Just What DOES ‘Wooly Bully’ Mean?
Continuing with America's celebration of 60 years of Rock & Roll, here's another question that was sent to me:
Q: Okay, here's one: what does 'wooly bully' mean? I can't even understand the lyrics.
A: First off, WOOLY BULLY was a huge hit for Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs in the summer of 1965. The title was based on the 'hully gully' dance and Sam actually wanted to use the words 'hully gully'; but legal heads told him NO, because there were a couple of other songs with those words in the title and they weren't sure about the copyright infringement. Sam changed the lyrics and re-named his new song WOOLY BULLY. Since Sam's lyrics were almost undecipherable, some radio stations banned the song, assuming the words were dirty. There are other sources that claim Sam got the title from the name of his cat, “Wooly Bully” but that tidbit of info has been denied, and 'un-denied' over & over...so that remains unsure. What is a “wooly bully'? A buffalo. WOOLY BULLY peaked at #2 in the early summer of 1965 and was kept out of the #1 spot by the Beach Boys' HELP ME, RHONDA. Even though it didn't make #1, WOOLY BULLY was named Billboard Magazine's "Number One Record of the Year" and was nominated for a Grammy Award.
But what does it mean?
The lyric "had two big horns and a wooly jaw" sounds like it's about the buffalo; but then the lyrics "come and learn to dance" suggest a dance step; yet another lyric "get yourself a filly to pull the wool with you" makes it sound like it's about sex. So I assume each individual will have to have his/her own interpretation of what it really is about.