Wooly Bully


This is neither about wool nor bulls. This refers to a popular and most amusing song titled “Wooly Bully” by an American rock band. The man behind Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs is actually called Domingo “Sam” Zamudio and took the stage name of Sam the Sham. He is now retired but he and his band were popular American rock and roll singers. He had a style all his own and wore a camp robe and turban. He would transport his equipment in a 1952 Packard hearse which had maroon velvet curtains. Two of their most popular hits in the mid-1960s were “Wooly Bully” and “Li’l Red Riding Hood”.

Sam brought together his “Pharaohs” in Dallas, Texas in 1961. The group’s name was an inspiration from the costumes which actor Yul Brynner wore when he played a pharaoh in the 1956 movie “The Ten Commandments”. His Pharaohs were Carl Miedke, Russel Fowler, Omar “Big Man” Lopez and Vincent Lopez.

Their very first hit was “Wooly Bully” which was written about Sam’s cat. The song went on to sell three million copies and hit number two on the Billboard charts in 1965 and was awarded a gold disc.

Next Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs recorded “Ju Ju Hand” and “Ring Dang Doo”.

Afterwards, the band reformed and recorded a fairy tale song called “Li’l Red Riding Hood” which climbed up to number 2 on the charts.

This was followed by “The Pied Piper” which sold more than a million copies and was awarded a gold disc.

Having found a successful formula Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs continued to come out with novelty tune such as “The Hair on My Chinny Chin Chin”, “How Do You Catch a Girl”, “I Couldn’t Spell”, and “Oh, That’s Good, No That’s Bad”.

Three girls, Fran Curcio, Lorraine Gennaro and Jane Anderson joined Sam and they became known as The Shamettes. Sam changed the name of the show to Sam the Sham Revue. He went on to perform solo in 1970 and came out with the album Sam, Hard and Heavy which won the Grammy Award for Best Album Notes in 1972. Sam went on to become a motivational speaker and poet and on the rare occasion, he still makes concert appearances. Here is an interesting song from his own album “Let’s Burn Down the Cornfield”.

What do you think?

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