Sunday, July 30, 2017
W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Spike Milligan - The Q5 Piano Tune-Ning Nang Nong (1969)
Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
To many listeners, Milligan is best known as part of the triumvirate that headed up the Goons, starring on The Goon Show over the British Broadcasting Corporation for nearly a decade beginning in 1952. Though they couldn't have been more different, George Martin and the Beatles (particularly John Lennon) bonded over their shared love of The Goon Show. The show was written, created by and starred Spike Milligan, a father of British yuks and friend of Martin, who produced records for his group the Goons. As Bruce Pollack's If You Like the Beatles notes, Martin used "ingenious sound effects, engineered through a mastery of echo, reverb, multiple edits and playing with recording tape speeds, all of which became the hallmarks of the Beatles studio repertoire."
Milligan was born in India to a father who was an Irish captain in the British army. Milligan lived in India until he was 15, an experience that later came in quite handy when he and Goons co-star Peter Sellers began the tradition of dueling Bengali accents.
His nonsense verse, featured on this single "Ning Nang Nong", was voted the top comic poem of 1999.
As a side note, my favourite travel joke is when Spike Milligan was asked by Australian Customs if he had a criminal record he retorted, "I didn't think it was still a prerequisite."
He also sent a condolence letter to Gough Whitlam when he was controversially dismissed by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, at the climax of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, as shown below.
After Intermission, a stage hand positioned a couch in the centre of the stage, and then placed a life sized dummy on the seat. Shortly after, Spike walked on stage and sat next to the dummy, not uttering a word for some minutes. Eventually Spike broke the silence and said "I guess you are all wondering what the Dummy is sitting here for?". "Well he explained, if you don't laugh at my jokes, then I'm going to beat the SHIT out of it". I must emphasise that swearing in public, particularly on Stage was not heard of in those days and the audience was initially stunned and then broke out in thunderous laughter. Very, very funny.
Weird and Crazy and somewhat Obscure. Recorded from my vinyl single in MP3 (320kps) format. Enjoy
01 - The Q5 Piano Tune
02 - Ning Nang Nong
Spike Milligan Link (12Mb)