RIP: Ruth Wallis, saucy singer-songwriter

Note to all entertainers: Whatever you do, do not die during the last weeks of the month of December. Your death will probably be ignored during all “end-of-year those-who-died” news summaries, as you will have missed the deadline for most of the publications.

Ruth Wallis Holiday Party record

As far as I know, Ruth Wallis did not perform the song LOUIE LOUIE, but I felt her passing was worth noting at the LOUIE REPORT. LOUIE LOUIE has a reputation as a supposedly-naughty song with controversial lyrics, which may or may not exist. Ruth Wallis, on the other hand, was a master of naughty songs with suggestive lyrics.

My first exposure to Ruth Wallis was via the Dr. Demento radio show, with a little ditty from the 1950’s called “The Dinghy Song.” There were no explicit words in this song, but there were some definite innuendos in this song about Davey, a man with “the cutest little dinghy in the Navy.”

As I learned more about her career, I discovered that Ruth Wallis was the queen of the risque records during the 1950’s and 1960’s – less blatant than Rusty Warren, more eye-appealing than Belle Barth. After selling a quarter million copies of “The Dinghy Song,” she formed her own record label in 1952. In the course of her career, she was literally “banned in Boston.” When she visited Australia in the mid-1960’s for a two-week engagement in Sydney, she was stopped by Customs, and interrogated for an hour regarding charges of obscenity.

In 2003, her music was the inspiration for “Boobs! The Musical” a stage production in Manhattan. In an interview for Playbill.com, Lawrence Leritz, co-creator of this show, said “The songs are really pretty clean. When people ask about buying tickets, they ask if there’s any cussing. I say, ‘No, all the dirtyness is in your mind.'”

Ruth Wallis died on December 22nd. She was 87 years old.

The Playbill obituary
http://www.playbill.com/news/article/113764.html

The WikiPedia on Ruth Wallis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Wallis

The Goldmine article on Ruth Wallis
http://members.aol.com/boardwalk7/Wallis.pdf

A Collection of Ruth Wallis record covers
http://www.queermusicheritage.us/jun2004rw.html

Boobs! The Musical
http://www.boobsthemusical.com

2 comments to RIP: Ruth Wallis, saucy singer-songwriter

  • Love her work. Having been on Dr. Demento myself I feel a kindred spirit has gone away.

  • Scott aka AMBER GLASS

    She helped me with her songs as i am Ms GAY S.F. her songs enspired me the heavens have a nasty little star in them forever

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