I WAS KAISER BILL'S BATMAN

Whistling Jack Smith

Deram 85005, 1967
Billboard: #20

Forget stately Wayne Manor. The real question here is why Kaiser Wilhelm II, emperor of Germany and king of Prussia, would have needed a small-b batman (a British soldier assigned duty as servant to an officer) in the first place. And when that's settled, we can work on the question of "Who was Whistling Jack Smith?" The name is a send-up of singer Whispering Jack Smith, soft-spoken because of an injury sustained in World War I; many of the noises are made by the Mike Sammes Singers, well-known in Britain but in the USA perhaps best-known for being the parents of the kids chanting on John Lennon's "I Am The Walrus", and the leader of all the whistlers was recording producer Noel Walker. The tune was orignally titled "Too Much Birdseed" (!) and was concocted by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, previously of the Kestrels; their song "You've Got Your Troubles" (also produced by Walker) became a major hit for the Fortunes, and as "David and Jonathan" they did a successful remake of the Beatles' "Michelle" in 1966. Everyone at Decca, owner of the Deram label, seemed surprised that this little ditty became a hit, and in an effort to keep the hype going, the label designated singer Coby Wells, real name Billy Moeller (brother of Tommy Moeller of Unit Four Plus Two), already signed to Decca, as the "official" Whistling Jack Smith for to