The Barron Knights are a British humorous pop-rock group, originally formed in 1959 as the Knights of the Round Table.
They started out as a straight pop group and spent a couple of years touring and playing in English dance halls. 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 1961, inspiring him to take up the instrument. In 1963, at the invitation of Brian Epstein, they were one of the support acts on the Beatles’ Christmas shows in London and later became one of the few acts to tour with both the Beatles and the Stones.
They first came to fame in 1964 with the number “Call Up the Groups” (Parts 1 and 2). It overcame copyright restrictions to parody a number of the leading pop groups of the time including the Searchers, the Hollies, Freddie and the Dreamers, the Dave Clark Five, the Bachelors, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.
The Barron Knights have continued to tour over the years and indeed perform to this day, with some personnel changes, having the occasional hit record along the way and earning from their fellow-musicians an admiring nickname – The Guv’nors. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but having the micky taken out of you could be better proof that you’ve really arrived!
Would current performers relish being sent up like that, I wonder? And with such a homogenous product, would anyone actually bother to try?
Nowadays the scene is awash with tribute bands and their word-for-word/note-for-note imitations – enslaved to the originals and forbidden to go beyond their frozen example. Flies in aspic, you might say, stuck fast in a heritage model …
OK, rant over! Oh, perhaps it’s just that old people have all the money and are choosing to spend it on the past. Old people? Hey, that’s me! And where am I up to in this not-so-little survey? 1964!
Aspic, or what?
Steady on, I am looking at the real thing and not a bunch of clones … or puppets … aren’t I? I mean, sure, this has it’s cheesy moments … all those Xmassy references … and any satire is pretty soft. Frank Zappa it ain’t.
Mind you, it soon will be! How could I cover musical comedy and miss out the Mothers?
And now, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado I give you – THE BARRON KNIGHTS!