For my birthday, I received copies of the Bonzo Dog Band albums The Doughnut in Granny’s Greenhouse, Tadpoles, and Keynsham.
And I already had their first LP, Gorilla, so I’d say I’m now pretty familiar with the band’s output. I kind of wonder why I never really investigated them some time ago, as they fit my sensibilities pretty well. Formed in the sixties by a group of British art students, led by Neil Innes and the late, great Vivian Stanshall, they made music highly influenced by dada. In fact, they were the “Bonzo Dog Dada Band” before changing it to the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, although many of their releases shortened the name to three words. Their music is absurdly comical, but also with pop sensibilities that make their straighter numbers quite melodic. Their only real hit was “I’m the Urban Spaceman,” a catchy song produced by no less than Paul McCartney, but they’ve lived on in other ways.
It seems that their main claim to fame in the early days was appearing as the house band on a show called Do Not Adjust Your Set, which was in many ways a precursor to Monty Python, not least in that it starred Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and Eric Idle; and featured animation by Terry Gilliam. As you might expect from absurd comedy, the Bonzos’ work isn’t always that even, but when they’re on they’re very much on.
Video for “Canyons of Your Mind”:
Audio-only “We Were Wrong,” the source of this post’s title: