Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Comparing and Contrasting: Tally Hall Vs. The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

When quirky modern rock band Tally Hall are being discussed, names like The Beatles, Weezer, Mumford & Sons, Cake and They Might Be Giants get thrown around a lot. No one can quite put a finger on their sound. This is mostly due to the fact that their sound is very uniquely their own. Even through their multi-genre first album (Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum), they managed to maintain a consistent sound and feel, which they really smoothed out for this year's Good & Evil.

Tally Hall (left to right): Ross Federman, Zubin Sedghi, Joe Hawley, Andrew Horowitz and Rob Cantor.

However, I must also throw my own two-cents worth into the mix of bands being compared to Tally Hall. From almost the first time I listened to them, they have reminded me of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

The Bonzos (left to right, top row): Neil Innes, Vivian Stanshall, "Legs" Larry Smith 
(Second row): Dennis Cowan, Roger Ruskin Spear and  Rodney "Rhino" Desborough Slater.

The Bonzos (as I will henceforth refer to them) were a quirky musical group from the 60s. Like Tally Hall, The Bonzos are quite versatile in their styles, while still maintaining a central sound. Similar to the Andrew Horowitz songs on Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum, The Bonzo's utilized lead keys (courtesy of Neil Innes) and Dixieland jazz. Some songs bordered on vaudeville, others almost parodied early Elvis, while others still slid into the heading of "mainstream rock." Several Bonzos songs even have the islander/Jamaican feel of Joe Hawley's "Banana Man."

"Banana Man" by Tally Hall

"Look Out, There's a Monster Coming" by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

The vibrant personalities in each band also make for a comparison. Tally Hall use their tie colours as nicknames, while Vivian Stanshall christened The Bonzos with nicknames like "Rhino." The Bonzos supplemented their acts with comedic interludes and short skits, Tally Hall had an amusing internet show (Tally Hall's Internet Show). Both groups seem quick on their feet with one-liners.

"The Intro and the Outro"

And whereas The Bonzos performed on British children's show (and Monty Python forerunner) Do Not Adjust Your Set, Tally Hall wrote and sang all the songs in Disney's Happy Monster Band

But perhaps the most beautiful similarity between the two groups comes from watching them perform: they both seem to be having a lot of fun playing their music.I'm not saying that Tally Hall has copied The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. The groups are very different. All I'm saying is, I think fans of one of these bands would feel right at home with the other.

Recommended Tracks:
If you enjoy:
Banana Man by Tally Hall -  Look Out, There's A Monster Coming by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
The Whole World and You by Tally Hall - Jollity Farm by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Hidden In the Sand by Tally Hall -  Hello Mabel by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

Other recommended Tally Hall tracks:

Other Recommended tracks by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band:


  1. I've never heard of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Buthey sound awesome. Also, I'm willing to bet a certain indie pop outfit that Emma really likes got their name from one of their songs? ;p

  2. You betcha! Apparently Ben Gibbard was watching Magical Mystery Tour, in which The Bonzos preform that song, and told Chris Walla that that song title would be the name of his next band. I may do a blog post on this at some point, but essentially, The Bonzos are why I started listening to Death Cab For Cutie.