A few nights ago, I played Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, and our friend rawgod commented about a fun Christmas song he particularly likes by the Royal Guardsmen. Well, turns out there are two … actually, there are four, but only two made the charts. So, not being sure which one rg was referring to, I am planning to play both, albeit in separate posts. Now, when I played ‘Grandma’, I hadn’t given any thought to doing more Christmas songs, but I now have a handful of other requests for Christmas songs that are fun or heartwarming, and I’m going to try to get to all of them. If anybody else has a request for a fun Christmas song (no religious carols, please) let me know and I’ll try to fit it into the mix!
This is a novelty song about the imaginary World War I antics of Charlie Brown’s pet beagle in the comic strip Peanuts.
There really was a Red Baron. His name was Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (Baron Von Richthofen), and just like the lyrics state, he had 80 confirmed kills as a fighter pilot in World War I. In the song, he meets his demise when Snoopy shoots him down in a dogfight; in real life, he was fatally injured in an air battle over France, where he landed his plane in a beet field and died a short time later.
The Red Baron was so respected that the Allies buried him in France with full military honors. So grand was his legend that Peanuts author Charles Schulz devised a storyline pitting him against Snoopy.
The German muttering as the beginning roughly translates to: “We will now sing together the song of a pig-headed dog, and our beloved Red Baron.” The band’s singer Chris Nunley came up with this part and did the vocal. He was studying German in college at the time.
For those who may not be familiar with the Royal Guardsmen, they were originally known as The Posmen, The Royal Guardsmen formed in Ocala, Florida, where they earned a deal with Laurie Records after developing a live following in the area.
The band was comprised of:
Barry Winslow (vocals, guitar)
Chris Nunley (vocals)
Tom Richards (guitar)
Bill Balough (bass)
Billy Taylor (organ)
John Burdett (drums)
This was a huge hit in Australia, where it went to #1 for five weeks in 1967. The last two weeks of that year, “Snoopy’s Christmas” was the #1 song in that country. The Royal Guardsmen reunited in 2005 to play some gigs. The following year, they released Snoopy vs. Osama, which finds the cartoon beagle hunting down Osama bin Laden. Who knew? I now give you Snoopy Vs the Red Baron, and stay tuned tomorrow for Snoopy’s Christmas!
Snoopy vs. the Red Baron
The Royal Guardsmen
After the turn of the century
In the clear blue skies over Germany
Came a roar and a thunder men had never heard
Like the scream and the sound of a big war bird
Up in the sky, a man in a plane
Baron von Richthofen was his name
Eighty men tried, and eighty men died
Now they’re buried together on the countryside
Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty or more
The Bloody Red Baron was rollin’ out the score
Eighty men died tryin’ to end that spree
Of the Bloody Red Baron of Germany
In the nick of time, a hero arose
A funny-looking dog with a big black nose
He flew into the sky to seek revenge
But the Baron shot him down–“Curses, foiled again!”
Now, Snoopy had sworn that he’d get that man
So he asked the Great Pumpkin for a new battle plan
He challenged the German to a real dogfight
While the Baron was laughing, he got him in his sight
That Bloody Red Baron was in a fix
He’d tried everything, but he’d run out of tricks
Snoopy fired once, and he fired twice
And that Bloody Red Baron went spinning out of sight
Fade on the chorus the second time