1967 Whistling Jack Smith – I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman
British songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway wrote a cute little ditty that started life as Too Much Birdseed. The song became an instrumental produced by Noel Walker for Deram Records. The recording included the skills of various studio musicians and The Mike Sammes Singers.
In the thirties and forties, a famous vaudevillian named Whispering Jack Smith recorded music. Noel made a slight change to that name and claimed the record featured Whistling Jack Smith. No telling where the title I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman came from, but the Batman in the title referred to a military valet rather than a superhero.
Claims point to multiple suspects as the whistler on the record. It might have been Noel himself. It also may have been trumpet player John O’Neill, who was known for his whistling ability and was one of the members of The Mike Sammes Singers. Perhaps it was both of them, and maybe even more people whistled along. No matter, the single peaked at #5 in the UK and #20 on the Hot 100 in the US in 1967.
Once the single got far enough on the charts to attract some attention, the record company hired Coby Wells to portray Jack. Prior to that gig, Coby had been a roadie for the band Unit 4 + 2 (a band that included his brother). Coby made multiple appearances as Whistling Jack Smith and pantomimed whistling along with the music.
They produced an entire album of songs and up to ten additional singles got released, but none of them reached the charts.
Jack was clearly a one-hit-wonder, although it’s still unclear who should get the credit for being Jack!
My books are on sale on Amazon (or free with Kindle Unlimited) and contain a lot more Lost or Forgotten Oldies. You can visit my author page to see them and you can read them for free with Kindle Unlimited!