The Barron Knights

The Barron Knights are a British humorous pop rock group, originally formed in 1959 in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire,[1] as the Knights of the Round Table.[2]

The Barron Knights
OriginLeighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England
GenresPop rock, comedy rock, novelty song
Years active1959–present
LabelsColumbia, Epic
WebsiteOfficial website
MembersPeter Langford
Len Crawley
Lloyd Courtenay
Micky Groome
Past membersBarron Antony
Don Ringsell
John “Judge” Hopkins
Dave Morrow
Duke D’Mond
Butch Baker
Howie Conder
Bill Sharky
Dave Ballinger

CareerEdit

They started out as a straight pop group, and spent a couple of years touring and playing in English dance halls before making their way to Hamburg, Germany. Bill Wyman, later of the Rolling Stones, has written that the Barron Knights were the first group he saw with an electric bass, at a performance in Aylesbury in July 1961, inspiring him to take up the instrument.[3] In 1963, at the invitation of Brian Epstein, they were one of the support acts on The Beatles' Christmas shows at the Finsbury Park Astoria in London, and later became one of the few acts to tour with both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Their debut single was "Let's Face It" / "Never Miss Chris" released in 1962 by Fontana Records (H.368).[4] They also made their debut on BBC Television in this year performing on the children's programme Let's Go! [5]

For studio recordings they often brought in additional session musicians as required, including in 1968 a then unknown Reg Dwight.[6]

They first came to fame in 1964 with the number "Call Up the Groups" (Parts 1 and 2). It overcame copyright restrictions and parodied a number of the leading pop groups of the time including the Searchers, Freddie and the Dreamers, the Dave Clark Five, the Bachelors, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. The song imagined the various artists singing about being conscripted, or "called up" into the British Army, although actual conscription had ended in 1960. The single climbed to number 3 in the UK Singles Chart.[7] As an example, the song "Bits and Pieces" by The Dave Clark Five was parodied as "Boots and Blisters". They then followed this parody theme with two more hit singles "Pop Go the Workers" (1965) and "Merry Gentle Pops" (1966), while continuing to work the cabaret circuit, as they do internationally to this day.

In 1967, the group released the single "Lazy Fat People", a satirical song written by Pete Townshend of The Who. In 1974 they toured South Africa with Petula Clark.[8] By 1977 CBS Records had signed the group, bringing a resurgence in popularity, with "Live in Trouble" reaching number 7 in the UK Singles Chart.[8] It was their first hit for over nine years. "Angelo" was just one song parodied on "Live in Trouble".[9][10] Their 1978 release "A Taste of Aggro", which parodied "Rivers of Babylon", "Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs" and "The Smurf Song", became the group's biggest hit with sales of over one million,[8] reaching number 3 in the UK chart.

They achieved four other UK hit singles in the 1960s and 1970s but their only US Billboard Hot 100 charted single, "The Topical Song", was another comedic parody written by the American poet Robert Spring White. Based upon Supertramp's "The Logical Song", White, who also took the 1980 American Song Festival award in the folk category for "Where Does The River Go", confined his humorous lyric compositions to the Barron Knights.

The group also produced Christmas specials on Channel 4 Television in 1983 and 1984 which continued to be repeated throughout the decade, a mix of sketches and songs with a comedy backbone for which the group brought in comedy writer Barry Faulkner (Grumbleweeds, Tom O'Connor, Week Ending, Russ Abbot's Madhouse) to write sketches and links. In 1986, they sang a parody of the Jimmy Dean song "Big Bad John", called "Big Bad Bond". It was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Australian entrepreneur Alan Bond and his involvement in Australia's victory in the 1983 America's Cup. The single was released by WEA, and had "The Loan Arranger" on the B-side, both taken from their album California Girls.

As of 2013, the group continued to perform for a worldwide audience, with a line-up featuring only Pete Langford from the original band members. Founding member, Barron Antony, retired on 5 October 1985, and fellow founding member Butch Baker retired in January 2007, and was replaced by Len Crawley.[8] The Barron Knights' original lead singer, Duke D'Mond, died on 9 April 2009.

Original band member detailsEdit

  • Barron Antony (born Antony Michael John Osmond, 15 June 1934, RAF Abingdon, Abingdon, Berkshire, England)[2] – bassist, vocalist
  • Peter 'Peanut' Langford (born 10 April 1943, Durham, England)[2] – guitar, keyboards, vocalist
  • Duke D'Mond (born Richard Edward Palmer, 25 February 1943, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England, died 9 April 2009, Oxford)[8] – vocalist
  • Butch Baker (born Leslie John Baker, 16 July 1941, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England)[2] – lead guitarist, vocalist
  • Dave Ballinger (born David Alan Ballinger, 17 January 1939, Slough, Buckinghamshire, England) – drummer

DiscographyEdit

AlbumsEdit

Year Title Details Peak chart positions
UK[11]
1964 Call Up the Groups
  • Released: 1964
  • Label: Columbia
  • Released as The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond
-
1966 The Barron=Knights
  • Released: 1966
  • Label: Columbia
  • Released as The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond
-
1967 Scribed
  • Released:1967
  • Label: Columbia
-
1972 One Man's Meat -
Songs From Their Shows
  • Released: 1972
  • Label: Tavern
-
1973 Barron Knights
  • Released: 1973
  • Label: Tavern
-
1974 Odd on Favourites
  • Released: 1974
  • Label: Tavern
-
1975 Knights of Laughter
  • Released: 1975
  • Label: Penny Farthing
-
The Barron Knights
  • Released: 1975
  • Label: Tavern
-
1977 Live in Trouble
  • Released: 1977
  • Label: Epic
-
1978 Night Gallery
  • Released: 1978
  • Label: Epic
15
1979 Teach the World to Laugh
  • Released: 1979
  • Label: Epic
51
1980 Jesta Giggle
  • Released: 1980
  • Label: Epic
45
1981 Easy Listening
  • Released: 1981
  • Label: Tavern
-
The Barron Knights (Cheers From Dave Duke Butch Barron & Pete) -
Twisting the Knights Away
  • Released: 1981
  • Label: Epic
-
1983 Funny in the Head
  • Released: November 1983
  • Label: Epic
-
1986 California Girls
  • Released: 1986
  • Label: WEA
-
1987 Don't Let the Germans Pinch Your Sunbeds!
  • Released: 1987
  • Label: –
-
1999 Songs for Traffic Jams -

SinglesEdit

Year Single Peak chart positions
AUS CAN IRE[12] NZ[13] UK[11] US[14]
1962 "Let's Face It" (as The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond) - - - - - -
1963 "Jo-Anne" (as The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond) - - - - - -
1964 "Comin' Home Baby" (as The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond) - - - - - -
"Call Up the Groups" (as The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond) 28[15] - 2 - 3 -
"Come to the Dance (as The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond) - - - - 42 -
"The House of Johann Strauss" (as The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond) 17[16] - - - - -
1965 "Pop Go the Workers" (as The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond) 47[16] - 7 - 5 -
"It Was a Very Good Year" (as The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond) - - - - - -
"Merry Gentle Pops" (as The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond) 79[16] - - - 9 -
1966 "Round the World Rhythm and Blues" (as The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond) - - - - - -
"Doing What She's Not Supposed to Do" - - - - - -
"Under New Management" 70[17] - - - 15 -
1967 "Lazy Fat People" - - - - - -
"Here Come the Bees" - - - - - -
1968 "I Never Will Marry" - - - - - -
"An Olympic Record" 84[18] - - - 35 -
1969 "Love and the World Loves With You" - - - - - -
"I've Got You Under My Skin" (Australia-only release) - - - - - -
1970 "Traces" - - - - - -
1971 "Hey Ho! Europe" - - - - - -
"Popumentary '71" - - - - - -
1972 "You're All I Need" - 85[19] - - - -
"To the Woods" - - - - - -
1973 "Turning My Back on You" - - - - - -
"Bottle on the Shelf" (Australia and New Zealand-only release) - - - - - -
1974 "Hatters, Hatters" (with the Luton Town Squad) - - - - - -
"The Ballad of Frank Spencer" - - - - - -
1977 "Live in Trouble" 77[20] - 11 - 7 -
1978 "Back in Trouble Again" - - - - - -
"Get Down Shep" - - - - - -
"A Taste of Aggro" - - 13 37 3 -
1979 "Boozy Nights (Boogie Nights)" - - - - - -
"The Topical Song (Logical Song)" 97[21] - - - - 70
"Food for Thought" - - - 38 46 -
1980 "We Know Who Done It (Pt 1) (Cars)" 99[22] - - - - -
"The Sit Song" (parodying dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse) - - - - 44 -
"Never Mind the Presents" 37[22] - - 45 17 -
1981 "Mr. Rubik" - - - - - -
"Blackboard Jumble" - - - - 52 -
1982 "It Happened Down Under" (Australia-only release) - - - - - -
"Du'Wot?" - - - - - -
1983 "Buffalo Bill's Last Scratch" - - - - 49 -
"Full Circle" - - - - - -
1984 "Churchill Rap" - - - - - -
1985 "Mr. Bronski Meets Mr. Evans (I Feel Love)" - - - - - -
1986 "R-R-Rock Me Father Christmas" - - - - - -
"California Girls" (Australia-only release) - - - - - -
"Big Bad Bond (Big Bad John)" (Australia-only release) - - - - - -
1989 "Wot a Mix Up!" - - - - - -
1999 "The Golden Oldie Old Folks Home" - - - - - -

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Colin Larkin, Virgin Encyclopedia of Sixties Music, (Muze UK Ltd, 1997), ISBN 0-7535-0149-X), p. 32
  2. ^ a b c d "The Barron Knights". 45-rpm.org.uk. Retrieved 22 May 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Bill Wyman and Richard Havers, Bill Wyman's Blues Odyssey, Dorling Kindersley, 2001, ISBN 0-7513-3442-1, p. 320
  4. ^ "The Barron Knights With Duke D'Mond - Let's Face It (Vinyl)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 August 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Barron Knights TV debut". Genome.ch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 5 August 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Claude Bernardin and Tom Stanton (1996). Rocket Man: Elton John from A-Z. Greenwood. p. 7. ISBN 0275956989.
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 43. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Barron Knights official fansite". Barronknights.com. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Barron Knights parody". Listology.com. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "The Barron Knights – Live in Trouble". Official Charts Company. 29 October 1977. Retrieved 22 May 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ a b "BARRON KNIGHTS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  13. ^ "charts.org.nz - New Zealand charts portal". charts.nz. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  14. ^ "The Barron Knights Songs ••• Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". www.musicvf.com. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  15. ^ Grant. "Every AMR Top 100 Single in 1964". Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  16. ^ a b c Grant. "Every AMR Top 100 Single in 1965". Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  17. ^ Grant. "Every AMR Top 100 Single in 1966". Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  18. ^ Grant. "Every AMR Top 100 Single in 1968". Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  19. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". www.bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  20. ^ Grant. "Every AMR Top 100 Single in 1978". Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  21. ^ Grant. "Every AMR Top 100 Single in 1979". Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  22. ^ a b Grant. "Every AMR Top 100 Single in 1980". Retrieved 1 September 2020.

External linksEdit