“The Coasters – Charlie Brown (he’s a clown)”

05 Sep


The Coasters singles chronology
“The Shadow Knows”
(1958) “Charlie Brown”
(1959) “Along Came Jones”

“Charlie Brown (he’s a clown)”
is a popular Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller song that was a top-ten hit for The Coasters[1] in the spring of 1959 (released in January, coupled with “Three Cool Cats,” Atco 6132).[2] It went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts, and was the first of three top-ten hits for the Coasters that year. It is best known for the phrase, “Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?”

According to Jerry Leiber, “After ‘Yakety Yak,’ I thought we could write every Coasters song in ten minutes. Man, was I wrong! When we tried to write a follow-up, Mike had lots of musical ideas, but I was stuck. … After nearly a week of agonizing, a simple name came to mind. ‘Charlie Brown.’ Then, ‘He’s a clown, that Charlie Brown.’ Mike already had a skip-along melodic template in place. He helped me with the story and suddenly a character, played by Dub Jones, stepped out on stage.”[3]

Towards the end of the bridge of the song, the words “Yeah, You!” were recorded at half speed, so the voices would play back at a higher pitch. King Curtis plays the tenor saxophone during the instrumental and the fade out of the record.

The best-known version of the song is in mono. However, a stereo version (with slightly different vocals) was released on the LP Atlantic History of Rhythm & Blues, Vol. 4, along with several other rare stereo versions of late 1950s Atlantic hits.

There have been over 80 cover versions of the song recorded, including one by British comedy actor Bernard Bresslaw and a German language version (as “Charly Brown”) by Hans Blum, both in 1959. Deep River Boys with Mikkel Flagstad’s orchestra recorded their version in Oslo on August 25, 1960; it was released on the extended play En aften på “Casino Non Stop” 1960 (HMV 7EGN 36). Dr. Lonnie Smith does an extended instrumental version on his live 1969 album Move Your Hand.[4][better source needed] Guy Mitchell released a cover version of this song.[5] In 1995, the song was recorded in a ska-punk version by Voodoo Glow Skulls, on their album Firme.[6]


Posted by on September 5, 2016 in 1950s, nostalgic



15 responses to ““The Coasters – Charlie Brown (he’s a clown)”

  1. donnamarie

    September 5, 2016 at 8:37 am

    I always love your posts! You bring back great memories. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda Arthur Tejera

    September 6, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Omigosh, talk about a blast from the past! LOL! :lol:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. America On Coffee

    September 6, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Thank you donnamarie! How fun it is that we can share our memories…thumbup to your memorable shares

    Liked by 1 person

  4. donnamarie

    September 6, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks! I think that’s the coolest thing about WordPress, being able to connect.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. America On Coffee

    September 6, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Looking back is a journey with delightful surprises, unhhh? Thank you Linda Arthur Tejera for commenting on this shared memory. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. America On Coffee

    September 6, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    You are so welcome! Thank you donnamarie… for all of your great posts and shares, always!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. donnamarie

    September 6, 2016 at 1:55 pm


    Liked by 1 person

  8. quirkywritingcorner

    September 9, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. penneyvanderbilt

    September 12, 2016 at 4:48 am

    Reblogged this on KCJones.


  10. johnlmalone

    September 12, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I love that song. it was so fresh at the time. I still love it, its freshness and exuberance

    Liked by 1 person

  11. America On Coffee

    September 12, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Thank you johnmalone for visiting and appreciating AOC’s nostalgic post. Amazing how time flies and we with life change! Have a great day! And, happy blogging…!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Anna Cottage

    October 11, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Thoroughly enjoyed that.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. America On Coffee

    October 13, 2016 at 1:14 am

    These guys were such jokers that loved to entertain.:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. tigre23

    October 16, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing, that was great – love this song! A bit of nostalgia to start the day!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. America On Coffee

    October 16, 2016 at 3:52 pm


    Liked by 1 person


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