I’m a blue toothbrush

I seem to be going through a phase of thinking back to songs I heard when I was a child; I mentioned ‘Hoots Mon‘ by Lord Rockingham’s XI, and that led to an exchange of comments about comedy songs  from long ago, including ‘Three wheels on my wagon‘, and then I mentioned ‘I’m a pink toothbrush…‘  It was a children’s song (I think!) imagining a romance between a pink and a blue toothbrush… it does sound very surreal now I actually write it down.

We don’t seem to have comedy songs any more and it’s probably just as well because they actually weren’t very funny (although we children thought they were!) ‘Does your chewing gum lose it’s flavour on the bedpost overnight?” ‘Hole in the ground’, ‘My ole man’s a dustman’... and so many more…. Charlie Drake, Bernard Cribbins, Lonnie Donegan, Max Bygraves… and it was Max Bygraves who was responsible for the toothbrush romance!

Bygraves was born in 1922 to a very poor family; his parents, six children and grandparents all lived in a two-bedroomed house. He went out to work at fourteen and then, as most men his age, had to join the forces and in his case it was the RAF.  He became a singer and entertainer and soon became one of the most popular stars in British variety. He maintained his popularity for decades before moving to Australia where he died aged eighty-nine.

I don’t think I can bear to play the ghastly toothbrush song, but you can find it on YouTube.. . but here is the lyric, just so you can judge what you are missing:

You’re a pink toothbrush, I’m a blue toothbrush
Have we met somewhere before?
You’re a pink toothbrush and I think toothbrush
That we met by the bathroom door.

Glad to meet toothbrush, such a sweet toothbrush
How you thrill me through and through
Don’t be hard toothbrush on a soft toothbrush
‘Cause I can’t help loving you.

Every time I hear you whistle…… it makes my nylon bristle…….

You’re a pink toothbrush, I’m a blue toothbrush
Won’t you marry me in haste?
I’ll be true toothbrush, just to you toothbrush
When we both use the same toothpaste.

You must admit, it is pretty terrible…. but here is what Max sounded like:



Hats off!

We somehow got into a conversation about Del Shannon, the American singer who I remember hearing on the radio when I was young. We didn’t have a TV and there wasn’t the same ‘pop’ culture as there is now, so I had no idea what he looked like. Popular music wasn’t so universal either; these days people of all ages by music (in many different ways) and are not restricted to genre or type… I have this fear that when I’m in an old folks’ home (many, many years hence) they will still be playing Vera Lynn and Max Bygraves!

Del Shannon was a favourite singer of ours, my sister and I knew the words of his sons which we had just learned by listening, no internet with sites sharing lyrics! I think the only record of his we actually had was ‘Swiss Maid’ which had ‘Ginny in the Mirror’ on the B side. Thee were several things which made me like Del Shannon then; it was his voice, it was the backing, and it was the story in his songs – even when I was little I preferred something with narrative. So having thought about Del, and the other songs which I only ever heard on the radio, ‘Hats off to Larry’, ‘Little Town Flirt’ and ‘His latest Flame’ – later recorded by Elvis Presley, and maybe his most well-known song from 1961, ‘Runaway’.

I realised I didn’t know anything about Del, not even what he looks like, and when I began to investigate I was shocked and sad to find out that he was dead, in fact he died a long time ago, in 1990. he was only fifty-five when he killed himself… tragic. he was born in Michigan in 1934, and his real name was Charles Westover. His first hit was in 1961, ‘Runaway’ which was no.1 in the charts across the world, including the USA, UK and Australia. He didn’t ever have the same success with his subsequent records, and I guess that not many people who didn’t know him when he was popular would know him now.

Here’s a little Del:

So that’s what he looked like!