Do you suppose Zappa was influenced by Spike Jones?

This doesn’t come up in any of the Zappa commentaries I’ve read, but I was playing some Spike Jones star, Hollywood Walk of FameSpike Jones collector pieces on YouTube last night and it dawned on me that they have much in common. Although Spike and the City Slickers were a big band comedy sound… and although Spike died just as Zappa was coming up, his presence on 50s television and in Movietone shorts would certainly have been experienced by Frank at some point.

Dancin’ Fool is one of the Zappa pieces that strike me as related to some of Spike Jones:

Someone commented on this one (12th Street Rag) by saying that Spike Jones was like a cross between Zappa and the Globetrotters. I like that comparison:

Any Comments?

About btchakir

Retired Theatre Producer, Graphic Designer, Usability Tester and General Troubleshooter with a keen interest in Politics and The Stage. Currently heard on WSHC, 89.7 FM (on line at and occasionally dabbling in Community Theatre.

Posted on December 15, 2011, in Art, Arts, creativity, film, funny, history, humor, Internet, Music, Opinion, quote, radio, recording, Satire, Video, wild things, Word from Bill and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Yes, indeed, that’s a wonderful connection. Being a youthful 58-year-old, of course, I myself don’t remember Spike. But watching that video, he did look familiar. Maybe I had seen him at a very young age.

  2. When he’s playing the bicycle pump on the 12th St. Rag video, it reminds me of that Zappa spot on Steve Allen where he’s playing the bike.

  3. If I remember correctly and I often don’t – Zappa himself listed Spike Jones as one of his influences along with Varese, Stravinsky etc… I’m pretty sure. At the very least then someone back in the day compared the two. Oh hell, Bill it might have been you.

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