The Wombles (band)


The Wombles (band)

"The Wombles" were a pop group featuring musicians dressed as the characters from children's TV show The Wombles. Songwriter and producer Mike Batt wrote the series' theme tune, and went on to perform and produce a number of highly successful novelty albums and singles as "The Wombles".

When the "band" performed on stage or television, the characters were always played by experienced musicians in full Womble costumes. This often including session players such as guitarist Chris Spedding (complete with his trademark white Gibson Flying V) as Wellington and drummer Clem Cattini as Bungo, both of whom had played on Batt's recordings. Batt usually played the part of Orinoco. The costumes were sweltering in the heat of television studios. On one edition of Top of the Pops, the costumes were filled by members of Steeleye Span.

The "band" released several LPs and singles. Four albums went gold and four of the singles reached the Top 10. Several of the songs were included in the soundtrack of the 1977 film "Wombling Free".

The Wombles were featured in a West End theatrical show at the Shaftsbury theater during the 1974 Christmas season. The music and vocals were performed by Scottish musical duo Dave Kelly and Ray McRiner.

"The Wombles" were the most successful act of 1974, with albums in the UK charts for more weeks than any other act. [cite book|author=Phil Hardy and Dave Laing|title=Encyclopedia of Rock|pages=38|publisher=Schirmer Books|date=1988|isbn=0029195624]

LPs (Peak UK album chart position)cite book|title=The Complete Book Of The British Charts: Singles and Albums|author=Neil Warwick, Jon Kutner, Tony Brown|year=2004|publisher=Omnibus Press|isbn=1844490580|pages=1203-1204]
*1973: "Wombling Songs" (19)
*1974: "Remember You're A Womble" (18)
*1974: "Keep On Wombling" (17)
*1975: "Superwombling"
*1975: "The Best of The Wombles - 20 Wombling Greats"
*1976: "The Best Of The Wombles- 20 Wombling Greats (re-issue) (Warwick/CBS)"
*1978: "Wombling Free - Original Soundtrack"
*1978: "The Wombles Christmas Party"
*1983: "The Wombles Christmas Album"
*1989: "Wombling Hits"

Singles (Peak UK singles chart position)
*1974: "The Wombling Song"/"Wombles Everywhere" (4)
*1974: "Remember You're A Womble"/"Bungo's Birthday" (3)
*1974: "Banana Rock"/"The Womble Square Dance" (9)
*1974: "Wombling Summer Party"/"Wimbledon Sunset"
*1974: "Minuetto Allegretto""/"Womble Burrow Boogie" (16)
*1974: "Remember You're A Womble""/"Wellington Womble" (reissue)
*1974: "Wombling Merry Christmas"/"Madame Cholet" (2)
*1975: "Wombling White Tie And Tails"/"The Wombling Twist" (22)
*1975: "Superwomble"/"The Orinico Kid" (20)
*1975: "Let's Womble To The Party Tonight"/"Down At The Barber Shop" (34)
*1976: "The Womble Shuffle"/"To Wimbledon With Love"
*1976: "Rainmaker"/"Wombling in the Rain"

CDs (Peak UK album chart position)cite book|title=The Complete Book Of The British Charts: Singles and Albums|author=Neil Warwick, Jon Kutner, Tony Brown|year=2004|publisher=Omnibus Press|isbn=1844490580|pages=1203-1204]
*1997: "Underground, Overground - The Ultimate Wombles Collection"
*1998: "The Best Wombles Album So Far" (22)
*2000: "The Wombles Collection"
*2005: "The Very Best Of The Wombles"

CD singles
*1998: "Remember You're A Womble"/"Remember You're A Womble (Dance Mix)"
*1998: "The Wombling Song"/"The Orinoco Kid"
*2000: "I Wish It Could Be A Wombling Merry Christmas Every Day" (with Roy Wood)

Batt's success with the Wombles (they were the band with most weeks in the singles charts in the UK in 1974) tended to overshadow his genuine songwriting talents.

Parodies

The BBC Four comedy program "Don't Watch That, Watch This" showed a spoof clip, purporting to be from "TOTP2", of the Wombles performing "Anarchy in the U.K." live in June 1988. The scrolling caption during the song read "During the early eighties the Wombles reformed as a funk soul fusion. But the project soon failed and the group disbanded, only to come together again as the Dixie Minstrel Wombles. In 1988 the original line up were reunited for the third time to record their version of this Sex Pistols classic.... for a Pot Noodle commercial. Later released as a single it reached 57 on the charts."

External links

* [http://www.mikebatt.com/wombles_furrystory.html Furry Story - A note by Mike Batt]
* [http://www.chrisspedding.com/session/wbl/wbl.htm Chris Spedding - Wombles index]

Refences


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