Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Here's the first new addition to the SACRILEGE series in 5 years. Last one, a look at some Dylan parodies, was back in 2008.

Coincidentally, today (February 19th) the long arm of the law bonked a download actually posted in 2008. Only the third time it's happened at Illfolks. Paul Simon's people just objected to the memorial use of "Night Game" in a May, 2008 article about ex-major league baseball pitcher Geremi Gonzalez, struck by lightning. It happened on a rainy pier in Venezuela (the lightning broke the gold chain around his neck) not on a pitcher's mound, but "Night Game" seemed an appropriate and eerie song to use for the story. Five years later, and having gotten less than 20 downloads...YER OUT!

Well, it's Simon's song and over here, one respects what Simon says. Forgive the bot, for it knows not a sincere usage from a craven one.(Oh...and thank you, Paul-bot, for NOT bonking the SACRILEGE post that was a Not Necessarily the News parody of Simon and Garfunkel. A Rolling Stones bot actually bonked a NON-Rolling Stones song here, a parody that didn't even use the original music!)

Now for something completely different. And totally out of print and obscure...

This time, we go back to the heyday of Beatlemania…and a concept album making fun of it all, by Fisher and Marks.

Yes, the Fab Four inspired a ton of cash-in singles, such as Donna Loren's "My Boyfriend Got a Beatle Haircut." And yes, there were a few comical sourballs hurled their way, including "Pop Hates the Beatles" on an Allan Sherman record. But a full length album? You ask, WHY?

And I'll tell you. Because back then, comedy records were big business. "The First Family," Vaughn Meader's novelty-sketch album on John F. Kennedy, became a million-seller for the tiny Cadence label. That, and huge sales for Shelley Berman, Bob Newhart and others, had record labels gambling on every topical news story and trend. When Elizabeth Taylor began fooling around with Richard Burton, there was "All About Cleopatra." When the "Man from UNCLE" was a huge hit, up came "The Man from TANTE." And yes, when Beatlemania hit, another failed album was rushed out: "Coo Coo Beatles World."

Ironically enough it was on Swan, the Philadelphia label that had miraculously acquired the actual Beatles single "She Loves You" for American distribution.

And who were Fisher and Marks? Just a pair of local Philly comics, no threat to Allen & Rossi (who were having hit albums for ABC-Paramount and owned the catch-phrase "Hello Dere") or even Gaylord and Holiday (who were not having hit albums, and owned the catch-phrase 'Hi, Simply Hi.")

Al Fisher was born Albert Fichera and Marks' last name was Franco (which would explain the duo's other album, Italian comedy parodies ala Allan Sherman titled "Rome on the Range). They began working together in 1948, with Al doing stand-up and pudgy little Lou heckling him from the audience and then coming up on stage for schtick a little less frantic than Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The team wowed 'em in Philly, and were regulars at a local club in town called Palumbo's. A decade later, the team even appeared in a few movies, 'Mister Rock and Roll" and "Country Music Holiday," both headed by country singer Ferlin Husky. The team became known around the country, opening for both comics (Joey Bishop) and song and dance acts (Jimmy Durante). While Steve Rossi ran through Marty Allen, Slappy White, Joe E. Ross, Bernie Allen, and then came back to Marty again…the durable Fisher & Marks combo continued in local venues until 1985, when Al suffered his third, and most damaging heart attack. He died a year later, July 16, 1986. Marks teamed with a few other comics after Al's passing, worked as a single, and died September 8, 2007 at the age of 83, no quite making it to his birthdate (September 27th).

Most fans agree that the team was a riot in live performance, and that the movies and record albums do not do them justice. Well, "Coo Coo" doesn't do The Beatles justice, either, and a good parody would have to wait many many years till The Rutles arrived. Much of the album is badly written schtick. Unable to fill it entirely with gags about long hair or Ed Sullivan, they padded things out with a sketch as Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, and a track called "The Real Fisher and Marks."

Since this is a music blog anyway, you get the few musical numbers, including "We Love Rock and Roll" (lyrics stuck atop "Barcarolle" of all things…and what the point of the bad Cockney-accented riddles are, who knows) and "Paul George John and Ringo : All The Way to the Bank," (public domain music "On Top of Old Smokey"). Ladies and Gentlemen, the comedy stylings of Al Fisher and Lou Marks, back when it was a Coo-Coo Beatles World.



JimG said...

Hoping to get the whole album, hard to find... thanks...

and take a look at www.vs-uc.com


Duncanmusic said...

Well it took a couple of hours but I'm up to date. I didn't realize I'd not visited since February! That won't happen again I promise. Keep it up!