That annoying Ice Cream jingle

As summer arrives in New York City, the ice cream vans once again begin making their rounds, blasting a looped pianola ditty at peak volume.

A friend tells me that this tune played by the trucks is an old Tin Pan Alley song, but he doesn’t know the name…

Does anyone know the name and/or history of the song?

It’s “The Entertainer”, by Scott Joplin.

A friend told me that she once attended a piano recital where the student performed “The Entertainer”, and a small child burst into the room yelling “ICE CREAM!” :slight_smile:

If you’re talking about that five-boro fixture of ice cream peddling, Mr. Softee, then the tune, I believe, was written by the founder (or close friend/relative of the founder).

The Entertainer is used by Mr. Softee wannabes.

Yep, I used to play this one on the piano… cute song. Then I developed a thing for “Für Elise” by Beethoven… :smiley:

That story is SO cute and funny… sounds exactly like what some kids I know would say! :slight_smile:

The ice cream truck song? What a concept. I was a navy brat, living in 19 different houses around 5 states by the time I was 18, and one thing’s for sure: the ice cream trucks in every neighborhood sure didn’t all play the same song. The Entertainer was common, as was Turkey In the Straw, and I’m sure there were at least a couple more that I can’t think of at the moment. I can still hear the one from my grandma’s neighborhood, but I don’t know the name of the song.

[obscure movie reference]

“Hello, folks!”

[/obscure movie reference]

The most common I’ve heard, in 5 different states, is Turkey in the Straw. It’s what I think of when I think of the music from an ice cream truck.

No offense, Galt, but the OP was asking just about, NYC, not the many burgs you have known.

And here in NYC there is only ONE ice cream truck jingle by which all others are judged: Mr. Softee. Sure there are others, but none can touch the perennial, pervasive – and utterly, utterly annoying – Mr. Softee:

Deedelee deedelee deeddelee dee, dink da-dink da-dink dink… and over, and over, and over…

That being said, here are few more facts I found on the web:

“Les Waas has been President of Waas, Inc., an advertising agency for 45 years and is owner of New Sounds, a creative service specializing in jingles and humorous commercials, and winner of most major creative awards. He has performed voices in hundreds of commercials for radio and television. Les has written and produced 973 jingles for such advertisers as “Mr. Softee” (heard on thousands of ice cream trucks)…”

The song I’m thinking of is definitely not “The Entertainer” (neither the ragtime song nor the Billy Joel song), because I’d recognize those straight off.

I’ll have to find an MP3 of this “Turkey In The Straw” to see if it’s the one I mean.

The ice cream vendors here in Mishawaka, IN, play “Pop Goes the Weasel”

I have long had fantasies of hiding in the bushes, waiting for the ice cream truck to come near, playing that godawful annoying racket. Just when the music does the “pop” part, I will pop out of the bushes with a baseball bat, and do a “home run” to the music speaker that even Babe Ruth would envy.

[Four Yorkshireman Mode] We used to dream of hearing the Mr. Softee song - would’ve been Pagliaci to us![/Four Yorkshiremen]

A little further west in Indiana, we get a rotation of several different soul-destroying 4 bar loops - Pop Goes the Weasel, Ach du Lieber Augustine, that style of thing. And then there are the days I’m forced to stay inside with the windows closed and the stereo turned up - those are the Little Brown Jug days.

Flamsterette mentioned playing “Für Elise”, which, amazingly, I’ve heard on an ice cream truck in either Kentucky or California.

“Für Elise” does get annoying when pumped from a truck.

I mostly recall “Turkey in the Straw” but there was another song that always sounded “vaguely familiar.” This is obviously not it, but it sounded slightly like the Martin Mull song that went:

Come on! Surely someone else has noticed this!?!?!!

Shit…I’m drunk again.

I know Turkey in the Straw, I know Yankee Doodle, etc. But none of those were the tune played by the trucks in my childhood neighborhood. I’ve done a bit of research, and can’t find my song. For those musically inclined, the notes are as follows (all quarter notes, with the initial E being the highest note in the ditty):

EEDDCEGCBDGBCEG (1/4 note pause)
EEDDCEGCBDGBC (3/4 note pause, then repeat endlessly)

Can anyone identify this?

I don’t remember the “brand” of the trucks, if there was one. I do remember liking “bomb pops.” I remember thinking that the the flavor of the white layer in this-red-white-and-blue concoction was “7-Up.”

For what it’s worth (and it ain’t much) in Toronto, the Mr. Softee Truck plays “She’ll be comin’ round the mountain.” Perhaps Mr. Softee’s jingle rights end at the border.

After getting an MP3 of “Turkey In The Straw”, I can confirm that it isn’t the song I’m thinking of…

Someone mentioned “Little Brown Jug.” Can anyone link me to a version of this?


Nope, “Little Brown Jug” isn’t the one I’m think of either…

Could those members of the Teeming Millions who live in the NYC area do me a favor, and keep your ears peeled for the ice cream trucks as they roll out?

Let me know if anyone hears and recognizes the tune.


I have a web site, but I only use it for gags or important research purposes. This is one of them.

I recreated the song ImInvisible notified in MIDI, and put it on my web site. Now, I hate background MIDI as much as you do, but it was the only way I could do it.

Oh, I almost forgot-I don’t know what the song is, either. I’m just putting it in musical form for those who need to hear a song to guess what it is.

Bob Hope - “The Muppet Movie” Yes?