The Intro and the Outro
The Intro and The Outro is a recording by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. It appears on their debut album, Gorilla (1967). It is not so much a song as a comic monologue, in which the speaker introduces the musicians who ostensibly appear on the recording, and the track fades out before the emcee completes the introductions and without the "orchestra" being able to play anything more than a vamp. The piece was written by Bonzo member Vivian Stanshall, who also provides the vocal. Stanshall first introduces the seven members of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, who are credited with their actual instruments, over a vamp that resembles Duke Ellington’s "C-Jam Blues".
Following that, the imaginary line-up turns toward comedy. Some of the “musicians” named are actual performers credited with instruments that they did not play or typically were not associated with. Others are actors, politicians, and other public figures not generally linked with musical performance in any way. Some of those named are likely unfamiliar to listeners outside of mid-20th century Britain, such as Billy Butlin, Val Doonican, Max Jaffa, and Lord Snooty. Peter Scott, credited as playing the duck call, was a well-known British ornithologist. The Rawlinsons makes reference to “Rawlinson’s End,” a radio program created by Stanshall, while Wild Man of Borneo may refer to Bonzo member Fred Munt, whose nickname was ‘Borneo.’
According to Stanshall's monologue the Bonzos play the following instruments on the recording, although several of the band were multi-instrumentalists and may play other instruments as well.
- "Legs" Larry Smith—drums
- Martin "Sam Spoons" Ash—rhythm pole
- Vernon Dudley Bohay-Nowell—bass guitar
- Neil Innes—piano
- Rodney Slater—saxophone
- Roger Ruskin Spear—tenor saxophone
- Vivian Stanshall—trumpet
As well as being mentioned, the following artists also appear on the recording:
- Eric Clapton—mentioned in Stanshall's patter as playing the ukulele, Clapton actually plays the ukulele heard on the recording.
- Val Doonican as himself
Mentioned in the recording
- John Wayne - xylophone
- Robert Morley - guitar
- Billy Butlin - spoons
- Adolf Hitler - vibes
- Princess Anne - sousaphone
- Liberace - clarinet
- Garner Ted Armstrong - vocals
- Lord Snooty and his Pals - tap dancing
- Harold Wilson - violin
- Franklyn MacCormack - harmonica
- Sir Kenneth Clark - bass saxophone
- a session gorilla - vox humana
- Incredible Shrinking Man - euphonium
- Peter Scott – duck call
- Casanova - horn
- General Charles de Gaulle - accordion
- Roy Rogers on Trigger
- Wild Man of Borneo - bongos
- Count Basie Orchestra - triangle
- The Rawlinsons - trombone
- Dan Druff - harp
- Quasimodo - bells
- Brainiac - banjo
- Max Jaffa - very appealing
- Zebra Kid and Horace Batchelor - percussion
- J Arthur Rank - gong
The "Sessions Gorilla" portion of the recording originally ran "And now just arriving, Quintin Hogg on pig grunt". Hogg was a British politician at the time. He learned of the piece prior to its release and objected to his name being used in such a context. He managed to get Stanshall back into the studio to record the line about the sessions gorilla that is heard on the final recording. It is not known if any copies of the original version still exist. Controversy also grew out of the juxtaposition of The Princess Anne with Hitler.
Vivian Stanshall is also known for appearing as the “Master of Ceremonies” on Mike Oldfield’s original recording of Tubular Bells, a role which involved introducing the instruments featured in the recording, most of which were played by Oldfield.
An excerpt of the song, with an adapted commentary sounding like Stanshall (actually performed by Bob Monkhouse), was used in a 1988 television advertisement, made at Passion Pictures, animated by Chuck Gammage, for the Cadbury Creme Egg.
- "All made up and being friendly: Back on the road, the surviving members of the Bonzo Dog Band make a stopover in the canyons of Alan Franks's mind". The Times. February 5, 2010. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
Nonetheless, they had something suspiciously resembling a hit in 1968 with a single called 'I'm the Urban Spaceman'. There was also 'The Intro and the Outro', their sublime spoof of instruments soloing in a jazz band; and 'Trouser Press', an oeuvre for an amplified version of that hotel appliance.
- "Dance veteran steps up to lead role in classic musical". Western Morning News. May 29, 2009.
Remember the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and their hit 'I'm The Urban Spaceman'? Or 'I'm Going To Bring A Watermelon To My Girl Tonight'? Or 'The Intro and The Outro' ("looking very relaxed... Adolf Hitler on vibes")? Well the avant garde, off-the-wall entertainers are at the Landmark Theatre next month in their latest incarnation - Three Bonzos and a Piano.
- MIKE CHAPPLE (November 3, 2006). "SHOWBIZ ANTIDOTE HITS THE ROAD AGAIN". Daily Post. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
The Bonzos pre-empted the quintessentially English anarchic comedy of the Pythons in the late '60s with songs that celebrated all things daft and beautiful. These were epitomised most perfectly perhaps by The Intro and The Outro, in which Stanshall, in his posh MC voice, reeled off a series of unlikely guest artistes over a mantra-like trad jazz riff, ie, "Say hello to big John Wayne, xylophone, Robert Morley, guitar, Billy Butlin, spoons. And looking very relaxed, Adolf Hitler on vibes."
- Jack Malvern (June 16, 2007). "It's the latest craze and it means ukulele lovers must wait for their ship to come in". The Times. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
George Harrison and Eric Clapton both admired Formby and Clapton played the ukulele in The Intro and the Outro, a song by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
- BBC article on the song
- Mark Steyn (May 2006), He Made the Refrains Run on Time, The Atlantic
- Creme Eggs animated advert