Life in the Box: A Drooling Heart

“Johnny Get Angry, Johnny Get Mad… I want a brave man; I want a cave man…” I have been listening to 50s music this month, and some of the lyrics just kill me. The cave man lyric is sung with gusto by Joanie Sommers. They play it too many times on Sirius XM. Once would have been enough. Also, it was a 1962 hit, so why is it on a 50s station? The best part of the song is the chorus of kazoos, which means you really can’t take the lyrics too seriously.

But I have to say, another song lyric is so bad, I can hardly believe a big-name singer like Perry Como actually recorded it: “My heart is just drooling; Patricia, no fooling.”

Oh, come on! The lyric is in the song “Patricia,” which is a nice enough name. But a drooling heart?! The image just, oh, I guess I picture a mad dog looking at a raw bone. So repulsive, and not the least attractive in a love song. And, no, there are no kazoos to soften the blow.

Who comes up with this stuff? And how in the world did this song end up on a “Greatest Hits” album?

The writer was Benny Davis, vaudeville performer and songwriter inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975. According to Wikipedia, Benny was so well known for false rhymes, and yes, scorned by other songwriters because of it, that Howard Dietz composed this ditty: “Heaven save us; from Benny Davis.”

Now, when I dig a little deeper, the last song on Benny’s composition list was released in 1930, and doesn’t include “Patricia.” So, maybe the wrong Benny Davis? Or maybe these lyrics were waiting around until someone had the chutzpah to record it in 1950.

There are other songs about “Patricia” too, in various dance beats, too. Perez Prado and his Orchestra recorded a Mambo version, thankfully instrumental. The main song line is interpreted by, it sounds to me, an electric organ in heavy mode. Think happy Addams Family.

There’s a harmonic version of “Patricia (Mambo)” recorded by the Hermanas Serrano. I don’t know how to say “drooling” in Spanish, so not sure if it’s in there. You tube doesn’t give the songwriter credits, but says it was released in 1958.

I’m taking a class in photo art right now, and yes, the “eye of the beholder” is part of our process of discernment. I’m stumbling through, and some of my attempts are, well, a bit cheesy. But that doesn’t bother me too much, as I’m not trying to win the hearts of millions. Perry Como? Huh, I thought he was high class.

And the executives at the RCA Records Label? Someone there must have had to approve the publishing of this “Patricia” song. Couldn’t they say, “my heart is schooling, spooling, cooling, dueling, pooling, grueling, refueling, booming, confusing, consuming, amusing, tuning, proving, brooding, blooming…” anything but drooling?!


Nancy Heather Brown is a retired, Emmy Award-winning television producer whose career has included interviewing, writing, narrating and editing for a span of four decades. Today, she enjoys learning new things and reflecting upon the creative process and life issues, both inside and outside the box. Her opinions are her own, and are not necessarily those of this web site. She’s now showing photos on Smug Mug:


Perry Como’s version  

“Patricia (Mambo)” on the Perez Prado album 

“Patricia (Mambo)” Hermanas Serrano 

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