Napoleon XIV Cause of Death: Jerry Samuels, the man behind the hit single “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!,” passed away today at the age of 84. The cause of his death is not yet known.
According to his wife Bobbie Samuels, who shared the news on her Facebook page, Jerry died early in the morning. She described him as her rock and the greatest love of her life, adding that he taught her to be strong.
Napoleon XIV Cause of Death: Obituary, Funeral
Born on May 3, 1938, in New York City, Samuels worked as a recording engineer before coming up with the idea for “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” The song tells the story of a man who goes insane after his girlfriend leaves him, and it became one of the most unusual and memorable hits in pop music history.
Released in July 1966 under the name Napoleon XIV and credited to N. Bonaparte, the song featured only a snare drum and a tambourine as accompaniment.
Despite its oddity, “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” was a massive success, reaching #3 on the U.S. charts and #4 in the U.K. The B-side of the single was a backwards recording of the same song, titled “!aaaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT ot gnimoC er’yehT.” Samuels also wrote “The Shelter of Your Arms,” which was a #1 R&B and #17 pop hit for Sammy Davis Jr.
Napoleon XIV may have been a one-hit wonder, but the song lived on through airplay from Dr. Demento, a novelty record enthusiast who included it on many compilation albums. Samuels also released a Napoleon XIV album, which did not chart, and a sequel to “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” called “They’re Coming To Get Me Again, Ha Haaa!” in 1988.
His legacy as Napoleon XIV and the creator of “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” will undoubtedly continue to be celebrated by fans of novelty music for years to come.