The funny thing about My Old Flame is that it is a funny song, despite being a wee bit creepy.
Wait, sorry, getting a head of myself. My Old Flame is actually a love song, about someone reminiscing about an old flame. This former love keeps springing to mind through the years, despite the fact the singer can no longer put a name to the face. The first time I head it, a man sang it, but apparently the very first person to cover it was the incomparable Mae West in the film Belle of the Nineties, way back in that mythical time called the 1930’s.
Others might disagree, but I find the song rather pretentious. Can’t even remember the name? Honestly? If the lovin’ was that special, you’d think something like a name might linger.
Then again, as it was West doing the singing, we might not be talking about love in the romantic sense. If you know what I mean. And I think y’ might.
However, West wasn’t the only person to cover My Old Flame. Among the other worthies to handle the song was band-leading satirist Spike Jones. Calling Jones an old time “Weird Al” Yankovic might be a stretch, but not much of one. While Yankovic tends to write his own lyrics to popular songs (among other things), Jones would take the songs themselves more or less as is, then add “funny” sounds or humorous exchanges. Both men also created their own songs, but that’s neither here nor there.
With My Old Flame, Jones does something that, to my mind, was a boon to this sort of parody. He had a singer (whose name I’m unsure of) perform the song straight for the first part, then has the humor bits following it. Thus, even if you hadn’t heard the original (which I hadn’t), you can not only see where Jones is coming from but also understand just why he might have picked this song for ridicule.
As I said in the first sentence, this song is funny. It really is.
It is also more than a little creepy. As the second half is sung as if a mad man were singing it. A mad man with the voice very much like the wondrous Peter Lorre. And while entertaining, while funny, it is all very dark. Especially the final line.
Here, see for yourself.