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Spike Jones & His City Slickers


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Lindley Armstrong “Spike” Jones (1911–1965) was a popular musician and bandleader specialising in performing satirical arrangements of popular songs. Ballads and classical works receiving the Jones treatment would be punctuated with gunshots, whistles, cowbells, and ridiculous vocals.

Jones was born on the 14th December 1911 in Long Beach, California. He got his nickname by being so thin that he was compared to a railroad spike. At the age of eleven he got his first set of drums. As a teenager he played in bands that he formed himself. A railroad restaurant chef taught him how to use pots and pans, forks, knives, and spoons as musical instruments. He frequently played in theatre pit orchestras. In the 1930s he joined the Victor Young orchestra, and thereby got many offers to appear on radio shows including Al Jolson’s Lifebuoy Program, Burns and Allen, and Bing Crosby’s Kraft Music Hall. From 1937 to 1942, he was the percussionist for the John Scott Trotter Orchestra, which played on Bing Crosby’s first recording of ” White Christmas”.

The City Slickers evolved out of the Feather Merchants, a band led by vocalist-clarinetist Del Porter, who took a back seat to Jones duing the embryonic years of the group. They made experimental records for Cinematone Corp. and performed publicly in Los Angeles, gaining a small following. The original members of the band included vocalist-violinist Carl Grayson, banjoist Perry Botkin, trombonist King Jackson, and pianist Stan Wrightsman.


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  • Strawb77

    my god. haven`t heard this stuff since a child- thanks for taking me back there!

    30 Jan 2011 Reply
  • RolloSuplex

    Some of the most ridiculous music I've ever heard. Lots of fun, however.

    16 Jun 2010 Reply
  • bicknor

    One cant sensibly comment re SJ and his music, but just listen, enjoying the humour, inventiveness and sheer fun.

    25 Nov 2008 Reply

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