Spike Jones

Spike Jones Biography

Born : December 14, 1911 in Long Beach, California.

Died : May 01, 1965 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California.

American jazz drummer and bandleader perhaps best known for performing and recording satirical arrangements of popular songs. The songs receiving the Spike Jones treatment would commonly be punctuated with gunshots, whistles, cowbells, and outlandish vocals.

Through the 1940s and early 1950s, his band primarily recorded under the name Spike Jones and his City Slickers. They scored their first big hit in 1942 with "Der Fuehrer's Face", a song ridiculing Adolf Hitler that was later adapted by Walt Disney into an animated propaganda film intended to sell war bonds during WWII. Their 1944 rendition of "Cocktails for Two" was also very popular but, they are perhaps best known for the 1948 holiday release "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth"

The City Slickers preformed under a variety of names over the years, and some of the rotating cast of members followed Spike when he formed a second group of more serious musicians in 1946 called Spike Jones and His Other Orchestra which played lush arrangements of dance hits. In 1957 he revamped again with Spike Jones and the Band that Plays for Fun, a more straightforward big-band sound featuring a few tongue-in-cheek comic moments.

He also hosted a series of TV programs in the mid to late 1950's, the most notable titled: The Spike Jones Show with his second wife, Helen Grayco, and young (at the time) son Spike Jones Jr.

Spike died in 1965 from emphysema.

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