The Hut-Sut Song
|"The Hut Sut Song"|
|Song by Horace Heidt and His Musical Knights|
|Writer(s)||Leo V. Killion, Ted McMichael, Jack Owens|
"The Hut-Sut Song (a Swedish Serenade)" is a novelty song from the 1940s with nonsense lyrics. The song was written in 1941 by Leo V. Killion, Ted McMichael and Jack Owens. The first and most popular recording was by Horace Heidt and His Musical Knights. A 1941 Time Magazine entry suggests the song was probably a creative adaptation of an unpublished Missouri River song called "Hot Shot Dawson".
The lyrics of the chorus are supposed to be a garbled rendition of a Swedish folk song. The chorus goes in part:
- Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah and a brawla, brawla sooit.
The song then purports to define some of the words, supposedly Swedish: "Rawlson" being a Swedish town, "rillerah" being a stream, "brawla" being the boy and girl, "hut-sut" being their dream and "sooit" being the schoolteacher. The story told in the song is that of a boy (and later a girl) who play hooky from school and spend their days fishing and dreaming by the riverbank, until their schoolteacher finds them and, to prevent the incident from happening again, "plant(s) poison oak all along the stream." The children end up back at school. To explain why the words bear no resemblance to actual Swedish language, the song notes that the boy didn't know any Swedish and that the nonsense words were simply ones the boy made up to go along with the melody he heard.
The song was also recorded by various artists such as Mel Tormé, Freddy Martin, The Four King Sisters and Spike Jones. The song is of the same genre as other novelty songs of the era, such as "Mairzy Doats" and "Three Little Fishies (Itty Bitty Pool)" – all three of which were subjected to the musical arrangements of Spike Jones.
In popular culture
The popularity of the song is lampooned in a 1940s film short. In the film, The King's Men (who also performed on Fibber McGee and Molly), play young men living in a boarding house who are endlessly singing the song while getting dressed, eating dinner, playing cards, etc., until an exasperated fellow boarder finally has them removed to an insane asylum.
The song is featured in the movies From Here to Eternity, Ace in the Hole, and A Christmas Story. In the 1942 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies animated short Horton Hatches the Egg, the lyrics are further garbled as "Hut sut ra, sat on a willowa, so on, so on, so forth". A snippet of the song was also sung by Rowlf the Dog in a Veterinarians' Hospital sketch on the Muppet Show.
In the UK, an episode of a 1970s sitcom Happy Ever After (a show that evolved into the later sitcom Terry and June), starring Terry Scott and comedy doyenne June Whitfield, was built around the song. In the episode "The Hut-Sut-Song" (series 5, episode 2, first aired in September 1978) Terry remembers the Melba Trio version of the song from his youth. He discovers that his 78rpm copy is badly scratched, and finding a replacement becomes a comedic quest throughout the episode.
An 1994 episode of Rocko's Modern Life entitled "Hut Sut Raw" has Rocko, Heffer and Filburt singing a somewhat mangled version of the song.
On an episode of McHale's Navy (1962-1966) a bit of the song was sung by Ensign Chuck Parker (Tim Conway) into a two way radio as a code.
- Staff (July 28, 1941). "Hot Shot and Hut-Sut". Time. rogerowenspeanutman.com. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
- Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854. Tape 2, side B.
- "Soundie – The Hut Sut Song". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2010-09-09.