BILLY THORPE & THE AZTECS
Mashed Potato
(Dessie Rozier)
Australia 1964
#7 Sydney #7 Melbourne #9 Brisbane #2 Perth

RECENTLY UPDATED

Single on Parlophone. Double-sided hit in Brisbane with Don't Cha Know.

Billy Thorpe (1946-2007): British-born singer, guitarist and songwriter whose family emigrated to Brisbane in the 1950s. Based in Sydney from 1963, 'Thorpy', with The Aztecs, had numerous pop hits in a variety of styles, but at the end of the 60s, then in Melbourne, he fronted a loud, rocky, blues-based formation of the Aztecs that contrasted with his earlier pop idol image. Later, his solo and business career took him to Los Angeles, and he wrote two popular autobiographical books, Most People I Know (Think That I'm Crazy) and Sex And Thugs And Rock'n'Roll [AbeBooks link].

Further reading: Paul Culnane's account of Billy Thorpe's career at Milesago.

Suggested by Tony Watson and Terry Stacey. Initial research by Tony Watson.

THE SEARCHERS
Mashed Potato
(Dessie Rozier)
UK 1963

On the 1963 Phillips album, Live at the Star Club, recorded in Hamburg, possibly released early '64 (see 1986 reissue at 45Worlds).

Billy Thorpe may have been familiar with this version, given that two other songs he recorded in 1964 were also on the Searchers' Live at the Star Club: Sick And Tired and Sho' Know A Lot About Love (Billy Thorpe's About Love).

RUFUS THOMAS
Mashed Potatoes
(Dessie Rozier)
USA 1963
Influential version

On 1963 Stax album Walking The Dog.

In a 1994 60 Minutes interview Billy Thorpe compares his own singing unfavourably with that of Rufus Thomas, whose version he apparently believes to be the original (transcript at Milesago).

Thanks to Jon Stratton.

THE UNDERTAKERS
Mashed Potatoes
(Dessie Rozier)
UK 1963

Single on Pye, B-side of Everybody Loves A Lover.

Jackie Lomax was a member of this Merseyside band. His single of George Harrison's Sour Milk Sea, with George producing and the participation of Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton, was among the first batch of singles released on the Beatles' new Apple label in August 1968.

The Undertakers also recorded Just A Little Bit and Stupidity.

See the Undertakers page from the British Beat Boom website [archived].

NAT KENDRICK & THE SWANS (JAMES BROWN)
(Do The) Mashed Potatoes
(Dessie Rozier)
USA 1959
Original version

Single on Dade.

James Brown (he is the "Dessie Rozier" in the writer credit) recorded this track and released it under the name of his drummer after a disagreement with his own record label, King.


Henry Stone, owner of the Dade label, recalls that the track started out as an instrumental, based on a dance from James Brown’s live act. The voice of Miami disc jockey Carlton "King" Coleman was overdubbed to disguise the fact that the recording was by James Brown, although his voice can still be heard in the background. See Henry Stone’s account at his website.


This is the official title, but it has been recorded as Mashed Potatoes and (by Billy Thorpe) Mashed Potato.

James Brown released a song under his own name called Mashed Potatoes USA in 1962, the year that doing the Mashed Potato really took off.

Some other (Do The) Mashed Potatoes versions of interest are noted on this page, but the list is far from exhaustive.

Thanks to Jeff Smith for clarification.

DEE DEE SHARP
Mashed Potato Time
(Bateman-Dobbins-Garrett-Gorman-Holland-Mann)
USA 1962
Red herring
#2 USA #16 Perth

NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH "MASHED POTATO" BY BILLY THORPE (OR WITH ANY OF THOSE OTHER MASHED POTATO SONGS).

What was it with mashed potatoes? Dee Dee Sharp also charted at #9 USA with a follow-up, Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes).

Singer from Philadelphia (b. 1945), real name Dione La Rue, initially a back-up singer, heard with Chubby Checker on Slow Twistin' (#3 USA, 1962). Married soul/disco producer Kenny Gamble of Gamble & Huff fame.

Further reading: 1999 interview with Dee Dee Sharp by Doug Fuhrmann at The Lively Set [archived page].


BMI lists nine distinct songs called Mashed Potatoes, and ASCAP has another four. That's without counting other songs with "Mashed Potatoes" in their title (Mashed Potatoes Twist, Hot Pastrami With Mashed Potatoes).

This must have been some dance craze! Small Town Country Girl - born in "The Year of the Mashed Potato"- sums up the Mashed Potato craze nicely at her blog (archived page).

'TOO MUCH MASHED POTATO': OPEN PLAYLIST IN SPOTIFY


 More mashed potato with red herring:

• James Brown & The Famous Flames - Mashed Potatoes U.S.A. (James Brown)
USA 1962 Single on King.

• Dee Dee Sharp - Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes) (Kal Mann-Dave Appell)
USA 1962 Single on Cameo #9 USA

• B.B. King - Mashed Potato Twist (Davis-Josia)
USA 1962 
Single on Kent
• Dean Christie - Mashed Potato Twist (Dean Christie)
USA 1962 Single on SWL.

• Johnny Angel & The Halos - Mashed Potato Stomp (MacRay-Spezze-Paxton)
USA 1962 Single on Felsted

• Danny & The Juniors - Do The Mashed Potatoes (Terranova-Maffei-Rapp-White)
USA 1962 Single on Swan

• John Shur - Mashed Potato Sue (John Shur)
USA 1962, Single on Caricature, B-side of I Got Caught In The Washing Machine (And I'm Gonna Twist All Night) YouTube

• Herman Jones And The Kilts - Mashed Potato (Herman Jones)
USA 1962  
B-side on Gaynote
• Joey Dee And The Starliters - Hot Pastrami With Mashed Potatoes (Part I) (Rozier)
USA 1963 Single on Roulette; Part II is on the flipside. Not really a red herring, since this is basically a version of the Nat Kendrick/James Brown "(Do The) Mashed Potatoes", pr. Henry Glover.

• The Buttons - Popeye Does The Mashed Potatoes (Killen-Wikens)
USA 1963 Single on Columbia YouTube pr. Carl Davis

• The Rattles - Mashed Potatoes (Clyde Otis-Nancy Lee)
Germany 1963 Single on Philips

JOHNNY HALLYDAY
C'est Le Mashed Potatoes [= Little Bitty Pretty One]
(Robert Byrd + Jil & Jan [Gilbert Guenet & Jean Setti])
France 1962
Red herring

 RED HERRING À LA FRANÇAISE, ANYONE?

On Philips EP by France's biggest pop idol (1943-2017).

C'est Le Mashed Potatoes (It's The Mashed Potatoes) YouTube is pretty much Little Bitty Pretty One (Robert Byrd), first recorded in 1957 by Bobby Day (b. Byrd), charted for Thurston Harris (1957 #6 USA), Clyde McPhatter (1962, #25) and The Jackson 5 (1972, #13), recorded by others.

Billy Nash released an instrumental version of C'est Le Mashed Potatoes on Philips (France, 1962).


French writer credits are to Jil & Jan, cousins Gilbert Guenet and Jean Setti who were band singers in the 40s, recording artists in the 50s and successful songwriters on into the 60s, especially for Johnny Hallyday.


Johnny Hallyday also recorded Mashed Potato Time YouTube, a cover of Dee Dee Sharp's hit (above)

Further reading: Hallyday.com.fr and JohnnyWeb.fr.
See also Hush and No No No No No.

Later versions:

THE HEP STARS
Mashed Potatoes
(Dessie Rozier)
Sweden 1965
Later version

Single on Olga, B-side of Cadillac, a #1 hit in Sweden that was on the charts at the same time as The Hep Stars' Farmer John, another #1 hit.

Popular mid- to late 60s Swedish band. After the Hep Stars broke up, organist Benny Andersson went on to found ABBA with his writing partner Bjorn Ulvaeus.

Further reading: Hep Stars history at Marleen Janssens' fine site devoted to Bjorn and Benny [archived pages].

Corrections or comments? Contact the writer.