It Happened 50 Years Ago: Napoleon XIV “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!”

In 1966, New York-born novelty musician Jerry Samuels, recording under the name Napoleon XIV, flew up Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart with his song “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” After debuting at number 50, it rose to number 11 in its second week and then number 5 in its third week and number 3 in its fourth. However, the song’s controversial subject matter caused many radio stations to take it off the air abruptly, leading to the the quickest descent in chart history. Exactly 50 years ago, “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” fell from its peak position of number 3 back to number 5. The next week it dropped to number 37, and the week after that it fell completely off the chart.

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