It's Christmas at CHIRP Radio, and we're looking for a cure for the common carol. Instead of bending to the will of the average 24-hour holiday muzak stations, we're spending the season unearthing a bunch of winter-approved tunes that you probably haven't heard for a while (or maybe even ever). Today: Tchaikovsky rocks out.
B. Bumble and the Stingers - "Nut Rocker" (1962)
Before the cash-strapped orchestras of the world gave us gems like The String Quartet Tribute to Nirvana, the cross-genre appreciation ran in the opposite direction. When they weren't lending their talents to vocal acts at Rendezvous Records, the label's house band (which included esteemed session guitarist René Hall and future Wrecking Crew members Earl Palmer and Plas Johnson) scored some minor hits by adding a little rock grit to familiar classical tunes under a variety of disposable names. A few of these came out under the name B. Bumble and the Stingers, including "Nut Rocker," a rent-party-ready arrangement of The Nutcracker's "March of the Wooden Soldiers." Piano player Al Hazan sits behind the keys as the fictitious B. Bumble, heating up the ivories to the point that an actual nutcracker would combust upon contact with them. The song went all the way to #1 in the UK, succeeding despite the BBC's contemporaneous restriction on songs that altered or made light of the best-loved classics. This is all a long-winded way of saying that, the next time someone suggests popping Arthur Fiedler on the stereo fo the Nth time this season, queue this up and boogie instead.