Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs – “Wooly Bully” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

The catchy song “Wooly Bully” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs is much more than an upbeat rhythm; it’s about embracing change and stepping out of your comfort zone. The lyrics follow a conversation between two characters, Matty and Hatty. Matty shares her discovery of something strange and unfamiliar – the wooly bully, representing anything new or intimidating. Despite initial hesitation, Hatty encourages Matty to face it by learning to dance, implying adaptability and fearlessness. The song ultimately sends a positive message about confronting fears and growing through experiences.

Eager to uncover the playful spirit behind the lyrics of “Wooly Bully”? Unravel how a catchy beat can pack a powerful punch about growth and change in this enticing article.

“Wooly Bully” Lyrics Meaning

The song begins with a rather odd introduction: “Uno, dos, one, two, tres, quatro.” This isn’t just a random mix of English and Spanish numbers; it sets the stage for an upcoming encounter with something foreign and exciting – the wooly bully.

As the lyrics unfold, “Matty told Hatty about a thing she saw / Had two big horns and a wooly jaw.” This wooly bully with its horns and wooly jaw symbolizes something out of the ordinary, perhaps a new experience or a challenge that Matty has come across. It’s odd and unfamiliar, hence the striking description.

But instead of retreating, the song takes a turn. “Hatty told Matty: ‘Let’s don’t take no chance / Let’s not be L-seven, come and learn to dance.'” The reference to ‘L-seven’ is an old slang term for someone who is square or uncool. So, Hatty is essentially encouraging Matty not to shy away, but to embrace this wooly bully, to learn and adapt – to dance with it.

Finally, “Matty told Hatty: ‘That’s the thing to do / Get you someone really to pull the wool with you.'” Here, Matty agrees with Hatty, and they decide to take this wooly bully head on. The line suggests getting a companion to join in this experience, emphasizing the importance of solidarity and teamwork when facing the unfamiliar.

Repeatedly, the chorus reiterates the phrase “wooly bully,” not as a fearsome warning but as a chant of motivation. It’s a call to action, encouraging the listeners to tackle their personal ‘wooly bullies,’ or challenges head-on, with courage and dance in their step.

The Story Behind “Wooly Bully”

The song was written during a time of cultural shift and rapid change. The songwriter’s state of mind was very much influenced by the 60s’ vibrant spirit of revolution and the urge to embrace new ideas. Through this song, he encourages listeners to face their own ‘wooly bullies’ – any new and intimidating experiences they encounter in life. By setting this empowering message to an infectious rhythm, “Wooly Bully” remains a timeless anthem for change and resilience.

Dominic Samudio, the lead singer and the man behind the character of Sam the Sham, created this song when the world was experiencing immense changes. The civil rights movement was in full swing, a younger generation was challenging the status quo, and a cultural revolution was on the horizon. Amidst these changes, people were being faced with many ‘wooly bullies’ in their lives. The song was Samudio’s way of saying: don’t fear these changes, but instead, dance with them.

“Wooly Bully,” despite its fun and upbeat facade, thus reflects the trials of its time. It provides a sense of how music can play a vital role in times of social and political turmoil, offering a positive and encouraging message to those grappling with changes and challenges.

Interestingly, the phrase “wooly bully” itself doesn’t refer to anything specific. When asked about the meaning, Samudio once commented that the song was just a fun number, with the phrase being a placeholder. It just happened to fit the rhythm, and he couldn’t come up with anything better. Inadvertently, this ambiguity allowed “wooly bully” to take on a broader symbolism, enabling listeners to apply it to whatever challenges they were facing.

While writing the song, Samudio’s state of mind seemed to be one of optimism and encouragement. He intended the song to be light-hearted, to bring joy and make people dance. But beneath that intention, whether he knew it or not, he created an anthem of resilience and adaptability that continues to resonate with listeners even today.

In the end, the beauty of “Wooly Bully” lies not just in its catchy rhythm but also in its subtle, hidden messages. It reminds us that we can face our fears, confront the unfamiliar, and perhaps even learn to dance with them. That’s the power of music – and the enduring magic of “Wooly Bully.”