Tuesday Night Christmas Music Byte
“Nut Rocker” was a single for American instrumental ensemble B. Bumble and the Stingers which went to number 1 in the UK singles chart in May 1962.
The recording was made by the house band of session musicians at Rendezvous Records in Los Angeles, including drummer Earl Palmer and guitarist René Hall, who had already had hits in the US charts with rocked-up versions of “In The Mood” (1959, credited to the Ernie Fields Orchestra); and “Bumble Boogie” (1961), which was credited to B. Bumble and the Stingers, produced by Kim Fowley, and featured pianist Al Hazan.
In 1962, Fowley secured the copyright to an arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s “March of the Wooden Soldiers” from his ballet The Nutcracker, and took this to local entrepreneur and pianist H. B. Barnum. Barnum recorded it under the name “Jack B. Nimble and the Quicks” on the small Del Rio label. However, when Rod Pierce of Rendezvous Records heard it, he convinced Fowley that his label could do a better version with their own band. A new recording was quickly arranged, but on the day of the recording, Freeman didn’t show, apparently due to heavy partying the night before. In his place, guitarist and arranger René Hall rushed pianist Al Hazan into the Rendezvous office, which was rigged up as an improvised studio. According to Hazan, “Rod decided to record the first take while I was still trying to practice the piece with the other musicians. Because I was so rushed to learn ‘Nut Rocker’, I was not happy at all with my performance on that first take. However, in spite of my asking Rod to let me do it over again, he said he liked it just fine the way it was.” Released as “Nut Rocker” in February 1962, the record went to # 23 in the US and # 1 in the UK.
The song is a fast, lively track that is purely instrumental and was the band’s biggest hit. It has been featured in many commercials, movies and television programmes such as Butcher Boy (1998), Big Momma’s House (2000) and ITV’s Heartbeat in 2006.
It was reissued in 1972 in the UK, and again made the charts (No. 20, week ending July 8 1972). It was also a live favourite when performed by prog-rockers Emerson, Lake & Palmer – the main keyboard used on their version was not a piano but a Clavinet. In 2009 Trans-Siberian Orchestra released a version of Nut Rocker, featuring Greg Lake, on their album Night Castle.
“Nut Rocker” became identified with the NHL’s Boston Bruins ice hockey team as the intro song for telecast Bruins games for two decades. Ironically, tonight’s video-clip is of Emerson, Lake & Palmer performing “Nut Rocker” at the Montreal Forum, home of the Boston Bruins’ greatest rival, the Montreal Canadiens.
Posted on December 22, 2009, in Songs, Uncategorized and tagged Boston Bruins, Christmas, Christmas Carols, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Montreal Canadiens, Nut Rocker, Songs. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.