With the political season in high gear, I’ve found that I arrive at work in a much better frame of mind if I forego CNN et. al, and stick to music.
As I’ve listened to the Sinatra and Symphony stations until I know the play list, I’ve recently moved to 60s on 6.
I’m not sure I’ll ever tire of that one, and once in a while they surprise me with a song I’ve never heard.
That’s saying a lot for a kid who had his blue transistor radio with the single ear phone glued to his head for nearly a decade!
But, once in a while they do – and the other day they played a song called I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman by Whistling Jack Smith.
All I can say is this must have come out when I was in Mexico that summer, ‘cause I totally missed it. And to be honest, I could have lived without it.
Whistling Jack Smith was born John O’Neill in Stanley, County Durham, England in 1926. He passed on in 1999.
He was “in demand” for his tenor singing and whistling skills. He was also a trumpeter, was self-taught, and could sight-read music – which is a gift! Starting his musical career in a dance band, he was drafted to India to entertain the officers of the British Army, and upon returning to England was a member of the Four Ramblers.
In the 1960s he was a regular on British Television.
His Kaiser Bill song was a top five single. He recorded it for a set fee, never received a royalty, and never got billing for the song on the air.
As a matter of fact, when he first saw the song performed on the telly, he realized it was his whistling played while an actor mimed along.
But, all was not lost, Whistling Jack Smith went on to whistle the theme to Clint Eastwood’s The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly which was written by Ennio Morricone for the Spaghetti Western.
He also sang the theme song for the American TV series, Wagon Train.
He, his wife, and their four daughters lived in Ilford, Essex.
Here’s his version complete with the “mimer.”
Honestly, I don’t know why this didn’t catch on! I mean really, what else did we have to listen to in the 1960s?