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Novelty Song Friday #4 — The Name Game by Shirley Ellis

I almost forgot to do the novelty song feature today! Sorry for the late posting.

The Name Game” is an American pop song co-written and performed by Shirley Ellis as a rhyming game that creates variations on a person’s name. Written by Ellis with Lincoln Chase and produced by Charles Calello it was released in late 1964. It went to number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 4 on the magazine’s R&B charts in 1965. The record was re-released in 1966 and again in 1973. Ellis performed “The Name Game” on major television programs of the day, including Hullabaloo, American Bandstand and The Merv Griffin Show. The song later became a popular children’s singalong.

Shirley Marie O’Garra (stage name: Shirley Ellis; married name: Shirley Elliston) (b. January 19, 1929 – d. October 5, 2005) was an American soul music singer and songwriter of West Indian heritage. She is best known for her novelty hits “The Nitty Gritty” (1963) (US no. 8), “The Name Game” (1964) (US no. 3) and “The Clapping Song” (1965) (US no. 8 and UK no. 6). “The Clapping Song” sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

While Ellis’ stock in trade was novelty hits, she was not a one-hit wonder. She was a serious R&B singer for 10 years before having a hit with this song.


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