There is precious little in the way of information on Wee Willie Shantz. It would appear that Wee Willie's real name was William F. Shanks, that he occasionally went by "Billie," that he lived in the St. Louis, Missouri area in the 1950s and/or 1960s, and that he worked--at least on occasion--as an ice-cream man. On the side, however, Wee Willie was a musician (of sorts) who recorded a number of songs for the obscure "Mark Twain" label out of St. Louis.
In 2000, Wee Willie Shantz gained a bit of notoriety after one of his songs, "Coo Coo Bird," was posted on the website "Oddball Auditorium." [See the original posting via Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.] The extraordinarily strange song spread rapidly through cyberspace, and Wee Willie soon became something of a minor cult figure.
Unfortunately, however, no one to this point has been able to discover any other credible information on Wee Willie Shantz. The only other available data comes from the BMI Repertoire database, which includes twelve possible Wee Willie titles:
CREDITED TO "W SHANKS":
01. COO COO BIRD – (243039)
02. GOIN UP THE RIVER – (487500)
03. ROCKS IN YOUR PILLOW – (1264226)
CREDITED TO "WILLIAM F SHANKS":
04. BIG THINGS HAPP NING – (115232)
05. CABIN NEAR THE SKY – (167421)
06. HUSH PUPPY HUSH – (600343)
07. I LL MISS YOU WHEN I M GONE – (640873)
08. IF MY DREAM WOULD ALL COME TRU – (705288)
09. REMINISCING – (1242809)
10. SAVE A PLACE IN YOUR HEART FOR – (1292494)
11. SO SAID THE KING – (1365974)
12. WHEN THE LIGHT OF THE CANDLE B – (1648446)
Recordings of #1 (three versions), #2, #5, #6, #7, #8 and #12 exist, along with a 13th song, entitled "The Chicken Thief." All ten extant recordings are posted below. If you know of any additional recordings or can provide any information on the mysterious Wee Willie Shantz, please contact us.
[UPDATED 20 MAY 2008]