There's a New Sound

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"There's a New Sound" was a 1953 novelty song by Tony Burrello and Tom Murray.[1]

Burrello, a songwriter and jazz pianist, and Murray started writing novelty songs after they were unsuccessful in having their more serious-minded songs recorded by prominent musicians.[1] They noted the success of music that was seemingly intentionally bad, after hearing a disc jockey play a version of "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" sung in Japanese and featuring a geisha orchestra. According to Murray, the disc jockey said that the record was one of the top hits but also "one of the most horrible records he had ever heard".[2]

Horrible Records issue H 100

Burrello and Murray responded by creating the songs "There's a New Sound" and "Fish", which they released as a single. The former song's lyrics consist of a single chorus repeated five times, each time at a higher pitch.[3] The lyrics describe a "new sound ... the strangest sound that you have ever heard", which turns out to be "the sound that's made by worms".[1] Burrello was credited as the artist on the single,[4] which was released on Burrello and Murray's own record label, Horrible Record Co.[3] as catalog #1.[4]

When Billboard magazine reviewed the single, it commented, "A weird one. 'The new sound is the sound made by worms.' Strange sound effects go with nonsense lyric. It's a studied attempt to be as screwy as possible. Quien Sabe?"[4] For the flip side, "Fish", Billboard′s review was "Same comment".[4]

Burrello and Murray originally had only 500 copies of "There's a New Sound"/"Fish" issued, to be sent to disc jockeys as a protest record.[3] However, within two weeks, they received orders for more than 100,000 copies of the single.[3]

Soon afterward, Burrello and Murray were called upon to write a song for Brucie Weil, who was then 6 years old.[5] The song they wrote for Weil, "God Bless Us All", reached #18 on the Billboard singles chart.[6][7]

Burrello and Murray were soon called upon to write music for other artists, including a theme song for John Conte and special material for Tony Bennett.[8]

"There's a New Sound" was later featured often on the Dr. Demento show[9][10] and performed by Scooter on The Muppet Show.


  1. ^ a b c Anderson, Tim J. (2006). Making Easy Listening: Material Culture and Postwar American Recording. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. p. xiii. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  2. ^ Ewald, William (1953-06-08). "Song Writers Guarantee New Record Worst". Oxnard Press-Courier. United Press. p. 9. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Fair Warning". Time. 1953-06-08. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Reviews of This Week's New Records". Billboard. May 23, 1953. p. 152. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "Once There Was a Boy ...". Life. 1953-08-31. p. 55. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  6. ^ Lonergan, David F. (2005). Hit Records, 1950-1975. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-8108-5129-0. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1994). Joel Whitburn's Pop Hits, 1940-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wis.: Record Research. p. 305. ISBN 0-89820-106-3. 
  8. ^ "Much Activity for Murray-Burrello". Billboard. 1953-08-15. p. 14. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  9. ^ Search of
  10. ^ Wolk, Douglas., "Review: Various Artists - Only In America", CMJ New Music Monthly, February 1996, page 16.