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Napoleon XIV
Birth name Jerry Samuels
Also known as N. Bonaparte
Born May 3, 1938 (1938-05-03) (age 71)
Origin New York, USA
Genres Comedy, Novelty
Occupations Proto-Rapper, Entertainment booking agent
Instruments Voice
Years active 1966-Present
Labels Warner Bros. Records
Associated acts Dr. Demento
Notable instruments
Hand-Crank Siren

Napoleon XIV was the pseudonym of American singer-songwriter and record producer Jerry Samuels (born 3 May 1938, New York), and achieved one-hit wonder status with the Top 5 hit novelty song "They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!" in 1966.

Contents

Biography

In 1966, Samuels concocted "They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!" while working at Associated Recording Studios in New York. The public found out his true identity when Cousin Brucie of WABC in New York outed him. Jerry chose the name "Napoleon" upon completion of the work at the suggestion of his drummer friend at the session. He didn't want to use his real name because he didn't want to be typed as a novelty performer. He chose "XIV" simply because he liked the way it looked, and so that the name could be trademarked.

The record quickly climbed the charts, reaching #3 nationally just one week after its release but fell from the charts almost as quickly after stations stopped playing it in the wake of protests from advocacy groups for the mentally ill.

The success of the single inspired a Warner Bros. album of the same name in 1966 (reissued by Rhino in 1985), most of which continued with the mental illness theme (for example: "Bats In My Belfry" and "Split Level Head" which features different vocal parts in each stereo speaker). A second single of two recordings from that album was relatively unnoticed.

Samuels agreed to only one public appearance as Napoleon XIV, where he had to lip-synch to the record since he wouldn't be able to duplicate on stage what he'd done in the studio. After that, an imposter was used, which Jerry later regretted. While Napoleon XIV did not achieve further mainstream success, recent cover versions of They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! indicate that he has remained a cult favorite.

Discography

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Singles

  • 1966 "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" / "!aaaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er'yehT" Warner Bros. (5831)
  • 1966 "I'm In Love With My Little Red Tricycle" / "Doin' The Napoleon" Warner Bros. (5853)
  • 1973 "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!" / "!aaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er'yehT" Warner Bros. (WB 7726) (re-issue of WB 5831)
  • 1990 "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!" (1966 recording) / "They're Coming To Get Me Again, Ha-Haaa!" Collectables (3859)

Albums

  • 1985 (reissue of above on Rhino LP 816)

NOTE: The backwards version of the album title track does not appear on either the original or reissue albums, although the backwards title is listed on the front cover.

  • 1996 The Second Coming Rhino / WEA/Rhino R2 72402
    • "Ode To A Farmer Boy" (New Recording 1995)
    • "The Explorer" (previously unreleased, recorded in 1968 for second unissued album, For God's Sake, Stop The Feces)
    • "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!"
    • "I'm In Love With My Little Red Tricycle"
    • "Photogenic, Schizophrenic You"
    • "Marching Off To Bedlam"
    • "Doin' The Napoleon"
    • "The Place Where The Nuts Hunt The Squirrels"
    • "Let's Cuddle Up In My Security Blanket"
    • "Goofin' On The Job" (Recorded in 1968)
    • "Bats In My Belfry"
    • "Dr. Psyche, The Cut-Rate Head-Shrinker"
    • "I Live In A Split Level Head"
    • "I'm Happy They Took You Away, Ha-Haaa!" - Josephine XV
    • "The Nuts On My Family Tree"
    • "I Owe A Lot To Iowa Pot" (New Recording - 1995)
    • "Can You Dig It?" (Recorded in 1968)
    • "The Song I Wrote For Robert Goulet" (New recording - 1995)
    • "They're Coming To Get Me Again, Ha-Haaa!"
    • "It May Appear Ridiculous" (New recording - 1995)
    • "!aaaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er'yehT" (unlisted bonus track)

References

External links


Napoleon XIV
Birth name Jerry Samuels
Born May 3, 1938 (1938-05-03) (age 72)
Origin New York, United States
Genres Comedy, novelty
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1966–present
Labels Warner Bros. Records

Napoleon XIV was the pseudonym of the American singer-songwriter and record producer Jerry Samuels (born 3 May 1938, New York), who achieved one-hit wonder status with the Top 5 hit novelty song "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" in 1966. Samuels also wrote The Shelter of Your Arms, a top 20 hit for Sammy Davis, Jr. in 1964.

Contents

Biography

In 1966, Samuels concocted "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" while working at Associated Recording Studios in New York. The public found out his true identity when Cousin Brucie of WABC outed him. The record quickly climbed the charts, reaching #3 nationally just one week after its release. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[1]

The success of the single inspired a Warner Bros. album of the same name in 1966 (reissued by Rhino in 1985), most of which continued with the mental illness theme (for example: "Bats In My Belfry" and "Split Level Head" which features different vocal parts in each stereo speaker). A second single of two recordings from that album was relatively unnoticed. Today Jerry Samuels works as a singer and agent who books various performers. He works the Delaware Valley area, but many still remember him as 'Napoleon XIV' of novelty-cult music fame.

Discography

Singles

  • 1966 "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" / "!aaaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er'yehT" Warner Bros. (5831)
  • 1966 "I'm In Love With My Little Red Tricycle" / "Doin' The Napoleon" Warner Bros. (5853)
  • 1973 "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!" / "!aaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er'yehT" Warner Bros. (WB 7726) (re-issue of WB 5831)
  • 1990 "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!" (1966 recording) / "They're Coming To Get Me Again, Ha-Haaa!" Collectables (3859)

Albums

NOTE: The backwards version of the album title track does not appear on either the original or reissue albums, although the backwards title is listed on the front cover.

  • 1996 The Second Coming Rhino / WEA/Rhino R2 72402
    • "Ode To A Farmer Boy" (New Recording 1995)
    • "The Explorer" (previously unreleased, recorded in 1968 for second unissued album, For God's Sake, Stop The Feces)
    • "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!"
    • "I'm In Love With My Little Red Tricycle"
    • "Photogenic, Schizophrenic You"
    • "Marching Off To Bedlam"
    • "Doin' The Napoleon"
    • "The Place Where The Nuts Hunt The Squirrels"
    • "Let's Cuddle Up In My Security Blanket"
    • "Goofin' On The Job" (Recorded in 1968)
    • "Bats In My Belfry"
    • "Dr. Psyche, The Cut-Rate Head-Shrinker"
    • "I Live In A Split Level Head"
    • "I'm Happy They Took You Away, Ha-Haaa!" - Josephine XV
    • "The Nuts On My Family Tree"
    • "I Owe A Lot To Iowa Pot" (New Recording - 1995)
    • "Can You Dig It?" (Recorded in 1968)
    • "The Song I Wrote For Robert Goulet" (New recording - 1995)
    • "They're Coming To Get Me Again, Ha-Haaa!"
    • "It May Appear Ridiculous" (New recording - 1995)
    • "!aaaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er'yehT" (unlisted bonus track)

References

  1. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 208–209. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 

External links


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