I can’t believe – or maybe I CAN believe – that I failed to note the 50th anniversary earlier this year of the release of Loving You Has Made Me Bananas by Guy Marks. Marks, born Mario Scarpa on Halloween 1923 in South Philadelphia, PA, was one of 11 children, nine who lived to adulthood, born to Italian immigrants.
“He had a natural gift for mimicry, and his impressions of celebrities such as Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, Boris Karloff, and many others were considered among the best. However, he also could imitate a housefly on a slippery oil cloth, neon signs, alligators, driftwood furniture, rubber bands, frozen chickens, frogs, praying mantis, and — his favorite — an ostrich, all of which found their way into his act or in characters he played on TV.”
Marks “made his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on May 29, 1960. From that point on he appeared dozens of times throughout the 1960s and 1970s on popular variety shows. His big break came when he was cast as a regular on the 1962–63 season of The Joey Bishop Show.”
Loving You Has Made Me Bananas is an odd song in that I rarely heard it when it first came out – it only reached #51 on the Billboard pop charts, though #19 on the adult contemporary list, in 1968 – but when I did, I assumed it was some oldie I had somehow managed to have missed. It hit the Top 30 in the UK in both 1968 and 1978.
In the day, everyone knew 3/4s of the chorus:
Oh, your red scarf matches your eyes
You closed your cover before striking
[something something something] blues
Loving you has made me bananas.
But what was that third line? I never knew until recently:
Father had the shipfitter blues
Guy Marks died November 28, 1987 at the age of 64.
Listen to the single:
Forgive Me My Love here