Napoleon XIV - I'm In Love With My Red Tricycle

Artist: Napoleon XIV

Song: I’m In Love With My Red Tricycle

Album: The Second Coming (1966)


The pseudonym of US songwriter, performer and recording engineer Jerry Samuels, Napoleon XIV burst into the US/UK Top 10 in the summer of 1966 with the bizarre "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!". Although clearly a novelty song, its subject matter, mental illness (brought on by the loss of the singer's dog), prompted a ban on many American radio stations. An attempted follow-up, "I'm In Love With My Little Red Tricycle" failed to capture the public's imagination and Napoleon's credibility was further dented when it was revealed that the performer undertaking personal appearances to promote the record was not Samuels but a certain Richard Stern. The presence of Napoleon imitator Kim Fowley hardly helped matters. An album based round the hit with lyrics by comedy writer Jim Lehrer was rushed out but in spite of such amusing titles as "Photogenic, Schizophrenic You", "The Nuts In My Family Tree" and "Bats In My Belfry", it failed to sell in vast quantities. Its final track was not even by Napoleon but instead featured the strains of Josephine XV warbling the acerbic "I'm Happy They Took You Away, Ha-Haaa!". In 1990, Napoleon's finest moment was given a fresh airing courtesy of former Dead Kennedys vocalist Jello Biafra, whose new group Lard recorded a startling version of the hit.


The LP starts off with innocent little celeste playing a variant of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", and nice little bicycle bell FX. Very evocative of childhood...then Napoleon, in a kiddie voice, intones "Thirty days hath Septober/April June and no wonder/All the rest have peanut butter!/All except my dear grandmother./She had a little red tricycle......I stole it! hahahahahaha" and so begins the story of a man, 43, who likes to ride his little red tricycle, getting stern reminders from his peers to act his age; and at the end he confesses "I didn't really steal the tricycle from my grandmother....it followed me home! hahahaha" and the nice celeste and bells fade to a peaceful but insane close.




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