When he released They're coming to take me away in 1966, I'm not sure Jerry Samuels necessarely knew it would turn into a massive hit. He probably could imagine even less that this track would be covered afterwards by a bunch of various french irresponsible dudes, among many others.
Napoleon XIV - They're coming to take me away
Apart from its direct content, I wonder how much the track's posterity may be due to the fact that the song is based on a beat / flow principle: striking, and easy to appropriate.
Besides, most of author rights society accepting only melodies and lyrics to register a track as an intellectual property, therefore it is highly possible that Jerry Samuels never heard about many of the the countless cover versions of his hit, neither received any specific royalties...
On the controversy attributing sometimes the track's paternity to Kim Fowley, this one replied in a Chronicart interview that Samuels was actually the author and composer. But also that he, Fowley, did a few live shows under the name and mask of Napoleon XIV, as Samuels decided he was too old to appear on stage anymore.
Basile - Engins bizarres et gens étranges
Many of us heard the song made by Jean-Pierre Massiera under the alias Basile in 1968, but its link to Napoleon XIV is often reduced to a small credit line.
In this version, the surface of the track remains intact, but the lyrics and content in itself have nothing to do with the original schyzophrenic monologue, as he transfers the song in the field of a farmer and his cow surprised by the arrival of UFOs.
Finders Keepers and Mucho Gusto Rds recently had a huge resonsability in bringing Massiera back to the lights of fame, and if you didn't get them already, their reissues are a must-have.
Au Bonheur des Dames - Je Bé-Bégaie Gaiement
Hugely frenchy big band (mock-heroic elements + wigs and makeup), in some ways close to the Orchestre du Splendid, Au Bonheur des dames did on its side a song on the topic of stuttering, actually also a pretext for various wordplays, in a close-to-cumbia version due to effects that sounds strangely modern for 1988 (avalaible on cd since a 2006 reissue).
C'est tout pour aujourd'hui, but Arc de Triomphe will continue the story with a second volume soon, à suivre...