Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, "Death Cab for Cutie"

It seems that many of us have not seen Magical Mystery Tour, so I thank poster Kip W. for providing the following clip from the film, featuring the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. The Bonzos were one of those bands that always got a favorable writeup in the Rolling Stone Record Guide that nevertheless left you with no idea what they actually sounded like. Now you can find out.

The Beatles were early fans of the band, which eventually ended up playing on a British kids' TV show called Do Not Adjust Your Set, which featured Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Eric Idle. Bonzo Neil Innes befriended those guys, and went on to be the sort of musical director for Monty Python, as well as a horrifically bad musical guest on NBC's Saturday Night.

The Bonzos' one hit was 1968's "I'm the Urban Spaceman," written by Innes and produced by future Elton John helmsman Gus Dudgeon and future "Ebony and Ivory" duettist Paul McCartney under the collective pseudonym Apollo C. Vermouth. That's not their most recognizable title these days, though. According to the person who posted this video on YouTube, this song is "probably" the source for the name of the band Death Cab for Cutie. Or maybe it's just all a coincidence:

3 comments:

Kinky Paprika said...

Wellll ... this clip lets you know what they sounded like singing "Death Cab for Cutie."
Being parodists and pastiche artists (and that's not as negative as it sounds), they "sounded" any number of different ways.
"I'm The Urban Spaceman," for instance, is a cheerful skiffly number.

T. Nawrocki said...

No wonder I could never figure out what they sounded like.

You can see "Urban Spaceman" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbLDI5lNdRQ. I don't want to post the whole thing because I've posted too many videos lately. Need to find some real material.

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