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I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman – Whistling Jack Smith

I love everything about “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” by Whistling Jack Smith.

Here’s why: none of what you believe about the song is true.

First, the guy whistling on the record is not actually Whistling Jack Smith. His name is John O’Neill.

Second, John O’Neill didn’t actually appear as Whistling Jack Smith. Whistling Jack Smith was actually performed by a guy named Billy Moeller.

Third, Whistling Jack Smith was not actually Kaiser Bill’s Batman. I assume you knew that already.

Fourth, the lead instrument on “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” is a multi-tracked whistle. Not a guitar. Not a piano. Just a guy and his mellifluous whistle whistling the same chorus again and again. The best part of the song is the “Oy” near the very end. A pre-punk “Oy” in a song my grandparents loved. How post-modern.

Fifth and last, “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” by Whistling Jack Smith just might be the best combination of bizarre band name matched to silly song title ever. Please share your nominations for equally strange band/song title in the comments below.

Listen to “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” by Whistling Jack Smith

“I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” by Whistling Jack Smith reached #20 on the Billboard Top 40 back in the summer of 1967. That was, after all, the summer of love and it’s impossible not to love “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” or Whistling Jack Smith like they are your own.

It’s a novelty song. Click to hear more novelty songs

It’s an instrumental one-hit wonder (unless you count the “Oy” and I don’t). Click to hear more instrumental one-hit wonders

It’s bizarrely awesome and even better when you watch the video of a spot-on whistling performance by Whistling Jack Smith or John O’Neill or Billy Moeller or whoever this dandy fellow is bouncing around on the stage.

It would be hard to love a song more than this one.

Buy “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” by Whistling Jack Smith

Essential Music Hits Vol 1 - Various Artists

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I'm an obsessive music collector, cataloger, commenter and trivia nut. Sometimes I'm even a listener. One-hit wonders have always been a guilty pleasure.

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3 Responses to "I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman – Whistling Jack Smith"

  1. Jim Barton says:

    What a howl; thanks for posting that! I vaguely remember that now–somehow, I keep thinking of my mother listening to “Sweet” Dick Whittington on her radio in the kitchen while making my cereal (in 1967, I was six years old). “Sweet” Dick was the morning-drive DJ on KGIL AM 1260, a small radio station in the San Fernando Valley portion of Los Angeles. This guy had a sense of humor that was very “out there” for the times and he was always “pushing the envelope” and down through the years he had been fired from many a radio station (he even once fired HIMSELF!) before he found his niche and audience on KGIL. Anyway, “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” was just the kind of silly song “Sweet” Dick would have loved, and I think that’s where I remember it.

  2. Michael Waterman says:

    Love the song and love the story around the song even more. And the video may be the single greatest whistling performance ever. Glad you liked it.

  3. Jim Barton says:

    Here’s another song that “Sweet” Dick liked to play: “Eddie Are You Kidding Me” by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Most people living outside of Los Angeles probably didn’t get the joke: There was a men’s store way back in the day called Zachary All; I think it was on Wilshire Boulevard or perhaps Sunset Boulevard. They advertised very heavily on local television, and “Eddie Are You Kidding Me” (“You promised you would fit me in a fifty-dollar suit” or something like that) spoofed these ads.

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