A little Spanish flea
Blood-sucking insect from Spain who becomes a singing, guitar-playing sensation in the 1965 earworm, "Spanish Flea," by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. The song was written by Julius Wechter, a collaborator of Alpert's who played on Alpert's 1962 hit, "The Lonely Bull." Orginally the song was just an instrumental, possibly named to be similar to the Spanish song "La Cucaracha" ("The Cockroach"). When it became a hit, lyrics were quickly added by Wechter's wife Cissy for some unknown reason.
There was a little Spanish flea.
A record star he thought he'd be.
He'd heard of singers like Beatles
The Chipmunks he'd seen on TV
The song was a hit, reaching #24 and earning a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental. It was subsequently recorded by many others, some of which, like Soupy Sales' version, used a Chipmunk-like sped up voice for the flea.
The song was also used as the theme for tv game show The Dating Game.
The flea is never given a name, alas. Or... is it Felipe?
- Herb Alpert, 1967
- Herb Alpert
- Soupy Sales version
- Version by Kathy Kirby, 1966, with different lyrics, where the flea is a circus act instead, YouTube
- Washington Post article on Alpert