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Biography

Ruth Wallis (5 January 1920 – 22 December 2007) was a novelty cabaret singer. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Wallis began her career singing jazz and cabaret standards, but gained fame in the 1940s and 1950s for her risqué, satirical songs, rife with double entendre that she wrote herself. She did have a mainstream hit with "Dear Mr. Godfrey," a song about his public firing of Julius La Rosa.

She sang with a studio orchestra and often took on an accent for songs about characters from other countries. Her music was occasionally featured on the Doctor Demento show in the 1970s.

She started singing in lounges and cocktail bars, where she met her husband Hy Pastman. Eventually it became clear that her novelty songs, which relied mostly upon double entendres, were the most popular. These songs discussed a number of topics that were taboo in fifties America, such as homosexuality and infidelity. For this reason, her songs were banned from Boston radio stations. She often had difficulty securing distribution for her works, so she started her own record label, Wallis Original Recordings. When she arrived in Australia for a tour customs agents seized her records. Rather than ruin her career, this only brought out crowds.

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