The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“Cocktails for two” by Spike Jones and his city slickers

A maestro of satire, Spike Jones and his City Slickers found fame in the 1940’s by murdering the classics. Jones’s formula was simple—to laugh at the song, and with it. He masterminded satires of popular tunes. For “Cocktails for Two”, Jones created an earworm-ish comedic tornado of ridiculous sound effects. Sam Coslow, a prolific songwriter and friend of Spike Jones, wrote “Cocktails for Two” in 1934. Originally a celebration of the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition in the United States, the song was a staple of the Big Band era. “Cocktails for Two” got Spiked in 1945.

Spike Jones found massive success through his satire—but how did Coslow feel about the rendition? Put simply, he hated it, calling it a “noisy, slapstick, grotesque novelty.”

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