Spike Jones

Lindley Armstrong Jones was a musical genius. Spike Jones created a world-class musical group in the wild and woolly days of pre-multi-track recording and MTV. The City Slickers were also known as the City Slickers. They focused on comedy and did satires of pop songs, as well as removing classical music from the air. Jones was not content with delivering cornball renditions of standard material and trite novelty songs for comedy effect. His musical vision included whistles, bells and gargling as well as gunshots that were perfectly timed and tied to all musical and non-musical sources. It was still a mind-boggling show. Jones needed a complete railroad car to transport the props, and all of it presented without any electronic gimmickry. Spike often minimized his musical accomplishments as part of his master plan to sell the idea to the public. However, the fact is that Spike was a meticulous bandleader and taskmaster. He made sure that his musicians were precise and proficient in a variety musical styles, from Dixieland and classical, with a level of musicianship that was higher than many big bands that played “straight” music. Jones was not a fool. Jones knew exactly what he was doing when the entire concept was put together, checkerboard suits included. He had Top Ten hits on phonograph records, and it was immensely popular on stage, in movies, as well as on television. It was a badge for pop stars that Spike Jones made it a badge of honour.

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