Jeepers Creepers (song)

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"Jeepers Creepers" is a popular song and jazz standard. The music was written by Harry Warren and the lyrics by Johnny Mercer for the 1938 movie Going Places.[1] It was premiered by Louis Armstrong and has been covered by many other musicians.[2] The song was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1938 but lost to "Thanks for the Memory".[3] The song was included in the 1984 Smithsonian collection American Popular Song: Six Decades of Songwriters and Singers[4] and in the 1998 Warren's CD collection The Songs Of Harry Warren.[5]

Background[edit]

In 1930s Hollywood, black actors were not filmed singing to each other, so Armstrong sang it to a racehorse named Jeepers Creepers.[1] The phrase "jeepers creepers", a minced oath for "Jesus Christ," predates both the song and film.[1] Mercer said that the title came from a Henry Fonda line in an earlier movie.[2] The lyrics include:

Jeepers Creepers, where'd ya get those peepers?
Jeepers Creepers, where'd ya get those eyes?[2]

1939 recordings[edit]

Controversy[edit]

  • Siouxsie and the Banshees's 1988 single "Peek-a-Boo" caused a minor controversy shortly after its release, as the lines of the chorus ("Golly jeepers/Where'd you get those weepers?/Peepshow, creepshow/Where did you get those eyes?") were found to be too similar to the lyrics of "Jeepers Creepers." To remedy the situation and to avoid legal action, the band gave co-songwriting credit on "Peek-a-Boo" to Warren and Mercer

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Furia, Philip; Patterson, Laurie (2010). The Songs of Hollywood. Oxford University Press. pp. 84–85. ISBN 978-0-19-533708-2.
  2. ^ a b c "Music USA #7881-A, Interview with Johnny Mercer". 28 July 1976.
  3. ^ "The 11th Academy Awards: 1939". oscars.org. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  4. ^ Various; Adele Astaire; Al Jolson; Aretha Franklin; Barbara Cook; Barbra Streisand; Benny Goodman And His Orchestra; Bessie Smith; Billie Holiday (1984), American Popular Song: Six Decades Of Songwriters And Singers, Internet Archive, Smithsonian Collection, retrieved 2021-01-03
  5. ^ Various; Al Jolson; Billie Holiday with Teddy Wilson & Orch.; Bing Crosby; Bobby Darin; Buddy Clark; Dick Haymes; Dinah Shore; Doris Day (1998), The Songs Of Harry Warren, Internet Archive, Warner/ Chappell Music, Inc., retrieved 2021-01-03
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890–1954. Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 533. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  7. ^ Combs, Paul (2012). Dameronia: The Life and Music of Tadd Dameron. The University of Michigan Press. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-472-02881-8.