The Redemption Of Ernie K. Doe, One-Hit Weirdo
- 12/23/2012 by Karen Michel (NPR)
Even in a city known for its eccentrics, Ernie K-Doe was in another dimension. The New Orleans musician always knew — and said, loudly — that he was special. And for one week in a life of wild ups and downs, he managed to pierce the national consciousness with a chart-topping hit: 1961's "Mother in Law."
The man born Ernest Kador sometimes claimed he wrote "Mother-in-Law" — but he claimed a lot of things. In fact, Allen Toussaint composed and produced the song, and, after a few unsatisfactory takes, literally threw it away. It was rescued from oblivion by one of the backup singers at the session.
"He thought it was just a delightful song, and he took it out of the trash can when I took a short break, and went over to K-Doe and said, 'Look, try this again, man,'" Toussaint says. "K-Doe did just that, and I'm so glad he did."