Babalu + Babalina

It’s Song Lyric Sunday again! This week, Jim has asked us to choose a song by a Canadian group. The Eternals, a Canadian Group, immediately came to mind. Here’s Babalu’s Wedding Day:

 

Lyrics

Where’s everybody running
Look at everybody go, go-go-go
Somebody please tell me, what’s all the rush
But tell you Babalu’s getting married, what you say?
Babalu’s getting married, that cheap skate
Hear the church bells ringing-ding dong
All the people are signing’s, hay, hay
And the bride is waiting, wait wait
Hear them all celebrating, so gay
But he ain’t the money, oh oh
Babalu’s wedding day

Some people think it’s funny
Some people think it’s true, true, true, true
Babalu’s getting married, what will he do?

He met his woman at a baseball game
Playing second base for the Milwaukee Braves
Husky Babalina was her name
Asked her for an autograph and made a date
Babalu, Babalu, Babalu’s wedding day

He had a friend who lived at the corner
He thought Babalu was a gone-er
From his friend he tried to borrow a dime
So he could get to church in time
Babalu, Babalu, Babalu’s wedding day

He had a monkey tied on a string
An organ grinder that he played
Counting the money at the end of the day
The monkey took the money and he ran away
Babalu, Babalu, Babalu’s wedding day

Babalu, Babalu, Babalu’s wedding day
Babalu, Babalu, Babalu’s wedding day.

The Story

The Eternals were based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and recorded several cover songs that became Canadian hits in the late ’60s.

The Eternals formed during the late ’50s, in the Freeman Street neighborhood of the Bronx, where the quintet — Charlie Gerona on lead, Fred Hodge on first tenor, Ernie Sierra on second tenor, Arnie Torres on baritone, and Alex Miranda on bass — started out singing in junior high school as the Gleamers, cutting their teeth on covers by the Flamingoes and the Spaniels; Gerona, meanwhile, was crafting songs in the humorous pop tradition of the Coasters, the Cadets, and the Olympics. Soon the Gleamers were calling themselves the Orbits, and developing a sound all their own. A novelty Gerona penned for the holidays, “Christmas in the Jungle,” which came complete with jungle sounds and bird calls (mostly done by Torres) received airplay from the Murray the K and WABC’s disc jockey Bruce Morrow’s shows and soon became their calling card.

Their new manager, Bill Martin, a friend of Morrow’s, then turned them on to Melba Records chief Morty Craft, who put the group in Beltone Studios in late spring of 1959 to record the song, which by now had been changed to “Rockin’ in the Jungle.” The   group also felt that a new name was in order and crowned themselves the Eternals, no doubt hoping for everlasting success. “Rockin’ in the Jungle” was released in early summer on Craft’s new Hollywood Records label, becoming an immediate hit in New York (number 11 locally). On July 13th, the song hit Billboard’s national Pop Charts, where it lodged at number 78. The Eternals’ second novelty release — “Babalu’s Wedding Day” — was just starting to break, when the Etemals’ manager felt compelled to sue shady booking agents who were apparently attempting a less-than-ethical move on the group. As a result of the court case, “Babalu’s” distribution was stopped and the Eternals were denied their
shot at stardom. (The single became a jingle on WABC disc jockey Bob Lewis’ radio show and helped kept the group’s image alive for years to come).

The original Eternals were:

  • Carlos “Charlie” Girona
  • Ernie Sierra
  • Fred “Pineapple” Hodge
  • Anibal “Arnie” Torres
  • Alex Miranda

This song has a VERY interesting background. A lot of jocks began to play this in the August to early sept of that year.. then for some reason the major stations stopped cold playing it. There was never an explanation. We all thought the record was GREAT and went around to as many record stores till we found a copy. In some circles there was a kind of well, ripple because the ethnic makeup of the group was not considered regular doo-wop. In those days you had to be one or the other. Well, that’s the way it was in a lot of neighborhoods. But it didn’t matter because we all went crazy and Babalu blasted out of every party, local juke box and if you has a 45 player option in your car, and we had in our Grand Prix, you could blast it in simulated stereo from your ride….Hey, wonderful memories! ~ Cindy S. YouTube

 

 

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