow them to showcase their comedic talents in a new format, reach a wider audience, and potentially boost their careers in a big way.

    5. “Lumberjack Song” by Monty Python

    6. “Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda” by Allen Sherman

    More popular comedy songs:

    • “Eat It” by Weird Al Yankovic
    • “The Chanukah Song” by Adam Sandler
    • “King Tut” by Steve Martin

    Children’s novelty songs

    Novelty songs tap into children’s love for fun, silliness, and catchy tunes. The simple melodies and repetitive choruses are easy for kids to understand and sing along. But most of all, they’re just plain fun!

    7. “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers

    8. “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” by Alvin and The Chipmunks

    More funny children’s songs:

    • “On Top of Spaghetti” by Tom Glazer & the Do Re Mi Children’s Choir
    • “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” by Spike Jones

    Country novelty songs

    Novelty songs in country music offer a humorous twist on familiar themes, provide a break from heavier emotions, and celebrate the quirks of country life — all wrapped up in the storytelling tradition and witty wordplay that the genre is known for.

    9. “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd” by Roger Miller

    10. “I’m My Own Grandpa” by Lonzo and Oscar

    More funny country songs:

    • “Dang Me” by Roger Miller
    • “Convoy” by C.W. McCall
    • “Chug-a-Lug” by Roger Miller

    We hope you enjoyed this look at some of the best novelty songs ever written. Be sure to check out more great song playlists here:

    Best Cowbell Songs

    Songs About the Radio

    Songs with Laughter

    By Greg Johnson | Published 5/9/24