Monty Python Lumberjack Song
Image by SplitShire from Pixabay

Monty Python Lumberjack Song

we have been unfortunate to announce that on 17 July 2016, singer and choral arranger Fred Tomlinson, the founder and leader of this Fred Tomlinson Singers, who provided vocals for “Monty Python’s Flying Circus, ” passed away aged 88.

On behalf of the Pythons, Michael has written here about Fred:

Fred Tomlinson and his singers were an indispensable part of the Python shows. They’d the perfect attitude for Python – a willingness to accomplish, wear and sing such a thing provided that it absolutely was various and outrageous. Fred insisted on high criteria, and much work and rehearsal moved into making sure some thing exceptionally absurd was also incredibly polished.

Fred had been never ever rattled and always prepared to help you whenever possible. When Terry Jones and myself had completed the words to the Lumberjack Song, I remember calling Fred late one night and tunelessly performing a kind of cheery version of the track along the phone. By after that early morning Fred had written the score towards the Lumberjack tune, when we performed it their vocalists had been the anchor for the chorus. The way they played the Mounties ended up being definitive, and reprised later on by such as Harry Nilsson, George Harrison and Tom Hanks (during the show for George)

Fred caught the character of Python perfectly. And then he adored difficult. I’m yes we-all have nothing but pleased memories of a great work-mate. Our sympathies and condolences go out to their family.

Obituary (kindly written by James Gent)

On Wednesday June 27, 2016, composer and arranger John Altman (Monty Python’s Life Of Brian) announced on Twitter that singer and choral arranger Fred Tomlinson “who contributed plenty to Monty Python”, had recently died.

In collaboration with Michael Palin and Terry Jones, he composed those evergreen comedy earworms The Lumberjack tune and Spam Song, as recited in school playgrounds, sixth form common rooms, pupil union bars and pubs along the united kingdom throughout the last five decades.

His all-male singing group, the Fred Tomlinson Singers, appeared onscreen in numerous symptoms of Monty Python’s Flying Circus whenever a musical number had been required, whether associated Michael Palin’s jaunty singalong about life as a cross-dressing lumberjack, extolling the virtues of Spam completely Viking regalia, or carrying out madrigals about Marcel Proust.

Eric Idle fondly recalled the Fred Tomlinson Singers’ determination to adjust to the silly, surreal realm of Monty Python in a June 2014 meeting with Uncut: “We had this excellent singing group labeled as The Fred Tomlinson Singers that would come in and happily climb up into Welsh drag for The Money tune and record Sit On My Face for people.” On another event, Idle noticed that Fred Tomlinson’s share to Python had been that “he introduced north song to Python.”

Fred Tomlinson came to be in 1927 in the Lancashire mill city of Rawtenstall. He originated in a music family members – their daddy, Fred Tomlinson MBE, founded the Rossendale Male Voice Choir in 1924. Fred’s elder-brother Ernest Tomlinson, was a successful composer of light orchestral music, of which minimal Serenade might be their most popular composition.

“we had been all musical, because my father ended up being extremely music; we don’t know where he got it from because he had been just a typical factory worker, but he was an excellent conductor. Dad had been a total classic conductor, brilliant.”

“We all sang inside the choirs, to begin with. My mom was musical besides, originated in a musical family members. Everyone decided to go to Manchester Cathedral, and there have been all three of us in choir – very first time they had all three brothers. So, music’s for ages been around.”

Fred started initially to develop his skill set as a master arranger under George Mitchell, the creator and bandleader associated with the monochrome Minstrel Show, as part of the George Mitchell Glee Club and soon after the George Mitchell Choir for BBC Radio. One significant wedding had been on Tuesday 20 April 1964, whenever BBC2 was released and what had for ages been merely ‘BBC television’ became BBC1 so that you can accommodate this new arrival.

It absolutely was in 1969 that Tomlinson discovered himself within forefront of an innovative new trend of comedy, when his arranging abilities had been called upon in-house for a new late night BBC comedy show, Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

The exact procedure of just how Fred found the Pythons is lost within the mists period, once the Pythons’ production manager, Roger past, mused in 2013: “I don’t understand where the Fred Tomlinson Singers came from, We have no idea. I do believe it was like the way the BBC would always use equivalent bloke just who published signature tunes, Ronnie Hazelhurst. They’d this ready group plus they liked him, so they said, we’ll have him again, get Fred into try this. I think the BBC produced all of them, or Ian (MacNaughton) produced all of them from somewhere.”

Nonetheless, for the episode in question – ‘The Ant, An Introduction’ – Michael Palin and Terry Jones wrote a design about a homicidal barber but discovered on their own needing an ending, and imagined up a ditty to put it up.

Terry Jones recalled the genesis with this design in a 1999 interview with Tellyspotting. “We’d written this sketch about a barber, a psychotic barber, therefore we were consistently getting somewhat stuck along with it and then we needed seriously to complete. We said to Mike, back many years ago, you would end with a song! Bit of a corny action to take, but he stated, OK, well let us compose a song! We wrote i am A Lumberjack And I’m Okay in about half an hour. I don’t know in which it originated from, but Mike and I also just smashed the outlines, just sitting truth be told there together, and arrived, and now we hummed the tune to each other, and here it had been. And we visited the club!”

It was Fred Tomlinson who was tasked with realising Palin & Jones’ ditty into one thing hummable. Fred recalls:

“from the it vividly. I acquired an audio tape from Michael, and he just sang it about, and delivered the script, also it went from there… We did the rehearsal run, then studio. Afterwards, it had been, should they needed songs – ‘Get Fred!'”