“Yummy, Yummy, Yummy
I got love in my tummy
And I feel like a-lovin’ you”
By Arthur Resnick and Joey Levine
“Yummy Yummy Yummy” (YYY) is a song by Arthur Resnick and Joey Levine, first recorded by Ohio Express in 1968. Their version reached No. 4 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart in June and No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart. It has since been covered by many artists. Ohio Express was a studio concoction and none of the “official” members appear on the record. Joey Levine sang lead vocals.
I remember this song well as I was a Junior in high school when it was released. I simply could not believe my ears. It was such an awful song with amazingly stupid lyrics and yet it made it’s writers a lot of money. Why am I writing about this terrible song? Because I am tired of hearing friends tell me how bad music is today. I promise not one modern pop song is worse than this.
The fact is that pop music has always had a lot of stupid songs on the charts. The simple reason is that pop or popular music is intended to be catchy, create ear worms and not be controversial. It is a simple fact that YYY checked all three of those boxes. Most songs on the pop charts are written to entertain the young, tweens, teens and 20 somethings, and not push any boundaries. That is why they become popular.
Very few enduring songs of real importance have hit the top 10. John Lennon’s “Imagine” reached number 3 in 1971 is one example but there important songs such as Billy Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind,” Macklemore & Lewis’s “Same Love” never touched the charts yet endure and influence still today.
Why is that I wonder? The reason I believe is that each of those songs pushed the envelope socially. “Strange Fruit”’s oblique reference to lynchings and “Same Love”’s adoption as a gay marriage anthem assured they would not become hit “popular songs.”
The point here is that you can’t judge current music by the pop charts. YYY was a terrible song even in 1968 but great enduring music was also created in 1968. Paul Simon’s “Mrs Robinson,” Lennon & McCartney’s “Hey Jude” and others also hit the charts that year and have continued to be played and covered to this day.
That also means that judging todays music by the pop charts is useless. There is so much great music out there being made everyday. Granted much more than ever falls though the cracks. Who knows what masterpieces are out there, when Spotify reports that sixty thousand new songs are released every day. There is no way for anyone to dig though that many songs to find the masterpieces.
So much truly great new music exists today and more is released every single day. Oh, it may not be what you like especially if you like me are older. But dig around and you can find young, new artists you will love. I suggest you start by checking out Molly Tuttle, Billy Strings, Lake Street Dive, Sarah Jarosz, Watchouse (formerly Mandolin Orange) and the brother/sister group Lawrence. Those are just some of my favorite young artists that will most likely never hit the charts but are doing incredible and I would even say groundbreaking work.
So ignore what the old folks say about all modern music sucking. A lot of old music sucked as well, especially old pop. There is still a lot of YYYs being released but there is gold out there too. You just gotta dig a little.
To quote David Byrne, “Same as it ever was, same as it ever was”.
Until next time…
Randy Lewis Brown may be an over-the-hill, baby boomer and curmudgeon, but he is also a multi-award-winning Northeast Texas-based singer-songwriter and self-proclaimed “performing philosopher”. Despite his years, and an early bedtime, he remains steadfast in attempting to decipher the intersection of spirit, faith, science and the human condition, always trying to maintain a sense of wonder and whimsy in his occasionally clever folk-Americana songs and stories.