Saturday, July 6, 2024



There are numerous songs that might be regarded as wacky or novelty songs, many from the 50s and 60s when such songs were more common than today – One Eyed, One Horned Flying Purple People Eater; The Streak; I Told the Witch Doctor; Monster Mash; Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini; Surfer Bird; Gimme Dat Ding.

Many are no longer PC and wouldn’t be played today – Ahab the Arab; My Boomerang Won’t Come Back; Mr Custer; They’re Coming to Take Me Away; Shaddap Your Face.

One novelty song that you never hear anymore is Leroy Van Dyke’s ‘The Auctioneer’, which nonetheless remains fun and is clever. A classic.


Video link:



Hey, alright, sir here we go there an' what can we get for 'em?
I have a 600 dollar down here now 10 now 25 an' a 35 an' now 55, 60, 65, 75, 75 another 85 dollars gonna buy 'em there

[Verse 1]
There was a boy in Arkansas who wouldn't listen to his ma
When she told him that he should go to school
He'd sneak away in the afternoon, take a little walk and pretty soon
You'd find him at the local auction barn
He'd stand and listen carefully then pretty soon he began to see
How the auctioneer could talk so rapidly
He said, "Oh my it's do or die I've got to learn that auction cry
Gotta make my mark and be an auctioneer"

25 dollar bid and 30 now 30 dollar 30 dollar
30 dollar 30 dollar give me a hollar 30 dollar
Who will bid it at a 35 dollar bid?
35 dollar 35 35 make it 35 and a 35 make it 35 and a 35
Who will bid it at a 35 dollar bid?

[Verse 2]
As time went on he did his best and all could see he didn't jest
He practised call and bids both night and day
His pappy'd find him behind the barn just a workin up an awful storm
As he tried to imitate the auctioneer
Then his pap said "Son we just can't stand a havin' a mediocre man
You gotta take that auction usin' our good name
I'll send you off to auction school and then you'll be nobody's fool
You can take your place among the best"

35 dollar bid and 40 now 40 dollar 40 dollar
40 dollar 40 dollar give me a hollar 40 dollar
Who will bid it at at a 40 dollar bid?
40 dollar 45 45 will you make it 45 give me 45 and a 45
Who will bid it at a 45 dollar bid?

[Verse 3]
So from that morning he went to school there grew a man who played it cool
He came back home a full fledged auctioneer
And people came from miles around just to hear him make that rhythmic sound
That filled their hearts with such a happy cheer
His fame reached out from shore to shore he had all he could do and more
He had to buy a plane to get around
Now he's the tops in all the land so let's all give that man a hand
He's the best of all the auctioneers

45 dollar bid and 50 now 50 dollar 50 dollar
50 dollar 50 dollar give me a hollar 50 dollar
Who will bid it at a 50 dollar bill?
50 dollar 55 55 make it 55 and a 55 make it 55 and
Sold that hog for a 50 dollar bill

Hey, alright, sir open the gate, let em' out and walk 'em boys. Here a comes a lot number 29 in, what're we gon' get for 'em? I got a 25 I get a 35 an' now a 50 make it 50 better t' make it 55, 60, will ya give me 65, 75, an' now 85, an' now 95, 100, an' now a 25, an' get a 75 an' a 2 an' a 3 an' a 4 an' a 5 an' a 6 an' a 7 an' a 800 dollars gonna buy 'em there


Some listener and viewer comments at Leroy Van Dyke video:

I had a horrendous stutter when i was a kid and Dad had an idea. He bet me I couldn't learn and sing this song...... discovered I could sing and not stutter! All these years later i still love this song.

This song was played at my grandad’s funeral, he ran auctions for over 25+ years. We were all laughing when it came on.

When I was a child about six this came out and my uncle was enamored of it. He set to imitating it and was he was finished, said, I believe I have my new employment. He became an auctioneer and was well thought of in the community. He was sure fun to listen to.

Never heard a remake....never seen a person who could remotely sing it. The speed in this is off charts. Had Leroy been given any of today’s rap or quick lyrical music he would kill it. He is way before my time but so far ahead of time.

I heard this the first time around 1963. Summer of 1964, between my Junior and Senior year in high school, attended Auction School in Mason City Iowa. Still at it.

I was 12 yrs old and I remember trying so hard to sing it with him! Never could!

Puts today’s rappers to shame! I love this song almost as much as going to an auction.

I remember going to the OKC stockyards in the 1970s. They had three full time auctioneers and when the cattle were coming in from the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles, feeder cattle receipts could run 20,000 head per day with the auction running 24 hours a day on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Now that was an auction.

I have to admit, that was a tough song to sing. My dad was a musician from age 14 until he died at age 62 and that is one song I never heard him do. He also never played the song Piano Man ( he played the key boards) and one year for my daughters piano recital she had bought the music and learned it. My dad always said the left hand was very hard to play. My daughter personally invited my dad and mom to her piano recital. They actually showed up. She played piano man on the grand piano and when she was done my dad stood up and and started a standing ovation. Them my daughter played the song " music box dancer" for her younger brother who still loves that song, and again, my dad started a standing ovation.
After the piano recital my dad talked to my daughter's piano teacher and him play the grand piano. My dad was thrilled. My daughter also plays the drums and before he died, he got to hear her play with the rock band she is part of and he was again impressed.
What great memories


About Leroy Van Dyke:

Leroy Frank Van Dyke (born October 4, 1929) is an American country music and honky-tonk singer and guitarist, best known for his hits "The Auctioneer" (1956) and "Walk on By" (1961).

Van Dyke was born in Mora, Missouri. He lived in Spencer, Wisconsin, and graduated from the University of Missouri majoring in agricultural journalism.

He was catapulted into country music fame in 1956 with his composition "The Auctioneer", co-written with Buddy Black, which sold over 2.5 million records. He wrote the song about the life of his cousin, National Auctioneers Association Hall of Famer Ray Sims, also a Missourian.

Van Dyke continues a performance schedule, traveling from his office/home complex on his 1,000-acre (4 km2) ranch in west-central Missouri near Sedalia, Missouri. He is a member of the National Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame, is active in many music industry organizations, and as a sideline, raises premium quality Arabian mules. Van Dyke is also a Korean War veteran.


About the song:

“The Auctioneer,” a song Van Dyke co-wrote with Buddy Black, reflected the auctioneering experiences of Van Dyke and his second cousin, Ray Sims. It became a top 10 country hit and cracked the pop chart’s top 20.

Van Dyke has said of Sims “He was probably the best cattle auctioneer that ever walked. He was eight years older than I am. The only thing that’s not true (in the song) is it says there was a boy in Arkansas. He was not from Arkansas, but nothing rhymes with Missouri.”

Van Dyke first dreamed up the song while serving during the Korean War. Its live debut in front of Van Dyke’s fellow troops doubled as the only time a country singer opened for Marilyn Monroe.

Van Dyke’s delivery of the lyrics mimics the speed of an auction and accurately portrays how auctioneers speak. They use a technique called ‘chanting’ to keep the auction moving, it consisting of speaking quickly and rhythmically, with filler words like ‘now’ to keep it flowing and the repetition going.


Bonus item:

Video of ‘Walk on By’, Leroy Van Dyke’s other massive hit:

According to Van Dyke: “I knew it was a good record when we walked out of the studio that night, but I had no idea that it’d do what it did,” explaining that it’s hard to predict any chart hit, much less one that breaks records.

He remembers the when, where and how of learning that he’d notched the biggest hit of its time.

“I was playing a show at a casino up in South Dakota, and we were up there for two or three days,” Van Dyke recalls. “My phone rang about 7:00 in the morning. Of course you work late at a casino, and I thought, ‘Who’s calling me at 7:00 in the morning?’ It was my wife calling, and I thought, ‘Well, it must be important or else she wouldn’t be calling me.’ She said, ‘Guess who has the No. 1 classic country record in the world since they’ve been keeping records?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. I have no clue.’ She said, ‘Walk On By.’ I couldn’t talk for a little bit because I wondered how in the world this could be. I’m in competition with people like Ray Price and Marty Robbins and Faron Young and all of those guys.”

His record of "Walk on By" (1961) was named by Billboard magazine in 1994 as the biggest country single of all time, based on sales, plays, and weeks in the charts. It stayed at number one in the U.S. country chart for 19 weeks, and in all, charted for 42 weeks, reaching number five on the pop listings. It sold more than 1.5 million copies.

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