The Billboard Song

November 17, 2002

I learned this song from a friend at church in 1981. The song is much older, however; he heard it on TV some years before that and recorded it on audio tape (see notes at the bottom of this page).

Anyway, the lyrics of the song appear on this page. Please note that we do not promote beer or cigarettes; also please excuse the use of sawr in place of saw—it was undoubtedly used to make the lines rhyme.

When I was walking down the street, a billboard caught my eye.
The advertisements written there would make you laugh and cry.
The sign was torn and tattered from the storm the night before,
And as I gazed upon it, well, this is what I sawr:

Smoke Coca-Cola cigarettes. Drink Wrigley’s Spearmint beer.
Ken-L-Ration dog food makes your wife’s complexion clear.
Chew chocolate-covered mothballs—they’re sure to satisfy.
Brush your teeth with Lifebuoy soap and watch the suds go by.

When I recovered from the shock, I went along my way.
I’d gone no further than a block, when there to my dismay,
Another billboard caught my eye, just like the one before,
And as I gazed upon it, well, this is what I sawr:

Take your next vacation in a brand-new Frigidaire.
Learn to play piano in your winter underwear.
Simonize your baby with a Hershey’s candy bar,
And see the difference that Drano makes in all the movie stars!

Doctors say that babies shouldn’t smoke ’til they are three.
People over 35, take baths in Lipton Tea.
Oh, you can make America a better place today—
Just buy a copy of this song and throw it far away!

Visitor Bill Fischer sent me this tidbit of information on March 15, 2003: the original version of this song was done by Homer & Jethro and was later released on an album entitled The Worst of Homer & Jethro.

I learned the following through an Internet search: The Worst of Homer & Jethro was a 1957 compilation by RCA Records. The Billboard Song was later released on a CD entitled The Weird World of Homer & Jethro.

Visitor Jamie Flippen emailed me with another version of The Billboard Song which she learned in 1960 from a sixth grade classmate who sang it to her over the telephone. I have included explanatory notes on several items in this version, below.

As I was walking down the street
a billboard caught my eye
The advertisements written there
would make you laugh and cry
The rain and hail came down that day
and washed it half away
And what was left upon that sign
would make that billboard say:

Come smoke a Coca-cola
Chew catsup cigarettes
See Shirley Temple wrestle
with a box of Oysterettes
Pork and beans will meet tonight
in a finish fight
Baby Ruth will lecture on Seporia tonight.
Bay Rum is good for horses
It is the best in town.
Castoria cures the measles
If you pay $5 down.
Teeth extracted without pain
for a half a dime.
Ingersolls are selling a little out of time.

Chew Wrigley’s for that headache
Take Campbell’s for that cough
There’s going to be a swimming meet
in the village watertrough
Buy a case of gingerale
it makes the best of broth
Shinola sure to curl your hair
and not to take it off.

Match in the gas tank boom-boom.

Explanatory notes on this version

the original oyster cracker.
a disease that causes leaf spots on plants including celery and dogwood.
Bay Rum
a line of products including Exfoliating Bar Soap, Shaving Soap, Aftershave Balm, Cologne and Moisturizing Creme.
clocks made from about 1890 until World War II by The Waterbury Clock Company in Waterbury, Connecticut. The company was the forerunner of Timex.
a mild stomach remedy for children. It was said to relieve constipation, flatulence and diarrhea. See the following links:
a combination lotion and cleaner to keep shoes soft and white.

More versions of the Billboard Song appear on the next page.