Harry "The Hipster" Gibson: Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?


Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?


Harry "The Hipster" Gibson (vocals, piano)


Boogie Woogie in Blue (Musicraft MVSCD-63)

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Harry "The Hipster" Gibson (vocals, piano), Slim Gaillard (guitar),

Tiny Brown (bass), Zutty Singleton (drums)


Composed by Harry Gibson


Recorded: Los Angeles, February 8, 1946


Rating: 75/100 (learn more)

In 1946 Time magazine identified Harry the Hipster Gibson as "the bigwig of be-bop." Absurdly conflating bop and hipsters, Time latched onto Harry because he was a zany, zoot-suited caricature. Yet, unlike his occasional sidekick Slim Gaillard, Gibson was no good-natured naf. Rather, Harry made it hip to get high. His song about spiking a popular children's drink with amphetamine might be some fool's idea of good clean fun, but by the mid-1940s public health officials were warning that such drug abuse wasn't hip, it was dangerous. Even so, it might've been a good thing if Harry had been the bigwig of bebop. As Gene Wilder demonstrated in Young Frankenstein, it's easier to Just Say No to Ovaltine than to the lethal junk the true Bigwig of Bebop was hooked on.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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  • 1 Morgan Wright // Dec 22, 2008 at 07:28 AM
    Please ignore Alan Kurts' ignorant Dragnet narco-paranoid diatribe. Harry Gibson was a boogie and blues pianist of enormous talent, who wrote entertaining songs about the 1940's night life of people who were not satisfied sitting at home listening to FDR's fireside chats. The CD in question was recorded mostly in 1944, with 4 tracks from 1946. They are harmless novelty songs, contrary to what Alan would have us believe.