Stubby Kaye was a hugely successful Broadway performer, film actor and Vaudevillian by the start of the 1960s, having been on the stage since 1939 in shows like Guys and Dolls and Sweet Charity – in 1962, he took the lead role in Michael Winner’s film The Cool Mikado, and would be a film and TV regular throughout the rest of the decade. He also performed his vaudeville act regularly at this time, and a couple of his live musical performances were released as a 7 inch single in 1961. Catching the flavour of the time and the burgeoning sexual revolution, the A-side of the record was I’m Married to a Striptease Dancer, a humorous look at what life might be like if your wife was a burlesque performer who couldn’t leave her work behind.
It’s a great little tune – mildly salacious but generally in good taste, and with enough bump ‘n’ grind in it to be a perfect backing track for strippers – and yet – despite several releases around the world, including one with the title changed to My Wife’s a Striptease Dancer – the song was quickly forgotten, as strippers became raunchier and their backing music evolved into thumping rock ‘n’ roll. By the time the burlesque revival began in the 1990s, both Stubby Kaye and the record were pretty much forgotten, and I’ve yet to hear of any performer using this on stage. A great pity. But if any dancers are reading this, here’s the song alongside the equally entertaining B-side, the old Groucho Marx favourite Lydia the Tattooed Lady (which would also be a great stripper song, come to think of it).
Although this record didn’t trouble the charts, it was covered by Ralf Bendix for a German release, retitled Striptease Susi, in 1962. Bendix tended to specialise in German language covers of British and American hits, and this is a solid enough reinterpretation of the original.
Bendix’s version wasn’t a hit either, but was nevertheless covered by comedian and singer Heinz Erhardt. Here’s a great promo clip that features some mild striptease to accompany the song:
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I know “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” from having The Mupppets album as a kid in the 70s 🙂
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