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Junk Food Junkie: Larry Groce's Lyrics Of Twinkie, Ding-Dong Addiction

Culture | January 22, 2018

Larry Groce's album cover art, with a Ding Dong (strictly speaking, a Ring Ding), which is what might do his narrator in. Sources: discogs, wikipedia

With "Junk Food Junkie," songwriter Larry Groce took on the holier-than-thou health-food movement of the '70s. His song told the tale of a man living a double life -- by day, he was into all-natural, organic, unsweetened, everything-free, plain-jane healthy food. But at night, he indulged his addiction to junk food, including Twinkies, potato chips, Dr. Pepper, and more.

"Junk Food Junkie" isn't the best song ever written, but it struck a nerve. That's what has to happen for a total novelty song to get into the top 10 on the Billboard Chart.

Larry Groce Was Inspired By Playing Gigs In Health-Food Coffee Shops

Larry Groce has not exactly been a well-recognized, household name. That is not to say, however, that he has nothing to offer. Groce is a singer/songwriter and radio host who has enjoyed modest success throughout his career. One of his gigs was as a performer at a coffeehouse that served healthy, organic food. This proved very profitable for Groce as his insight ultimately led to his 15 minutes of fame.

It's Not Easy Getting Into The Top Ten

One of Groce’s specialties was recording fun, novelty songs. In 1976, he released a song called "Junk Food Junkie." The song spent 15 weeks on the U.S. music charts. It was Groce’s one and only song that ever made the charts and was a Top Ten hit.

Although people weren’t proud to admit it, they could relate to the lyrics. The protagonist was the picture of discipline by day; eating nothing but an all-natural diet of nourishing and healthy food. But he had a dark, shameful secret, as was revealed in the song’s lyrics.

A Country Of Aging Hippies, Worshiping The Natural

About the time "Junk Food Junkie" came out, Woodstock was fading in the rear view mirror. The Baby Boomers were getting a little soft in the middle, and they were scared. They also had plenty of hippie, anti-consumerist ideas about natural foods. 

People began trying to eat healthier and exercise more. Health food stores started popping up everywhere; it what a real craze. Merchandisers realized that food products sold better if they were labeled, “health food” or “100% natural”.

Surely Not Everyone Eats This Stuff

But did people practice what they preached? After all, it was the '70s, and the junk food industry was going as strong as ever. The whole country, it seemed, wanted to get healthier. And the whole country, it seemed, struggled to resist the temptation of sugary food-like stuff in shiny colorful wrappers.

As with a lot of fads, some people took the health food craze to an extreme. That was all the inspiration Groce needed to get the wheels turning. He brilliantly exploited the health food kick and put himself on the charts with his clever song.

Plain Yogurt As A Fashion Statement

“Mr. Natural” is what he called himself. Out in public, people saw him eating plain yogurt, drinking hand pressed cider and having a carrot stick for dessert at the “Whole Earth Vitamin Bar”.

As soon as he was alone, though, he went to his closet and got out the strong box with his secret stash. After looking carefully, to the left and to the right, to make sure he was really alone, he would break it out and overindulge to beat the band! Hidden inside, was a junk food junkie’s dream come true.

The Singer Is Aware He Might Be Killing Himself With Junk Food

The secret box contained his forbidden vice and he declared, “Then I sit back in expectation of a genuine junk food high”. Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Pringles, Fritos, Moon Pies… it was all in there! Next, he washed it all down with a Dr. Pepper. He felt so naughty that he asked, “Good Lord have pity on me.”

The Song Is Ultimately A Guilty Pleasure... About Guilty Pleasures

Of course, Junk Food Junkie was a song poking fun at the health craze that was sweeping America at the time. People were so gung-ho to eat healthy and reclaim their youth. When Groce released his song, it caused America to step back and laugh at themselves. It was also a good excuse to indulge in a Big Mac or two!

Lyrics To 'Junk Food Junkie'

You know I love that organic cooking
I always ask for more
And they call me Mr. Natural
On down to the health food store

I only eat good sea salt
White sugar don't touch my lips
And my friends is always
Begging me to take them
On macrobiotic trips
Yes, they are

Oh, but at night I stake out my strongbox
That I keep under lock and key
And I take it off to my closet
Where nobody else can see

I open that door so slowly
Take a peek up north and south
Then I pull out a Hostess Twinkie
And I pop it in my mouth

Yeah, in the daytime I'm Mr. Natural
Just as healthy as I can be
But at night I'm a junk food junkie
Good lord have pity on me

Well, at lunchtime you can always find me
At the Whole Earth Vitamin Bar
Just sucking on my plain white yogurt
From my hand thrown pottery jar

And sippin' a little hand pressed cider
With a carrot stick for dessert
And wiping my face in a natural way
On the sleeve of my peasant shirt

Oh yeah

Ah, but when that clock strikes midnight
And I'm all by myself
I work that combination
On my secret hideaway shelf

And I pull out some Fritos corn chips
Dr. Pepper and an Ole Moon Pie
Then I sit back in glorious expectation
Of a genuine junk food high

Oh yeah, in the daytime I'm Mr. Natural
Just as healthy as I can be
But at night I'm a junk food junkie
Good lord have pity on me

My friends down at the commune
They think I'm pretty neat
Oh, I don't know nothing about arts and crafts
But I give 'em all something to eat

I'm a friend to old Euell Gibbons
And I only eat homegrown spice
I got a John Keats autographed Grecian urn
Filled up with my brown rice

Yes, I do

Oh, but folks lately I have been spotted
With a Big Mac on my breath
Stumbling into a Colonel Sanders
With a face as white as death

I'm afraid someday they'll find me
Just stretched out on my bed
With a handful of Pringles Potato Chips
And a Ding Dong by my head

In the daytime I'm Mr. Natural
Just as healthy as I can be
But at night I'm a junk food junkie
Good lord have pity on me

Tags: 1976 | Junk Food Junkie | Larry Groce | Song Meanings, Lyrics, And Facts | The 1970s

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.