The Barbarians (band)

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For other uses, see The Barbarians (disambiguation).
The Barbarians
Origin Cape Cod, Massachusetts, U.S.
Years active 1964 (1964)-1967 (1967)
Labels Joy
Past members Victor Moulton
Bruce Benson
Ronnie Enos
Jerry Causi

The Barbarians were an American garage band of the 1960s with two nationally charted hits. They had their biggest hit with the 1965 novelty single, "Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?".


The Barbarians were formed in the summer of 1964 in Provincetown, Massachusetts, by original members Victor "Moulty" Moulton, Bruce Benson, Ronnie Enos, and Jerry Causi. The band was quickly assembled by Moulton, who had agreed to do a gig at The Rumpus Room, an ex-jazz club where his cousin worked. After packing the house for their opening performance, they were asked to come back numerous times throughout the season. By the end of the summer, record companies had heard about them and they were taken to New York to start their careers.[1]

While their debut single, "Hey Little Bird" produced by Al Ham (on Joy Records) bombed, two of their next three singles (on Laurie) charted on Billboard, (with "Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?" peaking at No. 55) and also made the Cash Box charts. "Are You a Boy" was co-written by Doug Morris, who went on to head Universal Music Group.

They received their biggest break when featured on The T.A.M.I. Show (performing "Hey Little Bird") alongside other artists such as The Rolling Stones, The Supremes, Lesley Gore, Chuck Berry, James Brown & The Famous Flames, The Miracles, and Marvin Gaye. Their "pirates on the beach" look--leather sandals, open necked/bloused sleeved shirts (sometimes a vest as well), black jeans, longer than usual hair--was distinctive and romantic, topped by the sight of drummer Moulton's hook-shaped left-hand prosthesis. Having lost the hand in an explosion when he was fourteen, Moulton had enabled his drumming by modifying the prosthesis to hold a drumstick.

A later, minor hit, entitled "Moulty," was a humorous and melodramatic autobiographical song chronicling the drummer's life and the loss of his hand. Moulton sang lead on the track, but instead of the original members, he was backed by New York session musicians including members of Levon & the Hawks, later to be known as The Band. Although it barely scraped the Billboard charts, the song would gain a cult following when it was included on Lenny Kaye's Nuggets compilation in 1972.

In 1965, Boston guitarist Geoffrey Morris replaced Ronnie Enos on lead guitar, providing the arrangement of "Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?". In 1967, Benson, Morris and Causi left The Barbarians to form Black Pearl. One year later, having become a version of the group incorporating Denny Romans aka Demian Bell (from Maypole) as the lead guitarist and lead singer, and Walter Parks as Bass player, the Barbarians disbanded. They had evolved to combine martial arts and music by rigorously rehearsing nearly every day at a Karate dojo owned by Moulton's brother-in-law.

The Ramones' song "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" includes Moulton in its list of rock and roll figures and institutions.


  1. ^ "The Barbarians - Moulty (1966)". A Bit Like You And Me. 


  • "Hey Little Bird" / "You've Got to Understand": Joy J-290 (1964)
  • "Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl" / "Take It Or Leave It": Laurie L-3308 (1965)
  • "What the New Breed Say" / "Susie-Q": Laurie LR 3321 (1965)
  • "Moulty" / "I'll Keep on Seeing You": Laurie 3326 (1966)
  • Are You a Boy Or Are You a Girl (1966): Laurie LLP-2033 (mono); SLP-2033 (stereo). Tracks: Are You a Boy Or Are You a Girl / Mr. Tambourine Man / House of the Rising Sun / Marie Elena / Bo Diddley / Memphis, Tennessee // What the New Breed Say / Take It Or Leave It / I'll Keep on Seeing You / Linguica / Susie Q / I've Got a Woman

National chart appearances[edit]


  • "Are You a Boy Or Are You a Girl." Debuted on September 25, 1965, peaked at No. 55, stayed on charts 6 weeks
  • "What the New Breed Say." Debuted on Bubbling Under charts on November 20, 1965, peaked at No. 102, stayed on Bubbling under charts 6 weeks. Did not proceed to Hot 100 Chart.
  • "Moulty." Debuted on February 26, 1966, peaked at No. 90, stayed on charts 4 weeks.

Cash Box[edit]

  • "Are You a Boy Or Are You a Girl." Debuted on September 18, 1965, peaked at No. 62, and stayed on the charts for 7 weeks.
  • "Moulty." Debuted on March 5, 1966, peaked at No. 97, stayed on charts 1 week.

External links[edit]