THE ROYAL GUARDSMEN Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron/Snoopy And His Friends (1966/1967)

Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron (1966/2001)
Snoopy And His Friends (1967/2001)
Isn’t It Funny How Crap From The Old Days, While Still Crap, Somehow Eventually Got To Be At Least Fun Over The Years… While Crap From Today Is Still Just Crap.

Some of this is garage band rock, not far removed from the first generation of it, though, the band’s originality and personality is pretty much non-existent. As discussed on a previous post, the hit song that kick-started the Snoopy/Red Baron franchise, “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron,” is a boilerplate novelty tune… and a dead ringer for the style, sound – and even look – of 70s popster Nick Lowe. See for yourself on the video below. The debut album, recorded before the hit took off, sports the working definition of filler, but that doesn’t mean some of it’s not entertaining. “Li’l Red Riding Hood” has a pseudo-Animals vibe, while “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence,” has camp appeal, having been covered by the likes of Henry Kaiser, who has used the tune as a jamming vehicle for years. The well-traveled teenage combo club rock of “Jolly Green Giant” features Zappa-esque spoken word interruptions calling out various… you guessed it, vegetables (broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts) in a bored teenage drone voice. “Road Runner” & “Bo Diddley” are your typical easy to learn garage rockers. “Bears” & “Peanut Butter” sound like reworked R&B novelty numbers. As an unashamed novelty act, the band had to generate more material to feed the franchise beast, so Snoopy And His Friends is filled with more million-selling hopefuls with the Snoopy/Red Baron/Christmas themes. It all helped the band to remain on the charts for a few years, but their artistic future was already etched in stone. Amazon‘s got it. UPDATE: Check comments for what The Royal Guardsmen are up to these days.

Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron (2:41)
Liberty Valance (2:39)
Bears (2:08)
Peanut Butter (2:04)
The Battle Of New Orleans (2:35)
Baby Let’s Wait (2:40)
Bo Diddley (2:00)
Road Runner (1:58)
Sweetmeats Slide (2:12)
Alley-Oop (2:34)
Li’l Red Riding Hood (2:41)
The Jolly Green Giant (2:04)
The Story Of Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron (1:44)
Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron (Edit) (2:38)

The Story Of The Return Of The Red Baron (1:50)
The Return Of The Red Baron (2:45)
The Story Of Snoopy’s Christmas (3:05)
Snoopy’s Christmas (3:11)
I Say Love (2:23)
Down Behind The Lines (3:30)
It’s Sopwith Camel Time (2:31)
So Right (To Be In Love) (2:21)
Airplane Song (My Airplane) (2:44)
It Kinda Looks Like Christmas (2:15)


  • Willard
    August 4, 2011 - 10:49 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • Shriner
    August 4, 2011 - 13:39 | Permalink

    Huh — never seen that before. The band looks like a Turtles-wannabe (except that Flo was actually a singer.) Live vocal performance on that was surprisingly good for whatever show that was from.

  • Willard
    August 4, 2011 - 18:23 | Permalink

    Nah… all local bands looked like that back then.

  • Anonymous
    August 4, 2011 - 18:30 | Permalink

    I’d never thought about the Nick Lowe comparison but, man, that’s spot on.

    • Willard
      August 4, 2011 - 19:00 | Permalink

      I never did either. Had the record as a kid, even lived in the same hometown. Then I watched the video last year on YouTube and was stunned how Lowe it was.

  • August 4, 2011 - 19:23 | Permalink

    I love this stuff and I actually would download it but I’m a diabetic.

    • Willard
      August 4, 2011 - 20:22 | Permalink

      It’s not all that sweet. Some of it is just interestingly run of the mill.

  • Miles
    August 4, 2011 - 20:46 | Permalink

    i’m not entirely certain that i’d agree with you, willard. crap is still crap whether it’s fresh crap or old crap. either way it still smells. nostalgia is the ingredient that deceives us into believing that the stale stuff is somehow more acceptable today. i hope you’re not planning on reviving ‘winchester cathedral’ or ‘the freddie’ as well. i must give you points however for the elasticity of mind to make the nick lowe comparison. it’s a stretch, but a very creative one.

    • Willard
      August 4, 2011 - 20:55 | Permalink

      Well… I did say crap was still crap, so we’re not disagreeing much. Except for calling the Nick Lowe comparison a stretch. If that guy in the Royal Guardsmen (whoever he is) had been big, Lowe would have to answer for his actions.

  • Miles
    August 4, 2011 - 21:53 | Permalink

    maybe it’s a matter of my just not wanting to admit it (the lowe comparison, that is). i went back and listened again, and you’re right — there is an uncanny similarity. i suppose that in my mind, to admit so would somehow be devaluing lowe’s remarkable and vastly superior work.

    • Willard
      August 4, 2011 - 22:05 | Permalink

      Well, you gotta remember… I loved this single as a kid. Owned it. I wised up to them real quick, but the single stuck, despite its manufactured appeal. I would argue, however, that the single is worthy of praise. Sure, my bias is hanging out, but as a single its damn fine, if simplistic. But, isn’t that most of what was so fresh about the (70s) New Wave in the first place? Did it prime me for instantly liking Nick Lowe (which I did) 10 years later? Can’t say. Told you my Nick Lowe piss spot story, right? Rockpile was (I think) opening for Blondie, and the band was a few minutes late and running out on stage. Lowe had a piss spot on his pants – like he just zipped up and hit the stage. I couldn’t tell if he was covering up his crotch the first few songs or if he always played that way. Hee-hee

  • Willard
    August 4, 2011 - 22:23 | Permalink

    PS: Miles, the only reason I wrote all that crap about the crap is because when I wrote it, it read like something Gahan Wilson might have written (now that’s a stretch). So I left it, whether it made any sense or not, just to fullfill my DennisMiller Obscure Reference Quota (DORQ).

  • Mylene
    August 5, 2011 - 09:04 | Permalink

    In Australia radio bleeped the word ‘bloody’ out. When kids bought the single they preferred the bleeped version so Festival Records reissued it bleeped.

  • pete
    August 6, 2011 - 00:56 | Permalink

    “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” was one of Gene Pitney’s masterpieces; the homage here is appreciated, but they can’t touch the original. And the “Battle of New Orleans” is unfortunate. But this does approach guilty pleasure status. And the single really was hilarious, at the time, and therefore for some of us still is.

    • Willard
      August 6, 2011 - 07:37 | Permalink

      Pitney’s influence was before my time, so I’m forced to reference later devotees, and I always though “The Battle Of New Orleans was unfortunate by anybody, but that’s me. Thanks Pete.

      • pete
        August 6, 2011 - 10:42 | Permalink

        Pitney played on the Stones first album (and was I think the first person to have a hit with a Jagger/Richard song). I think that’s one of the most bizarre pop-music collaborations ever.

  • steve
    August 6, 2011 - 16:30 | Permalink

    Yes – I owned the the first album. I also listened to the Monkees. A child’s gateway drug to psychedelia. Now if you would post my Soupy Sales records I may just return to the womb.

  • shmoopatties
    August 6, 2011 - 16:35 | Permalink

    Man, I played the crap outta that second one (‘Friends’) and then forgot all about it for the next 40 years. Thanks for jogging the memory and the eardrums. Wonder what the 6 year old will think of this…probably the same thing she thinks about the Peanuts TV specials on DVD…not much. Come to think of it, I had paperback books lined up of Peanuts compilations as a wee one, but reading the reruns in the paper today I cant help but think “these are powerfully unfunny; how did this ever become popular?”. Then I remember how much I liked it back then, buying the books and records like this one. Hmmmm…

  • philo
    August 6, 2011 - 22:09 | Permalink

    Pitney played piano on “Little By Little”

  • August 17, 2011 - 07:18 | Permalink

    Man, do I remember these two albums! Cranking the Disney-styled Mickey Mouse turntable at a loud volume in my equally-enthralled cousins’ bedroom – I must have been five or six. I also enjoyed the front cover (2nd album) done by Charles M. Schulz. To me, since a child, has always been music and art.

    Thanks, Willard!

  • Willard
    August 23, 2011 - 10:34 | Permalink

    It’s just a novelty song aimed at kids. When I was a kid, I bit.

  • September 1, 2011 - 10:24 | Permalink

    Hi Willard,

    I am the manager/producer for The Royal Guardsmen and wanted to let you know that the band just released a brand new single called “Alive and Well” through my label, Star Creek Records. It’s definitely of a more serious nature than the “Snoopy” stuff. As a matter of fact, the band tried very hard to break that novelty mold back in the 60s/70s. It was very disappointing for them to not have the opportunity to show their true talents and become a legitimate rock and roll band.

    Their compelling story about how they were pigeonholed as a novelty band by their label is being told through a new documentary called “Burned By A Beagle, – The True Story of The Royal Guardsmen. It premieres on Oct. 8 at a theater in Florida.

    To view the video of “Alive and Well,” you can type it in the search engine on Youtube.
    More info about the band is at

    Thanks for your awesome and insightful column and for writing about The Guardsmen. We all appreciate it.

    All the best!

  • Willard
    September 1, 2011 - 11:59 | Permalink

    That’s very kind, thanks. Especially considering that we took a few easy shots at a working band that won a lot of ears (including these) back in the day. I know the band was originally from Florida (where I lived back in the day), and I see by the website the premiere will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 8 at The Marion Theater in, Ocala, Florida (50 S. Magnolia Avenue). Here’s the “Alive And Well” video you mentioned… (though it wasn’t identified by name). And a link to the promo for the film (it won’t post here for some reason). The single (along with some other merch) is available at Many thanks again.

  • Dave
    December 5, 2011 - 11:10 | Permalink

    I had the original album that the first “snoopy” single came from, and it is neither one of these…wish I could still find that one somewhere…

  • December 11, 2015 - 14:04 | Permalink

    All pop music was directed at kids back then. The People, The Fireballs, Monkees, Sam the Sham………….and to a large extent it still is, so dissing this as piffle is no more true for them as it would be for the Rolling Stones. All pop groups were kid’s music. I threw shit at Jimi Hendrix along with other Monkees’ fans at the Seattle auditorium. Hendrix was great but he wasn’t fun back then. He couldn’t write a pop song, in fact, not being able to read music………..he didn’t write anything. He had no finger on the pulse of anything………..oh that psyche sound and amp smashing? Chas Chandler. pop music was working class music……..unlike hendrix with his pretensions of royatly. pop music doesn’t kill itself. it’s music to keep going. these guys are still around……………hendrix doesn’t live today. point made?.

  • Willard
    December 11, 2015 - 14:24 | Permalink

    Point made? No.

    There’s a difference between music aimed at kids (and it’s true that “most” is) and “novelty” music, which is – by design – not just aimed at kids, but at a specific point in time, commercially engineered to last for only a few months before the next topical novelty takes its place. Those are two completely different categories of music.

    As for Hendrix, the “pretensions of royalty” you reference is only YOU falling for the hype. He was a working R&B blues musician, marketed to a new culture by Chandler. It was the most renown guitarists of the rock era (Townshend, Clapton, others) who anointed his abilities worthy (BEFORE he became famous). How you can state “he couldn’t write a pop song,” is puzzling. “Fire” is as simplistically pop as it gets (just not “commercial”). That you suggest “he didn’t write anything,” is just plain uniformed. Not being able to read music is such a meaningless notion (The Beatles in ’64), it’s embarrassing you even mention it. And whatever point you’re trying to make about Hendrix being dead, when other people are still alive, is , I’m afraid, a point that exists only in your own mind.

  • furrball
    April 26, 2016 - 08:38 | Permalink

    For those keeping track of such things, “Snoopy And His Friends” was actually their *third* album. The real second album was (what else?) “Return Of The Red Baron” (which also contained the hits “Airplane Song (My Airplane)”, written by… wait for it… Michael Martin Murphey and Boomer Castleman!; and “Any Wednesday” (a darn good slice of 60s pop no matter HOW you slice it!)).

  • Leave a Reply