The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - Equestrian Statue (1967)


Vivian Stanshall, The Pied Piper in a Garret in the Palace.

See here in this video-clip our friend Vivian Stanshall narrating over various rare clips, with a special appearance by Special Branch Man PC Gibbons, enjoying a piece of marzipan.

Happy birthday to head Bonzo Vivian Stanshall, who would’ve been 71 today. Here’s a tribute Paul wrote after Viv’s tragic 1995 death:

“I originally met Viv in the London club days, out and about on the town. We used to have drinks and a laugh together and he was a lovely, funny man. He was in The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, which I saw live on stage at the Saville Theatre a couple of times when Brian Epstein promoted shows there. They were very eccentric — sort of modern yet very old-fashioned — following on from bands like the Temperance Seven.

Then I phoned Viv and asked if the Bonzos would be in Magical Mystery Tour with us. They did the scene with the stripper that we filmed in Paul Raymond’s Revuebar and I think they had a pretty good time, playing while the woman took off her clothes.

So Viv became a very good friend and I used to visit him at his house — I remember that he had an aquarium with turtles, at which we used to sit and wonder! Then he asked me to produce their next single ‘I’m The Urban Spaceman’, which I did at Chappell Studios. I went down there, met the guys, and Viv had a length of brightly-coloured plastic piping which made a noise when he swirled it around his head. That was to be his contribution. We chatted a while and then I produced the record. He suggested that I be credited as "Apollo C Vermouth”, which indeed I am, still, to this day. It turned out to be the Bonzos only hit, although hit singles is not what they were about anyway.

I’ll always remember Viv and Keith Moon being a sort of double act, the two of them playing very, very posh English gentleman. They did have their crazy side, of course, but whenever I saw them together they were perfect gentlemen. They did a joint Radio 1 show, which I heard while driving up to Scotland and was the inspiration for Oobu Joobu.

Over the following years Viv and I would see each other, on and off, at functions, but I gradually lost touch with him, so it was with particular sadness that I heard he had died. He was a wonderful man and he’ll be much missed.“

"Legs" Larry Smith of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band on Keith Moon

“Screaming Lord Sutch had dropped us off – swinging his Union Jack Roller from a groggy breakfast taken ‘somewhere or other’ – up through the twists and turns and the one night stands of Laurel Canyon, LA. It was a bakingly hot day and immediately, stepping from the air–conditioned car and thrust into the blinding heat, Keith and I decided that we needed refreshment – without delay. We found a tiny bar that was quietly sweeping up last night’s debris, found a booth and ordered a couple of ice–cold beers.

If truth be known, we were still high from yesterday’s ‘something or other’ and alcohol was most definitely required – it would smooth and sooth the morning jitters and make us both likable again. A pick–me–up. We found a quarter and called our dear friend Miss Pamela – (Pamela Des Barres) thinking that she might like to join us for the coming day’s activities – alas, she was booked in for a lengthy ‘panty fitting’ and sadly had to decline. She would of course be punished for failure to attend a board meeting.

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My Pink Half Of The Drainpipe
Bonzo Dog Band
My Pink Half Of The Drainpipe

Bonzo Dog Band - My Pink Half of the Drainpipe (The Doughnut in Granny’s Greenhouse)

So Norman, if you’re normal, I intend to

be a freak for the rest of my life, and I shall baffle you with cabbages and rhinoceroses in the kitchen, incessant quotations from “Now We Are Six” through the mouthpiece of Lord Snooty’s giant, poisoned, electric head.



On this day in music history: May 25, 1973 - “Tubular Bells”, the debut album by Mike Oldfield is released. Produced by Tom Newman, Simon Heyworth and Mike Oldfield, it is recorded at The Manor in Oxfordshire, UK from Autumn 1972 - Spring 1973. The album consists of two side long movements featuring Oldfield playing nearly all of the instruments. Vivian Stanshall (of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) is featured as the voice of the “master of ceremonies”. The eclectic piece is rejected by numerous record labels as being “unmarketable” and “non-commercial”, until Richard Branson, the owner of The Manor Studios hears the album and agrees to release it. It is the first release on the newly established Virgin Records label. The record receives a major boost when director William Friedkin uses part of the first movement in his film “The Exorcist”. Its exposure in the film (also issued as a edited single #31 UK, #7 US Pop) leads to its worldwide popularity. The albums iconic cover artwork featuring a bent “tubular bell” is designed by graphic artist Trevor Key. “Tubular Bells” hits number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.