The Fossil Records
After a long hiatus, I’m relaunching this blog. If this is your first time here, this blog explores the influence of palaeontology and the fossil record on popular (or not so popular) music. Feel free to explore the archives, where we’ve previously covered pterosaurs and prog rock, Australian new wave, dinosaur sex, and Marc Bolan, among others.
We’ll start back with the oldest music that we’ve covered on the blog to date, pretty much Palaeozoic in the timeline of pop culture. The Piltdown Men were an instrumental rock band, somewhat in the vein of The Shadows, who emerged from Hollywood in the beginning of the 1960s. Led by Ed Cobb (who would later write the Northern Soul classic Tainted Love), the band featured two lead saxophonists. They were, of course, named after the infamous Piltdown Man palaeoanthropological hoax.
The Piltdown Men released seven 7” records between 1960 and 1962, with three of them reaching the UK top 20, including the 1961 EP Piltdown Rides Again. Piltdown Rides Again features four tracks including Brontosaurus Stomp and is pretty much a novelty record, but it’s enormous fun. Whereas most of their records seem to have been sold in generic plain sleeves, this one has artwork featuring three cave men and a cave woman playing music at night (one of them is wearing sunglasses despite the darkness, like a proto-Lou Reed). Brontosaurus Stomp had previously been released as a single in 1960, when it reached the US top 75, helped in part by the launch at the same time of a new cartoon called The Flintstones, although this was pure serendipity, rather than a planned tie-in.
Not much more to add. I've got lots planned for future posts: let's hope it won't be over a year until I get around to writing them...