Classic country legends, hardened outlaws, Hall of Famers and the Man in Black himself had senses of humor that often came through in song. These eight quirky selections are actually love songs–be it love for a woman, Jesus, country music or pizza. They’re all intentionally a little silly while telling the type of fleshed-out, emotion-driven stories that country music fans crave.
Each pick is by an artist associated with the 1970s or earlier. More recent songs with goofy titles, such as “Truck Yeah” or “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” could make a separate list. Also, these artists typically sang more serious material. A Johnny Cash song about toilets is more noteworthy than a similar title by someone like Ray Stevens or Homer & Jethro.
“Dropkick Me, Jesus,” Bobby Bare
This novelty hit for a still-active Opry legend has a title that was briefly as synonymous with country music as Lone Star Beer. Behind a concept that teeters on self-parody hides a really good modern country-gospel song with its heart in the right place.
“Don’t Squeeze My Sharmon,” Carl Belew
This late ’60s novelty song, also recorded by Charlie Walker and Ernest Tubb, added a fun spin to Charmin toilet paper’s phonetically identical slogan. It turns Mr. Whipple’s innocent request into a lustful barroom plea.
“Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart,” Johnny Cash
Cash’s famed recordings from Folsom State Prison include this brilliant string of broken heart analogies. The literal potty humor in the chorus and title are memorable for sure, but the best line has to be “At the Indianapolis of your heart I lost the race.”
“Thanks to the Cathouse (I’m in the Doghouse With You),” Johnny Paycheck
With the wrong singer, this tale of a neglected husband’s trip to the wrong side of the tracks would’ve been a forgotten novelty b-side. Yet a textbook vocal performance by Paycheck makes this otherwise corny song about infidelity a solid deep cut.
“How Come Your Dog Don’t Bite Nobody But Me?,” Webb Pierce and Mel Tillis
This novelty song from the catalogs of Pierce and Tillis is yet another example of country singers using a funny analogy to describe a rocky relationship. It’s especially charming if you had a grandparent refer to monsters or villains as “boogers.”
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“Tullohoma Dancing Pizza Man,” Eddie Rabbitt
Even when Rabbitt wrote and recorded disposable pop or novelty songs, his talent stood out. A great example of the latter is this somehow great song about pizza, complete with a weird pronunciation of “mozzarella.”
“The Phantom of the Opry,” Jerry Reed
Of course Reed belongs on this list. Aside from the obvious “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft),” he lent his quirkiness to this lesser-known, jazzy cut about Goo-Goo Clusters and country music history.
“I Wouldn’t Take Her to a Dogfight,” Charlie Walker
Walker lampoons getting set up with a woman with no social graces by saying he wouldn’t take her to a dogfight — even if she has a chance to win. Years after his drunken marriage to our antagonist, he understands the hesitations of her look-alike daughter’s boyfriend.