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Spike Jones

Popular 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, and ridiculous vocals. Through the 1940s and early 1950s, the band recorded as Spike Jones and his City Slickers and toured the USA and Canada under the title, The Musical Depreciation Revue. Jones's father was a Southern Pacific railroad agent. Young Lindley 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 theater 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 during 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. The band signed a recording contract with RCA Victor in 1941 and recorded extensively for the company until 1955. They also starred in various radio programs (1945-1949) and television shows (1954-1961) on both NBC and CBS. George Rock (trumpet and vocals from 1944 to 1960), was the backbone of the City Slickers, according to his contemporaries. Other prominent band members at various times during the 1940s included Mickey Katz (clarinet and vocals), Doodles Weaver (vocals), Red Ingle (sax and vocals), Carl Grayson (violin and vocals), Country Washburne (tuba), Earl Bennett (aka Sir Frederick Gas, vocals), Joe Siracusa (drums), Joe Colvin (trombone), Roger Donley (tuba), Dick Gardner (sax and violin), Paul Leu (piano), Jack Golly (trumpet and clarinet), John Stanley (trombone), Don Anderson (trumpet), Eddie Metcalfe (saxophone), Dick Morgan (banjo), George Lescher (piano) and Freddy Morgan (banjo and vocals). The liner notes for at least two RCA compilation albums claimed that the two Morgans were brothers (the 1949 radio shows actually billed them as "Dick and Freddy Morgan"), but this isn't true; Freddy's real name was Morgenstern.

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