Barnes & Barnes

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Barnes & Barnes
Also known as "Dangling Participles", various aliases on The Dinosaur Album
Origin Lumania (Los Angeles, California)
Genres Comedy rock, new wave, synthpop, experimental
Years active 1970–present
Labels Lumania, Rhino, Boulevard, Oglio, Collectors' Choice
Members Art Barnes (Bill Mumy)
Artie Barnes (Robert Haimer)

Barnes & Barnes, fictional twin brothers Art Barnes and Artie Barnes (Bill Mumy and Robert Haimer, respectively), are a comedy rock duo based in "Lumania", a fictional mythological civilization (similar to Lemuria or Atlantis). Most of their music is standard rock or pop with heavy comedic elements. They are best known for their 1978 song "Fish Heads".[1]


Robert Haimer and Bill Mumy were childhood friends who occasionally performed together on their musical instruments. Following the ending of Mumy's role on the TV series Lost in Space, they would shoot short films with a Super 8 motion picture camera, dubbed "Art Films". The two began calling each other "Art" in joking reference to these films.

They formed the band Barnes & Barnes in 1970. They started when they were about 16 with a two track recorder, making goofy tracks, never meant to be shared. Their surname Barnes was taken from a Bill Cosby comedy routine called "Revenge", in which a character called Junior Barnes throws a snowball at Cosby as a child. Originally, both Haimer and Mumy were named "Art Barnes", but Haimer's alter ego was publicly renamed "Artie" in 1979 to differentiate between them.

They first received airplay on The Dr. Demento Show in 1978. Billy Mumy was a huge fan of the show and convinced Bill to "pick a couple of songs and do them right" to send in, the results being their songs "Boogie Woogie Amputee" and "Fish Heads" which they re-did on a Teac four track machine. The latter recording was released as a single on their own Lumania Records in 1979 and remains their best-known song, as well as the most requested song in the history of The Dr. Demento Show.

They produced a video for the song, with a "Super 8 and a hand crank Bolex camera", which was broadcast frequently as a novelty item on MTV.[2] Actor Bill Paxton, one of their close friends, appears in the videos for "Fish Heads", "Soak It Up", and "Love Tap" and successfully campaigned and got "Fish Heads" to air on Saturday Night Live in 1980 for two weeks in a row.

The cost of the video was about $2000, mostly in processing. The song was often misattributed to The Chipmunks for its processed high-pitched chorus vocals,[1] suggested by Mumy but only included after he had fought Haimer "tooth-and-nail" to incorporate them.

Chorus- written by Robert Haimer

Fish heads, fish heads
Roly-poly fish heads
Fish heads, fish heads
Eat them up, yum!

Example of the verses written by Bill Mumy

I took a fish head
Out to see a movie
Didn't have to pay
To get it in

In 1978, Damaskas and Barnes & Barnes recorded "A Day in the Life of Green Acres," a song that combined the music of The Beatles "A Day in the Life" with the lyrics to the theme song of the television show Green Acres. It was inspired by Little Roger and the Goosebumps' similar intertwining of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and the theme to Gilligan's Island.

In 2005, Barnes & Barnes were inducted into the Comedy Music Hall of Fame.


With the exception of Soak It Up and Yeah: The Essential Barnes & Barnes, all of their original albums were released on Rhino Records. All of their rereleases were on CD, with bonus tracks, on Oglio Records.[3]

Produced work[edit]

Barnes and Barnes have produced two albums for Wild Man Fischer, and one album for Crispin Glover.


  1. ^ a b Lapka, Larry. "Barnes & Barnes: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "On Barnes & Barnes' 'Fish Heads'". VH1. My Playlist: Classic Videos 
  3. ^ "Barnes & Barnes: Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 January 2015. - Bill Mumy discusses the Barnes and Barnes song Fish Heads

External links[edit]