Pop Archives

Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs - Mashed Potato (1964)

(Dessie Rozier)
Australia Australia
#7 Sydney #7 Melbourne #9 Brisbane #2 Perth

Single on Parlophone July 1964. 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].

See all Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs records listed at this website.

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.

Updated November 2023.

Rufus Thomas - Mashed Potatoes (1963)

(Dessie Rozier)
Influential version

On November 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 Searchers - Mashed Potato (1963)

(Dessie Rozier)

On the October 1963 Phillips album, Live at the Star Club, recorded in Hamburg (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).

The Undertakers - Mashed Potatoes (1963)

(Dessie Rozier)

Single on Pye July 1963, 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].

Claude François - Hey Potatoes (Mashed Potatoes) (1962)

(Billy Nash - Claude François)
France France

On October 1962 breakthrough Fontana EP Belles! Belles! Belles! by multi-skilled French entertainer (1939-1978). Claude François co-wrote and first recorded Comme d’Habitude, the song made famous by Frank Sinatra as My Way.

Hey Potato is (Do The) Mashed Potatoes adapted by French composer Billy Nash with an uncredited Claude François. Also uncredited is Mashed Potatoes composer Dessie Rozier (James Brown).

Claude François also released Hey Potato (Mashed Potato) in Italian as Dai, Patata! (1964) ♫ Listen at YouTube.

Merci pour les infos, Philippe.

Henri Salvador - Purée de pommes de terre “Mashed potatoes” (1962)

(Dessie Rozier - Claude Carrère - Henri Salvador)
France France

French version 1962 on EP Sherry, on Disques Salvador-Philips.

Popular and versatile French singer, guitarist, songwriter and TV host Henri Salvador (1917-2008) was born in French Guiana. He was also popular in Brazil and is thought to have been influential in the development of bossa nova through his song Dans mon île (1957) YouTube.

Merci à Philippe de me signaler cette version.

Nat Kendrick & The Swans - (Do The) Mashed Potatoes (1959)

(Dessie Rozier)
Original version

Single on Dade December 1959 (one commenter at 45cat has the release date as January 1960).

Dessie Rozier in the writer credit is James Brown, and Nat Kendrick was the name of Brown’s drummer.

(Do The) Mashed Potatoes originated in a dance from James Brown’s stage performances. It was recorded on Henry Stone’s Dade label because Brown was still under contract to King Records where the song had been declined.

The track is basically an instrumental with shouted lyrics added by Miami disc jockey Carlton “King” Coleman. James Brown’s voice is also heard intermittently in the background.

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. ♫ Listen at YouTube

Further reading: Every account of (Do The) Mashed Potatoes seems to differ in some detail, but these are good starting points:
1. The Wikipedia article is good on the song’s background and recording.
2. The Henry Stone website has a page on the song.

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

Some other versions of (Do The) Mashed Potatoes are noted on this page, but see the list at Covers.info for more versions.

Thanks to Jeff Smith for clarification.

The Hep Stars - Mashed Potatoes (1965)

(Dessie Rozier)
Sweden Sweden
Later version

Single on Olga March 1965, 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].

Dee Dee Sharp - Mashed Potato Time (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)

Single on Cameo January 1962.

Dee Dee Sharp: 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). She was married to soul/disco producer Kenny Gamble of Gamble & Huff but later remarried.

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

What was it with mashed potatoes?

Dee Dee Sharp also charted at #9 USA with a follow-up, Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes).

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).

Part of the answer is that it was also a dance craze. It wasn’t as popular as the Twist, but you can still see how it is danced at YouTube. At the time (1962), some observers were reminded of moves from 1920s dance craze the Charleston.

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

 More mashed potato with red herrings:

• James Brown & The Famous FlamesMashed Potatoes U.S.A. (James Brown)
USA 1962 Single on King.
• Dee Dee SharpGravy (For My Mashed Potatoes) (Kal Mann-Dave Appell)
USA 1962 Single on Cameo #9 USA
• B.B. KingMashed Potato Twist (Davis-Josia)
USA 1962 Single on Kent
• Dean ChristieMashed Potato Twist (Dean Christie)
USA 1962 Single on SWL.
• Johnny Angel & The HalosMashed Potato Stomp (MacRay-Spezze-Paxton)
USA 1962 Single on Felsted
• Danny & The JuniorsDo The Mashed Potatoes (Terranova-Maffei-Rapp-White)
USA 1962 Single on Swan
• John ShurMashed 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)
• Herman Jones And The KiltsMashed Potato (Herman Jones)
USA 1962  B-side on Gaynote.
• The ButtonsPopeye Does The Mashed Potatoes (Killen-Wikens)
USA 1963 Single on Columbia pr. Carl Davis
• The RattlesMashed Potatoes (Clyde Otis-Nancy Lee)
Germany 1963 Single on Philips

Johnny Hallyday - C’est Le Mashed Potatoes* (1962)

(Robert Byrd + Jil & Jan [Gilbert Guenet & Jean Setti])
France France
Red herring

 Red herring à la française, anyone?

*C’est Le Mashed Potatoes is a version of Little Bitty Pretty One, written and first recorded in 1957 by Bobby Day (Robert Byrd, as credited here). It charted for Thurston Harris (1957 #6 USA), Clyde McPhatter (1962, #25) and The Jackson 5 (1972, #13), and was recorded by others.

View at YouTube

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

Billy Nash released an instrumental version, clearly entitled C’Est Le Mashed Potatoes (Little Bitty Pretty One) 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, a cover of Dee Dee Sharp’s hit (above).
Listen at YouTube

See all Johnny Hallyday records listed at this website.