OK, pop quiz. It’s summer of 1963. What are the hottest pop songs on the charts? You’re probably thinking Elvis, Chubby Checker, Frankie Valli. Sure, they’re up there. But even hotter was a number rarely remembered these days, except around a campfire: “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh.”

That’s not the only Allan Sherman song that enjoyed widespread popularity. Yet today, his music receives scant attention. With the release of a six disc box set put out by Rhino Records, Jesse Green decides to revisit Sherman’s songbook, and to offer some interpretations for his meteoric rise and fall.