Wednesday, June 07, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Challengers of the Duke


Nothing can stop the Duke of Earl. 

That's what Eugene Dixon, better known as Gene Chandler, proclaimed in his 1962 hit "Duke of Earl." 

You gotta admire the guy's regal confidence: "As I walk through the world nothing can stop the Duke of Earl ..." 

And that confidence is contagious. Sometimes I sing that verse on my afternoon walks as I survey my own Dukedom.

Back in the early '60s "Duke of Earl" was the kind of song that was bound to inspire answer songs. Chandler himself might have been the first, quickly releasing "Walk On With the Duke" as a follow-up just a few months later. Of course it wasn't nearly as successful as the original "Duke."

On the original song, Chandler told his girlfriend, "And when I hold you /You'll be my Duchess, Duchess of Earl/ We'll walk through my dukedom /And a paradise we will share ..."

Apparently Bobbie Smith of the Dream Girls wanted to take the Duke up on this offer:

However, a group called The Pearlettes begged to differ over who was the true Dutchess of Earl:

Meanwhile, Dorothy Berry -- who was married to Richard Berry (the "Louie Louie" composer, not the former mayor of Albuquerque) claimed to be "The Girl Who Stopped the Duke of Earl." I sense a doowop catfight in the air!

However, a male group called The Upfronts claim that they are the ones who stopped the Duke of Earl -- perhaps by including riffs from The Monotones' "Book of Love" as well as the original "Duke".

Somehow not even the Duke of Prunes," (which appeared on The Mothers of Invention's second album, Absolutely Free) could stop the Duke of Earl:


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