The official start of summer means it's time for the return of the annual urban earworm, the Mister Softee jingle. Resistance is futile, so here instead is another way to fight: reappropriation. The tune -- click here if it's not already ringing in your head -- was written by Les Waas, who the Smithsonian describes as "a kind of one-man band of an adman," and it's such a fearsome earworm that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg once tried to ban it outright. That didn't work, but the trucks can now only play the tune in New York while they're in motion. However, thanks to the Internet, we found love for the Mister Softee theme where none is deserved: a giant sundae's worth of cover versions.
New York metal band Nuclear Assault recorded what's probably the best-known version, played with an impressively soft touch:
Of course the song has words, of which this Mister Softee driver charmingly reminds in his own version:
If there was a Mister Softee video game a la Paperboy (and there should be), this weird electro remix would provide the soundtrack:
Now we're getting into weird cult territory, as this group Punch Drunk Monkeys pulls off a pretty darned good four-minute version at their last-ever show, featuring crazy make-up lead singer Crappy the Clown. This would have been fun to see live:
Why don't more people make hip-hop versions of this song, we wonder. This guy did. It's not great but he did it:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.