Song Of The Day 2/27/2013: The Suspicions (aka The Flying Lizards) - "The Laughing Policeman"

"The Laughing Policeman" is a novelty song, amongst the most nettlesome ever made, that was performed by British music hall pioneer Charles Penrose under the pseudonym "Charles Jolly" in the 1920's. His wife Mabel wrote it, also using a false name, "Billie Grey." The song was so successful that the Penroses built a cottage industry on endless follow-up songs featuring laughing protagonists, such as "The Laughing Typist" and "The Laughing Xylophone." Now David Bowie's most infamous song -- well, it doesn't exactly make sense, but at least now I understand the oppressive conditions under which it was made.

Cut to 1980: Deconstructionist electronic cover band The Flying Lizards, who gave us those famous interpretations of Barrett Strong's "Money" and James Brown's "Sex Machine," recorded their own dubbed-out, deranged cover of "The Laughing Policeman." They gave it to their label, Virgin, but Richard Branson's gang wasn't having any of it. So Arista Records put it out instead. But since Virgin had rights to their name, the Flying Lizards had to release "The Laughing Policeman" under, you guessed it, yet another pseudonym: The Suspicions.

Enjoy. Don't sue me.

(Fun fact: Unbelievably, every source I have checked confirms that the vocalist on this song is one Kit Hain. She and Flying Lizards member Julian Marshall actually had some big pop chart success in the UK with this transatlantic yacht-rock effort, under the name, wait for it, Marshall Hain. This song missed the US Top 40 by three notches.)
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