Spike Jones  

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"As Young points out, music made with a battery of bird calls, dustbins, flatulent brass, gunshots, sneezes and snores was nothing new: ‘Musical instruments were being abused with humorous intent - and sounds not unlike Spike’s - as early as 1909.’ He lists characters such as Freddie Fischer, leader of the Schickelfritzers, and Paul ‘Hezzie’ Trietsch, inventor of the Wabash Washboard, ‘an ordinary galvanised washboard flanked by tuned auto horns, pie pans, garbage can lids, a slide whistle and other noisemakers.’ " --Exotica: Fabricated Soundscapes in a Real World (1999) by David Toop

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Spike Jones (1911 - 1965) was an American musician and bandleader specializing in performing satirical arrangements of popular songs.

Ballads and classical works receiving the Jones treatment would be punctuated with gunshots, whistles, cowbells, hiccups, burps and outlandish and comedic vocals.

Telex had a discotheque hit with "Spike Jones" (1986).



There is a clear line of influence from the Hoosier Hot Shots, Freddie Fisher and his Schnickelfritzers and the Marx Brothers to Spike Jones — and to Stan Freberg, Gerard Hoffnung, Peter Schickele's P.D.Q. Bach, The Goons, The Beatles, Frank Zappa, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, Mr. Bungle and "Weird Al" Yankovic. Billy Barty appeared in Yankovic's film UHF and a video based on the movie.

Syndicated radio personality Dr. Demento regularly features Jones' music on his program of comedy and novelty tracks. Jones is mentioned in The Band's song, "Up on Cripple Creek". (The song's protagonist's paramour states of Jones: "I can't take the way he sings, but I love to hear him talk.") Novelist Thomas Pynchon is an admirer and wrote the liner notes for a 1994 reissue, Spiked! (BMG Catalyst). A scene in the romantic comedy I.Q. shows a man demonstrating the sound of his new stereo to Meg Ryan's character by playing a record of Jones' music.

In 1997, singers Artie Schroeck and Linda November directed a production in Atlantic City entitled "The New City Slickers Present a Tribute to Spike Jones", with a band that attempted to re-create the style and humor of Jones' music.


Popular recordings


Notes by Peter Gamble from Clink Clink Another Drink CD by Audio Book & Music Company, ABMMCD 1158.

Further reading

  • Corbett, Scott C. (1989) An Illustrated Guide to the Recordings of Spike Jones. Monrovia: Corbett. No ISBN.
  • Mirtle, Jack. (1986) Thank You Music Lovers: A Bio-discography of Spike Jones. Westport; Greenwood Press ISBN 0-313-24814-1

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Spike Jones" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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