Out there at Jo Ann Campbell's Kookie Little Paradise
the kids are out of control: swingin' about in the trees and bellowin' like Tarzan the Ape Man, drivin' fast cars down the beach without a speed limit, livin' on ice cream and pizza...
The record, from 1960, starts with jungle bird sound effects and a full-on Tarzan call (a sample from a movie soundtrack?), then it's the boys in the chorus, direct from the Riverdale High Glee Club: Dip... dip... dibba-dip-dip-dip. Kookie, huh?
This is Archie and Jughead territory: free juke boxes in the jungle, no school, junk food, sport cars and making out. It's a sugary and sticky kind of paradise:
Soft drink bubblin' down a mountain,
To the Carribean sea...
Ice cream - loaded with bananas -
And there's always pizza pie.
Jo Ann Campbell's record, on ABC, wasn't a hit in the US, but down here in Australia we really liked it: #5 in Sydney and Adelaide, #7 in Melbourne and Brisbane.
Kookie Little Paradise was composed by Lee Pockriss, and those wacky teen-oriented lyrics were by Bob Hilliard, born 1918, who'd been writing since the 1930s.
In similar territory, Pockriss and Hilliard also wrote Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Backseat, a US #9 in 1959 for Paul Evans. Pockriss wrote Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini with Paul Vance, Bryan Hyland's 1960 US #1.
There was also a version of Kookie Little Paradise by The Tree Swingers on Guyden. The B-side, in keeping with the jungle theme, was Teaching The Natives To Sing, also written by Pockriss & Hilliard. I have a suspicion that it may've been the original, which would make Jo Ann Campbell's better-known record a cover version.
A British version by Frankie Vaughan charted #31 in the UK. Like Jo Anne Campbell, Frankie was in his early twenties - they were both born in 1938 - but you're never too old for ice cream loaded with bananas.
[See follow-up post.]