I spent a lot of time in the Rare Books and Music room. It’s weird looking at sheet music in a quiet reading room, especially the scores for popular songs. The desire to hum the tune is intense and not a good idea. Also there are so many Music Hall songs with the most appallingly racist titles and covers to match and it never seems a good moment to ponder over something with the word Coon in a florid font.
But success! I have found two interesting songs about hypnosis. Probably not sung by hypnotists (as Michael Kilgarriff suggests, they didn’t seem to cross over - it’s only somebody like me that would weaken the validity of both endeavours by attempting to sing and hypnotise), but comic songs about hypnotism none the less
They are It Must have Been Svengali in Disguise. This is about various people who are so good at getting their way that the chorus suggests they must have hypnotised those around them, and they were so effective that they must be the most notorious hypnotist/mesmerist Svengali
My favourite was sung by Charles Gardener and is called How I Mesmerise ‘Em. This tells the story of a fella who is trained as a hypnotist and everyone wants to know how he does it. Turns out he whacks his subjects over the head with a large stick! Ba-doom! Good gag.
Expect to hear both at my show and tell.