Saturday, December 07, 2019

MAD - Mad Twists Rock´N´Roll (1962) & Fink Along With Mad (1963)

Let’s hear it for Alfred!  Mad Magazine released two great albums in the early 1960s:  Mad Twists Rock´N´Roll  &  Fink Along With Mad 
A wonderful symbiosis of Mad humour and rock´n´roll. Produced independently by Norm Blagman and Sam Bobrick who then played it for the Mad staff who then saw to it that it was released. Now, let’s do the pretzel!

MAD Magazine was a revolution when it came along.  The story is well known -- William M. Gaines, publisher of horror comics, decided to produce a comic that was, well, comic.  His first two editors, Harvey  Kurtzman (whose importance to the magazine was overstated) and Al Feldstein (whose importance is often overlooked), created a juggernaut of low brow bust-a-gut humor. 

It was wildly successful.  And MAD succeeded just about everywhere. Reprints of the magazine were made into books. There was a successful off-Broadway show (The MAD Show).  They made their mark on the legal system with a Supreme Court ruling that allowed people to write comedy lyrics to popular songs.

And, of course, they did music.  Fink Along With MAD is one result. There were a couple of earlier records:  Musically MAD and MAD "Twists" Rock 'n Roll.

The first single from it was massively popular, even if it never made the charts.  MAD would repackage their best articles into "Annuals." And, in order to get people to buy materials that they probably had already read, they would throw in special features.  For The Worst of MAD #9, they included a flexi-disk of "It's a Gas," billed as "Alfred E. Neuman vocalizes!"   The song was a  peppy tune.  After each musical phrase, the band would stop and you'd hear a burp.  For Mad's audience, that was hilarious.

So Mad also released an album:  Fink Along With Mad.
The title is a reference to the Sing Along with Mitch albums of the period and was filled with classic Mad humor. Mad had a very odd way of looking at teenagers that probably wasn't ever true, but which they constantly used for jokes.

There are twelve songs on each record:

Mad Twists Rock´N´Roll (Big Top LP, 1962)
1. (Throwing the) High School Basketball Game
2. (She Got A) Nose Job
3. Please Betty Jane (Shave Your Legs)
4. Somebody Else´s Dandruff
5. Blind Date
6. Agnes (The Teenage Russian Spy)
7. Let´s Do the Pretzel
8. I´ll Always Remember Being You
9. When My Pimples Turned To Dimples
10. She´s A Serious Teenager In Love
11. (All I Have Left Is) My Johny´s Hubcap
12. Written On the Boys Bathroom Wall

Fink Along With Mad (Big Top LP, 1963)
13. Let´s Do the Fink
14. Her Mustache
15. Biggest Mouth In Town
16. Her Dad´s Got Money
17. His Hair
18. It´s A Gas
19. Don´t Put Onions on Your Hamburger
20. Loving a Siamese Twin
21. She Lets Me Watch Her Mom and Pop Fight
22. The Braces on Your Teeth
23. Contact Lenses
24. The Neighbourhood Draft Board
25. A Mad Extra 


For most of its history, MAD magazine has been at the forefront of gleefully juvenile printed humor. Its pop culture spoofs are legendary, its cartoonists among the finest humorists of their generation. But along the way, MAD created some of the most fun (and suitably warped) musical creations of the 20th century.

MAD’s first real foray into recorded sound began in the late 50s with Musically Mad. Conceived, composed and directed by Space Age Pop arranger Bernie Green, a veteran of radio comedy who served as musical director of the anarchic, acerbic Henry Morgan Show (and whose later television work included the excellent Garry Moore Show and Wally Cox’s Mr. Peepers.) Morgan himself makes several contributions, helping Green send up everything from Gunsmoke to The Mikado.

After the inevitably-titled 45 “What, Me Worry?” MAD moved up to the big leagues with a full-length LP (pressed on vinyl, not cardboard!) 1962’s Mad “Twists” Rock ‘N’ Roll was written and produced by Norm Blagman and Sam Bobrick. The prolific Bobrick later wrote for Andy Griffith, Get Smart, The Paul Lynde Show, The Smothers Brothers, and Saved By The Bell (as well as a very MAD-esque comedy album called Folk Songs Of Madison Avenue, credited to “The Flagpole Singers”); Blagman wrote and arranged for Tiny Tim, contributed to the original 1968 soundtrack of The Producers, cowrote “Give Me The Right” and “Put The Blame On Me” for Elvis Presley, and would continue making MAD records into the 1980s. The album featured a time capsule of 1962 pop culture preoccupations spoofing James Bond (“Agnes The Teenage Russian Spy”), teenage car-race death ballads (“All I Have Left Is My Johnny’s Hub Cap), and chiropractically-ill-advised dance crazes (“Let’s Do The Pretzel”).

The success of Mad Twists demanded a follow-up, 1963’s Fink Along With MAD, which featured the same creative team and the same clever spoofs, from the heartfelt “Loving A Siamese Twin” to “She Lets Me Watch Her Mom & Pop Fight”. It also features one of MAD’s most memorable—and most revisited—songs, “It’s A Gas”, which artfully combines percussive belching with a great King Curtis sax solo. Sam Bobrick co-writer of "It's A Gas" anotated in albums credits that the musicians themselves provided the burps. The band loved going up to the mike, we would just have them belch, and then we cut the belches in later.  This album is one for the ages. [extract from]

Of course, MAD started declining a bit in the 70s, when it was eclipsed by The National Lampoon. It's still going strong, but seems a bit formulaic, and I find it sad that I usually enjoy Cracked (MAD's second-rate competitor for many years) online more than anything I've read in MAD in years.

Society has changed, of course, but both of these MAD albums are still very funny albums in my opinion. But then again, you could call me MAD, MAD, MAD I say, absolutely MAD


Ty to Original Sharer.

"I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free"


  1. I had this as a kid, haven't thought about it in decades! Thanks

  2. Valeu a publicação agora no meu Pen Drive!

  3. I have approximately 30 issues for sale staring with issues 100 an

  4. Starting with issues 100 and 101

  5. My parents' friends bought them the MAD Twists record as a joke. I sort of adopted it at around four years old when I got old enough to turn on a record player myself. My parents preferred classical music. What a shock it was to my 40-something year old parents when they found out I had the songs memorized. I sang "Please Johnny Please" for them when we visited my parents' friends again. I loved looking at the pictures on the cover, listening to the songs and dreaming of how cool it must be to be a teenager. Boys actually say hi to girls when they see each other in the hall, which a boy is going to not do anymore after finding his girl's number written on the boy's bathroom wall. "What's a fool got to do when he finds his girl's number written on the boy's bathroom wall". I couldn't wait until boys do anything besides call girls names if we saw each other in the hall! In kindergarten the adults emphasized to us that we needed to understand which restroom is which and the Big Sin it would be to see in the opposite sex restroom. I thought that was a song of a high school girl who still didn't have boys rooms and girls rooms figured out.
    I loved that record as a child, looking forward to Some Day ages from then getting to be a teenager, and I love it now, as a nostalgia thing. "Oh even if I live to be 62, I'll always remember being young..." (and listening to my MAD record!)

    1. Lol Ty for the memories it vrought a smile to my face..🎅

  6. obrigado muito bom. lauro porto.

  7. Thanks a LOT! This will not only help me finish the BigTop Records' collection that I want to complete BUT I always wandered how the rest of this LP (S) sounded!!!


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