Hey Schoolgirl (1957), by Tom and Jerry (Simon and Garfunkel)

Tom and Jerry (Simon and Garfunkel)
Tom and Jerry (Simon and Garfunkel) – 1957

Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) and Arthur Ira Garfunkel (born November 5, 1941) are known for their folk rock duo, with best-selling hits such as “The Sound of Silence” (1964), “Mrs. Robinson” (1968), “The Boxer” (1969), and “Bridge over Troubled Water” (1970). Their musical collaboration dates from high school, at age 15, but at that time they were practising rather traditional rock and roll.

One afternoon, as they tried to recall the lyrics of the Everly Brothers’ song “Hey Doll Baby,” they accidentally wrote something new: “Hey Schoolgirl.” Convinced of the song’s potential, they signed a contract with a small record company. They recorded a single under the label Big Records, with “Hey Schoolgirl” on A side and “Dancin’ Wild” on B side. It appeared around October 1957 and got some success, selling 150,000 copies.

Tom and Jerry (Simon and Garfunkel)
Big Records – Tom and Jerry (Simon and Garfunkel) – 1957

The duo did not appear under their real names, but as “Tom & Jerry.” According to Rolling Stone:

It was feared that their given names were “too ethnic-sounding” to play in Middle America, so the boys commenced the time honored showbiz tradition of picking flashy pseudonyms. “Tom and Jerry” served as a starting point — borrowed from the cartoon series — which they had already used for local gigs. Garfunkel settled on “Tom Graph,” a reference to both his love of mathematics and habit of marking the chart position of favorite pop songs on graph paper. Simon christened himself “Jerry Landis,” after the surname of then-girlfriend Sue Landis.

The song characteristically repeats the nonsense syllables “Who-bop-a-loo-chi-bop,” which remind of “Wop-bop-a-loo-mop alop-bom-bom” in Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti,” or Gene Vincent’s “Be-Bop-A-Lula.” Here is a video of it:

I give below the lyrics, adapted from Paul Simon news (see also Songfacts):

Hey Schoolgirl
by Jerry Landis and Tommy Graph

Who-bop-a-loo-chi-bop, you’re mine
Say, Who-bop-a-loo-chi-bop, you’re mine

Hey, Schoolgirl in the second row
The teacher’s lookin’ over
so I got to whisper way down low
To say, “Who-bop-a-loo-chi-bop, let’s meet
after school at three.”

She said, “Hey, babe, but there is one thing more
My school is over at half past four
Maybe when we’re older then we can date
O – oh, let’s wait!”

Hey, Schoolgirl in the second row
The teacher’s lookin’ over
so I got to whisper way down low
To say, “Who-bop-a-loo-chi-bop, let’s meet
after school at three.”

She said, “Hey, babe, I gotta lot to do,
It takes me hours till my homework’s thru,
Someday we’ll go steady, so don’t you fret.
O – oh, not yet!”

Hey, Schoolgirl in the second row
The teacher’s lookin’ over
so I got to whisper way down low
To say, “Who-bop-a-loo-chi-bop, let’s meet
after school at three.”

Then she turned around to me
with that gleam in her eye
She said, “I’m sorry if I passed you by,
I’m gonna skip my homework
gonna cut my class,
Bug out of here real fast.”

Hey, Schoolgirl in the second row
Now we’re going steady,
hear the words that I want you to know
Well it’s “Who-bop-a-loo-chi-bop, you’re mine,
I knew it all the time.”

Who-bop-a-loo-chi-bop, hah, you’re mine
Who-bop-a-loo-chi-bop, hah, you’re mine
Who-bop-a-loo-chi-bop, hah, you’re mine

Tom and Jerry (Simon and Garfunkel)
Tom and Jerry (Simon and Garfunkel) – 1957

More images of the duo can be found here.

Further readings:

Michael Jack Kirby, “Tom and Jerry: Hey, Schoolgirl,” Way Back Attack.

Jordan Runtagh, “Paul Simon’s Early Years: 10 Fascinating Pre-Simon and Garfunkel Songs,” Rolling Stone, October 13, 2016.

Previously published on Agapeta, 2017/12/10.

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