Have you got your ukulele in tune? Well sit down and do it now before you read any further.

There’s a reason I’m calling this Happiness Boys Friday. You won’t have a difficult time figuring it out.

Happiness Boys_cover_tatteredandlost

Happiness Boys_inside cover_tatteredandlost

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Click on any image to see it larger.

This song book is from the big box of sheet music Bert gave me. It dates from 1926. I’d never heard of these fellows, but I’m stunned I know one of the songs they were known for.

So who were the Happiness Boys (aka The Taystee Loafers and The Interwoven Pair)? According to Wikipedia:
The Happiness Boys was a popular radio program of the early 1920s. It featured the vocal duo of tenor Billy Jones (1889-1940) and bass/baritone Ernie Hare (1881-1939) who sang novelty songs.

Jones and Hare were already established as soloists on phonograph records. One of Jones's better solos was "Mary Lou," while Hare scored with the Yuletide novelty "Santa Claus Hides in the Phonograph." In 1920 recording executive Gus Haenschen had them sing an accompaniment on a Brunswick recording. They went on to do numerous recordings for Brunswick Records, Edison, and other companies. Similarities between the two singers were often noted: same height, same weight, birthdays a few days apart.

They began on radio October 18, 1921 on WJZ (Newark, New Jersey), where they were sponsored by the chain of Happiness Candy stores. Listeners mailed in their comments about the singers on cards supplied to retailers by Happiness Candy.

Beginning August 22, 1923, the Happiness Boys broadcast on New York's WEAF, moving to NBC from a run from 1926 to 1929.

By 1928, Jones and Hare were the highest paid singers in radio, earning $1,250 a week. They also made highly successful personal appearances in the United States and Europe.

The partnership ended with Ernie Hare's death on March 9, 1939. Hare's 16-year-old daughter, Marilyn Hare, joined Jones at the microphone, allowing the act to continue as "Jones and Hare" until Jones's death on November 23, 1940. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Want a sample? You sure?

Here are the words to two of their catchy tunes included in this book:
Broken Down Mamma

Broken Down Mamma
Broken Down Mamma
Quit your tormenting me
Broken Down Mamma
You’re as sassy as can be,
Go on an’ take yo’body on a big long trip
Your daddy’s done found some brand new lip
Broken Down Mamma
You’re just a broken mamma to me.

Indoor Baby

She’s what you call an Indoor Baby
She’s awfully fond of indoor sports
She’s more proficient at parlor games
Than on the links or tennis courts
Two loving arms,
Two lips and two eyes
She’ll challenge any boy
Who likes that kind of exercise.
She’s is not the kind who can ride, swim or climb
But she’s an Indoor Baby all the time.
Wouldn't you like to hear these?

You might now be wondering which song of their’s is now running through my head? Okay, so you’re probably not wondering, but I’ll tell you anyway. It's "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?” Raise your hand if you remember it. And what was the catchy chorus? Take a listen to this version by Lonnie Donegan and if you’re of a certain age you’ll probably remember singing along when you were a kid.


  1. Interestingly, Spy Vibe posted about ukuleles today: http://spyvibe.blogspot.com/2011/02/james-bond-ukulele.html How bizarre.

  2. That's very cool!

    I have quite a bit of sheet music for the uke in this box. Sadly I can't post the actual sheet music without risking copyright troubles.

  3. Gloria2/25/2011

    I'll raise my hand! I don't remember Lonnie Donegan but I remember the song from the '50's. I was thinking it sounded like Spike Jones and His City Slickers and a quick google did find it listed as one of his recordings so I think that's my source. My father loved Spike Jones. Thanks for the memories.

  4. Impressed with this post. Especially as it is just a month today that I (and a dozen others) completed an intensive three day Learn to Play the Ukulele course at the local college. Oh the pain and the callouses on the finger tips - ouch! That said, I bet these guys made it look easy. Fascinating TAL.

  5. Laurie, I'm jealous because I took classes as a child. All of what I learned is long forgotten except for tuning: My dog has fleas.