Spike Jones (14 December 1911 - 1 May 1965) was an American bandleader and comedian. During the 1940s and 1950s he became notorious for his numerous parodies of popular songs. Jones and his band, Spike Jones and the City Slickers, didn't change lyrics, but rearranged the melodies by adding funny lines, loud and unexpected sound effects, comedy sketches and/or musical changes. He was the first musician to build a career on making comedy music and therefore a large influence on The Goon Show, Stan Freberg, The Bonzo Dog Band, Monty Python's Flying Circus and "Weird Al" Yankovic.
Yet Jones was never recognized as a real musician. His arrangements were extraordinarily complex and his band members very skilled, but critics and audiences saw him as nothing more than some kind of clown. Only after his death Jones was revalued.
Zappa about Spike Jones
"Yeah, I was a massive Spike Jones fan, and ah when I was I guess about six or seven years old he had a hit record called "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth". And I sent him a fan letter because of that, and … hem … I was expecting a photograph of Spike Jones in the mail, but instead I got a photograph of a man named George Rock who was the actual vocalist on that … hem … tune. And he looked like a master criminal. It was like a frightening thing to receive in a mail. (...) And the, ah … the guy he looked, ah … if you remember the old Untouchables television series, there was a guy named Bruce Gordon who played Frank Nitti? Yeah. Well, that's what this guy looked like. And he was a trumpet player."
- Frank Zappa in Ode To Gravity - Frank Zappa: World Affairs Commentator.