Ernie K-Doe – Here Come The Girls

10th July 2022 · 1970, 1970s, Blues, Music, Soul

There have been plenty of crazy characters and egotists in the history of popular music, and Ernie K-Doe was one of them. A bit of a blues and soul legend in his native New Orleans, he performed in a cape and crown and billed himself as “Emperor of the Universe.”

Here Come The Girls, written by Allen Toussaint, came straight outta NOLA in 1970.

Unlike K-Doe’s 1961 chart-topper Mother-In-Law – also written and produced by Toussaint – it wasn’t a hit, but was reborn nearly 40 years later thanks to a UK pharmacy and The Sugababes.

In 2007 Ernie’s version was used in a Christmas TV ad for Boot’s before being covered by The Sugababes (as Girls), with their version being used in the following year’s ad campaign – giving them a Top 3 hit single.

This, though, is the only version you need: Ernie K-Doe’s original, with the musical backing supplied by NOLA’s finest funkateers, The Meters.

Up to his death in 2001, K-Doe spent most of his career performing in and around the New Orleans blues scene, where he was revered as a legendary figure.

In the 1980s he switched careers to present a popular radio show, making a name for himself for his colourful personality, explosive announcements and incessant self-promotion, with catchphrases like “Burn, K-Doe, Burn!”, “I’m A Charity Hospital, Baby!” and “You just good, that’s all!” – the latter addressed to himself.

For a time K-Doe billed himself as “Mr. Naugahyde” until he was ordered to desist by the owners of the fabric company’s trademark, despite his barely believable defence that he was actually referring to himself as “Mr. M-Nauga-Ma-Hyde”, a word he invented himself.

In the 1990s, modest as ever, he began billing himself as “The Emperor of the Universe” and wearing a cape and crown., and began performing again and recording new songs including one called White Boy, Black Boy.

He also opened his own music club and bar, The Mother-In-Law Lounge, which had a life-size statue of its owner and became a shrine to his memory following his death in 2001, after which he was given a traditional jazz funeral.

The bar was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but rebuilt thanks to a local charity and reopened on the first anniversary of the tragedy.

That same year, untroubled by the small detail of his death five years earlier, his widow Antoinette K-Doe led a campaign for Ernie to be elected mayor. He didn’t win.