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|Single by The Rivingtons|
|from the album Doin' the Bird|
|The Rivingtons singles chronology|
"Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" is a novelty nonsensical doo-wop song by the Rivingtons in 1962. It peaked at number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 35 on the Cashbox charts. The band released two similar follow-up songs over the next several months, "Mama-Oom-Mow-Mow (The Bird)" and "The Bird's the Word".
Together with the Rivingtons' 1963 novelty song "The Bird's the Word", "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" was the basis for the song "Surfin' Bird", a number four hit in 1963 by The Trashmen. The combination of the songs, played at a much livelier pace than the original doo-wop songs, was ad-libbed at an early live performance by the band and later released as a single. Initially, the single did not credit the original songwriters, but after the Rivingtons asked for their copyright to be respected, the songwriting credits were amended.
The Trashmen's follow-up single "Bird Dance Beat" referenced "Surfin' Bird" in the lyrics and featured several sections of the "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" syllables.
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- in 1963 covered in French by Les Célibataires EP on BARCLAY - 70554
- The song was later covered by the Beach Boys for their first live album, Beach Boys Concert, in 1964—this track entering the Philippines top 10 in February 1966 according to Billboard—and, again sung by Brian Wilson, on their album Beach Boys' Party! in 1965. The track was also included on the Music for Pleasure compilation album The Beach Boys Good Vibrations released in the UK in the 1970s.
- In 1967, the Freshmen scored a Top 10 hit with the song in Ireland. Versions by both The Sharonettes and Gary Glitter made the UK Top 40 in 1975. This was Glitter's first non-Top 10 single after 11 consecutive Top 10 hits.
- The composition was also covered in 1966 by the Thunderbirds, a Hong-Kong band headed by Robert Lee, the brother of martial-arts star Bruce Lee.
- The Deviants covered the song on their 1968 album Disposable.
- Gary Glitter released a version of "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" as a single in 1975.
- The song was performed by The California Raisins in the 1988 television special Meet the Raisins!.
- The song was featured in the 1989 television movie pilot episode Nick Knight starring Rick Springfield as a centuries-old vampire working as a police detective in modern-day Los Angeles.
- Clifford, Kermit the Frog, and the Giant Clams (voiced by Rockapella) later covered the song on the 1993 album Muppet Beach Party.
- An arrangement of "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" by the Persuasions was released on their 1977 album Chirpin' and was played in the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for 35 seconds. In 2011, a version performed by a choir was used in the film Happy Feet Two.
- New wave band João Penca e Seus Miquinhos Amestrados recorded a version in the 1990s.
- Super Ratones, a Rock and roll band from Argentina, recorded their version on their 1990 debut album "Rock de la playa".
Other appearances of the song's lyrics
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In 1964, surf rockers Jan and Dean morphed the song into "The New Girl in School", with new lyrics and the refrain "Doo-ron-de-ron-de" substituted for "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow". "New Girl in School" garnered significant U.S. airplay as the B-side of the Top 40 hit "Dead Man's Curve".
In 1969, the song's distinctive titular nonsense lyrics appeared as a similarly-sung chorus in Giorgio Moroder's first single "Looky Looky" and the Oak Ridge Boys' 1981 hit "Elvira" has an "oom-papa-mow-mow" chorus, an element that existed in songwriter Dallas Frazier's 1967 original version of the song. Al Frazier was a member of The Rivingtons and is listed as a co-author of "Papa Oom Now Now". It has been erroneously reported over the years that he and Dallas Frazier were the same person.
The title of the song is quoted in background lyrics of the song "Summer Nights" from the musical Grease. (The appearance of the lyric, which was written in 1962, in a song set in fall 1958 creates one of several anachronisms present in the musical.) Garage rock band Nobunny added the song's lyrics at the end of "I Am a Girlfriend". In 2010, heavy metal artist Rob Zombie repeatedly uses the song's title in the chorus of his song "Burn", which is the 8th track off of his solo album Hellbilly Deluxe 2.
- Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 by Joel Whitburn, Record Research Publications, Menomonee Falls, WI - ISBN 0-89820-155-1
- Cashbox Pop Singles Charts 1950-1993 by Pat Downey, George Albert, and Frank Hoffmann, Libraries Unlimited, Englewood, CO - ISBN 1-56308-316-7
- Billboard (date unknown). Surfin' Bird on the Billboard Hot 100. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20140827070528/http://www.billboard.com/charts/1964-02-29/hot-100. Archived from the original on August 27, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2013. Missing or empty
|title=(help). Copied 17 January 2012 from the Surfin' Bird article.
- Gueningsman, Ryan (2009-04-27). "A whole new generation is ‘hearing the word’". Herald Journal, 27 April 2009. Retrieved on 2009-04-29 from http://www.herald-journal.com/archives/2009/stories/new-generation-trashmen.html. Copied 17 January 2012 from the Surfin' Bird article.