The Thing

Phil Harris

About The Thing

"The Thing" is a hit novelty song by Charles Randolph Grean which received much airplay in 1950. It is probably derived from the traditional Irish bawdy tavern song "The Chandler's Wife." The song was recorded by Phil Harris on October 13, 1950, and released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 20-3968. The record first reached the Billboard charts on November 17, 1950. It lasted 14 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 1. The words were set to the English folk tune "The Lincolnshire Poacher". Other versions were recorded by Arthur Godfrey, The Ames Brothers, Danny Kaye, Kidsongs, Ray Charles, Teresa Brewer, Adam West, and Australian orchestra leader Les Welch. The Arthur Godfrey recording was made in November 1950 and released by Columbia Records as catalog number 39068. The Danny Kaye recording was made on December 1, 1950, and released by Decca Records as catalog number 27350. The Ray Charles recording was made on July 13, 1963, and released by ABC-Paramount Records on the album Have a Smile with Me, as catalog number ABC 495 (mono) / ABCS 495 (stereo). The Teresa Brewer recording was made in October 1950, and released by London Records as catalog number 873. The Les Welch recording was made in January 1951 and released by Pacific Records, an Australian company, as catalog number 10-0051. 


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While I was walkin' down the beach one bright and sunny day
I saw a great big wooden box a-floatin' in the bay
I pulled it in and opened it up and much to my surprise
Oh, I discovered a (Boom-ba-boom), right before my eyes
Oh, I discovered a (Boom-ba-boom), right before my eyes

I picked it up and ran to town as happy as a king
I took it to a guy I knew who'd buy most anything
But this is what he hollered at me as I walked in his shop
"Oh, get out of here with that (Boom-ba-boom), before I call a cop"
"Oh, get out of here with that (Boom-ba-boom), before I call a cop"

I turned around and got right out, a-runnin' for my life
And then I took it home with me to give it to my wife
But this is what she hollered at me as I walked in the door
"Oh, get out of here with that (Boom-ba-boom), and don't come back no more"
"Oh, get out of here with that (Boom-ba-boom), and don't come back no more"

I wandered all around the town until I chanced to meet
A hobo who was lookin' for a handout on the street
He said he'd take most any old thing, he was a desperate man
But when I showed him the (Boom-ba-boom), he turned around and ran
Oh, when I showed him the (Boom-ba-boom), he turned around and ran

I wandered on for many years a victim of my fate
Until one day I came upon St. Peter at the gate
And when I tried to take it inside he told me where to go
Get out of here with that (Boom-ba-boom), and take it down below
Oh, get out of here with that (Boom-ba-boom), and take it down below

The moral of this story is: if you're out on the beach
And you should see a great big box, and it's within your reach
Don't ever stop and open it up, that's my advice to you
'Cause you'll never get rid of the (Boom-ba-boom), no matter what you do
Oh you'll never get rid of the (Boom-ba-boom), no matter what you do

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Phil Harris

Phil Harris (born Wonga Philip Harris; June 24, 1904 – August 11, 1995) was an American singer, songwriter, jazz musician, actor, and comedian. Though successful as an orchestra leader, Harris is remembered today for his recordings as a vocalist, his voice work in animation (probably most famous later in his career for his roles as bears, one being Baloo in Disney's The Jungle Book, and as Little John in Disney's Robin Hood). He also voiced Thomas O'Malley in Disney's The Aristocats. Harris was also a pioneer in radio situation comedy, first with Jack Benny, and then in a series in which he co-starred with his wife, singer-actress Alice Faye in eight years. more »

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Written by: Charles Grean

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind


11 facts about this song

Historical Importance
"The Thing" by Phil Harris was released in 1950 and quickly became a sensation. It's one of the unique songs that defined its time.
Commercial Success
The song reached the number one spot on Billboard charts and stayed there for four weeks.
Distinguished Recording
Away from being just a standard performance, the recording of the song was characterized by the use of sound effects and humor that, though very simple, made it quite captivating.
Unique Lyrics
The song's lyrics tell a story through a narrative ballad format. It's about a man who finds an undefined object, referred to as 'The Thing,' and tries to discard it.
Manuscript
"The Thing" was written by the songwriting duo, Charles R. Grean and Cy Coben.
Notable Artist
Phil Harris was a popular American comedian, singer, actor, and jazz musician, known for his radio and television works. His unique voice made "The Thing" a memorable tune.
Musical Style
The song exhibits a blend of very basic musical arrangements, designed to capture a sense of fun and intrigue.
Cultural Impact
"The Thing" was featured prominently in pop culture, especially in a variety of radio shows and movies at the time. It even became a popular catchphrase, "Get out of here with that...And don't come back no more."
Acclaim
The success of "The Thing" earned Phil Harris his nickname as the 'The Thing' guy.
Enduring Popularity
Despite its age, the song's infectious rhythm and catchy lyrics maintain its appeal, and it is still recognized and remembered by many.
Cover Versions
The song was covered by a number of artists, including Louis Armstrong. Each cover version offers its unique take on the original composition.

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