2007   MARCH 29   #088

Andy Roberts and the Gallivanters - Supermayor Is Watching Over You

Andy Roberts and the Gallivanters - Supermayor Is Watching Over You (2:22)

From 1970 to 1972, the city of Saint Paul, MN was led by colorful Mayor Charlie McCarty who won the election as an independent candidate. He was both loved and hated by many for his unpredictable words and deeds, but never failed to entertain.

He earned the nickname "Supermayor" due to his penchant for patrolling the streets of the city at all hours of the night in his hand-picked Lincoln Continental (dubbed the "Supercar") which was decked out all manner of police and fire radios, and the newly modern technology in the song's lyrics that allowed him to switch red lights to green while he tooled around town with his driver.

An incident where Mayor McCarty helped apprehend a disorderly patron at a White Castle restaurant was the genesis of an weekly "Supermayor" comic strip by Jerry Fearing in the local paper.

Enter Andy Roberts, and friends The Gallivanters. Both were regular performers at Gallivan's restaurant and bar in downtown Saint Paul. Roberts wrote the song about McCarty, and recorded it with The Gallivanters as his backing band.

I exchanged e-mail with The Gallivanters' Bill Conlan, who co-founded the band in 1962 with bartender Pat Gallivan. The group still performs to this day. According to Conlan, "Supermayor Is Watching Over You" received some local radio airplay, and Roberts performed it nearly every night for years, no doubt for McCarty himself. In this photo it looks like McCarty's "Supercar" has somehow found a rock star parking spot directly in front of what looks to be the Gallivan's canopied entrance.

McCarty's "Faithful Driver Dan" mentioned in the song was a young police officer named Dan Bostrom who is now a St. Paul City Councilmember. Bostrom told me that he has a copy of the "Supermayor" song in his city office to this day. He was amused that someone would contact him about this small snippet of local political history. For Twin Cities record hunters, his version of the song is performed by The Hill-Dillies.

Andy Roberts passed away in 2003. McCarty was defeated in his 1972 bid for a second term. He died two years later at age 53. The stories, and the song, are still around.

Grateful acknowledgement is due to columnist Don Boxmeyer and the archives of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, through which I found many details and photos.

- Contributed by: Chuck Tomlinson

Images: Supermayor 45, Supermayor Cartoon, Andy Roberts, Supermayors Supercar

Media: 45rpm 7" Single
Album: n/a
Label: Gallivans
Catalog: MMS-7147A
Credits: Andy Roberts
Date: no date listed; sometime from 1970-1972