In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. In scat singing, the singer improvises melodies and rhythms using the voice as an instrument rather than a speaking medium. Though scat singing is improvised, the melodic lines are variations on scale and arpeggio fragments, stock patterns and riffs, as is the case with instrumental improvisers; as well, scatting incorporates musical structure. All of Ella Fitzgerald's scat performances of "How High the Moon", for instance, use the same tempo, begin with a chorus of a straight reading of the lyric, move to a "specialty chorus" introducing the scat chorus, the scat itself. Will Friedwald has compared Ella Fitzgerald to Chuck Jones directing his Roadrunner cartoon—each uses predetermined formulas in innovative ways; the deliberate choice of scat syllables is a key element in vocal jazz improvisation. Syllable choice influences the pitch articulation and resonance of the performance.
Syllable choice differentiated jazz singers' personal styles: Betty Carter was inclined to use sounds like "louie-ooie-la-la-la" while Sarah Vaughan would prefer "shoo-doo-shoo-bee-ooo-bee". The choice of scat syllables can be used to reflect the sounds of different instruments; the comparison of the scatting styles of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan reveals that Fitzgerald's improvisation mimics the sounds of swing-era big bands with which she performed, while Vaughan's mimics that of her accompanying bop-era small combos. Humor is another important element of scat singing. Cab Calloway exemplified the use of humorous scatting. Other examples of humorous scatting include Slim Gaillard, Leo Watson, Bam Brown's 1945 "Avocado Seed Soup Symphony", in which the singers scat variations on the word "avocado" for much of the recording. In addition to such nonsensical uses of language, humor is communicated in scat singing through the use of musical quotation. Leo Watson, who performed before the canon of American popular music drew on nursery rhymes in his scatting.
This is called using a compression. The 1958 song "Witch Doctor" by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks, employs the technique of humorous scatting in its chorus of nonsense syllables, another one is Will Stamper with Emphasis on Scat. Ella Fitzgerald drew extensively on popular music. For example, in her 1960 recording of "How High the Moon" live in Berlin, she quotes over a dozen songs, including "The Peanut Vendor", "Heat Wave", "A-Tisket, A-Tasket", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes". Though Louis Armstrong's 1926 recording of "Heebie Jeebies" is cited as the first song to employ scatting, there are many earlier examples. One early master of ragtime scat singing was Gene Greene who recorded scat choruses in his song "King of the Bungaloos" and several others between 1911 and 1917. Entertainer Al Jolson scatted through a few bars in the middle of his 1911 recording of "That Haunting Melody". Gene Green's 1917 "From Here to Shanghai", which featured faux-Chinese scatting, Gene Rodemich's 1924 "Scissor Grinder Joe" and "Some of These Days" pre-date Armstrong.
Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards scatted an interlude on his 1923 "Old Fashioned Love" in lieu of using an instrumental soloist. Harry Barris, one of Paul Whiteman's "The Rhythm Boys", along with Bing Crosby, scatted on several songs, including "Mississippi Mud", which Barris wrote in 1927. One of the early female singers to use scat was Aileen Stanley, who included it at the end of a duet with Billy Murray in their hit 1924 recording of "It Had To Be You". Jelly Roll Morton credited Joe Sims of Vicksburg, Mississippi, as the creator of scat around the turn of the 20th century. Here is a transcription of a conversation between Alan Lomax and Jelly Roll Morton where Morton explains the history of scat: Lomax: Well, what about some more scat songs, that you used to sing way back then? Morton: Oh, I'll sing you some scat songs; that was way before Louis Armstrong's time. By the way, scat is something that a lot of people don't understand, they begin to believe that the first scat numbers was done, was done by one of my hometown boys, Louie Armstrong.
But I must take the credit away. The first man that did a scat number in history of this country was a man from Vicksburg, Mississippi, by the name of Joe Sims, an old comedian, and from that, Tony Jackson and myself, several more grabbed it in New Orleans. And found it was pretty good for an introduction of a song. Lomax: What does scat mean? Morton: Scat doesn't mean anything but just something to give a song a flavor. For an instance we'll say: Morton once boasted, "Tony Jackson and myself were using scat for novelty back in 1906 and 1907 when Louis Armstrong was still in the orphan's home". Don Redman and Fletcher Henderson featured scat vocals in their recording of "My Papa Doesn't Two-Time No Time" five months prior to Armstrong's 1926 recording of "Heebie Jeebies", it was Armstrong's 1926 performance, the turning point for the medium. According to Armstrong, when he was recording "Heebie Jeebies", soon to be a national bestseller, with his band The Hot Five, his music fell to the ground.
Not knowing the lyrics to the song, he invented a gibberish melody to fill time, expecting the cut to be thrown out in the end, but that take of the song was the one released. The story is believed to be apocryphal. Armstrong served as a model for Cab Calloway, whose 1930s scat solos inspired Gershwin's use of the medium in his Porgy and Bess.
A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Academics have argued that categorizing music by genre is inaccurate and outdated. Music can be divided into different genres in many different ways; the artistic nature of music means that these classifications are subjective and controversial, some genres may overlap. There are varying academic definitions of the term genre itself. In his book Form in Tonal Music, Douglass M. Green distinguishes between form, he lists madrigal, canzona and dance as examples of genres from the Renaissance period. To further clarify the meaning of genre, Green writes, "Beethoven's Op. 61 and Mendelssohn's Op. 64 are identical in genre – both are violin concertos – but different in form. However, Mozart's Rondo for Piano, K. 511, the Agnus Dei from his Mass, K. 317 are quite different in genre but happen to be similar in form."
Some, like Peter van der Merwe, treat the terms genre and style as the same, saying that genre should be defined as pieces of music that share a certain style or "basic musical language." Others, such as Allan F. Moore, state that genre and style are two separate terms, that secondary characteristics such as subject matter can differentiate between genres. A music genre or subgenre may be defined by the musical techniques, the style, the cultural context, the content and spirit of the themes. Geographical origin is sometimes used to identify a music genre, though a single geographical category will include a wide variety of subgenres. Timothy Laurie argues that since the early 1980s, "genre has graduated from being a subset of popular music studies to being an ubiquitous framework for constituting and evaluating musical research objects". Among the criteria used to classify musical genres are the trichotomy of art and traditional musics. Alternatively, music can be divided on three variables: arousal and depth.
Arousal reflects the energy level of the music. These three variables help explain why many people like similar songs from different traditionally segregated genres. Musicologists have sometimes classified music according to a trichotomic distinction such as Philip Tagg's "axiomatic triangle consisting of'folk','art' and'popular' musics", he explains that each of these three is distinguishable from the others according to certain criteria. The term art music refers to classical traditions, including both contemporary and historical classical music forms. Art music exists in many parts of the world, it emphasizes formal styles that invite technical and detailed deconstruction and criticism, demand focused attention from the listener. In Western practice, art music is considered a written musical tradition, preserved in some form of music notation rather than being transmitted orally, by rote, or in recordings, as popular and traditional music are. Most western art music has been written down using the standard forms of music notation that evolved in Europe, beginning well before the Renaissance and reaching its maturity in the Romantic period.
The identity of a "work" or "piece" of art music is defined by the notated version rather than by a particular performance, is associated with the composer rather than the performer. This is so in the case of western classical music. Art music may include certain forms of jazz, though some feel that jazz is a form of popular music. Sacred Christian music forms an important part of the classical music tradition and repertoire, but can be considered to have an identity of its own; the term popular music refers to any musical style accessible to the general public and disseminated by the mass media. Musicologist and popular music specialist Philip Tagg defined the notion in the light of sociocultural and economical aspects: Popular music, unlike art music, is conceived for mass distribution to large and socioculturally heterogeneous groups of listeners and distributed in non-written form, only possible in an industrial monetary economy where it becomes a commodity and in capitalist societies, subject to the laws of'free' enterprise... it should ideally sell as much as possible.
Popular music is found on most commercial and public service radio stations, in most commercial music retailers and department stores, in movie and television soundtracks. It is noted on the Billboard charts and, in addition to singer-songwriters and composers, it involves music producers more than other genres do; the distinction between classical and popular music has sometimes been blurred in marginal areas such as minimalist music and light classics. Background music for films/movies draws on both traditions. In this respect, music is like fiction, which draws a distinction between literary fiction and popular fiction, not always precise. Country music known as country and western, hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s; the polka is a Czech dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and particular
Stefanie Powers is an American actress best known for her role as Jennifer Hart in the American mystery series Hart to Hart, with Robert Wagner, which aired for five seasons from 1979 to 1984. Powers and Wagner reunited for eight Hart to Hart TV movies in the 1990s, she is five-time Golden Globe Award nominee. Powers was born Stefanie Zofya Paul in Hollywood, although her surname was cited as Federkiewicz. In her autobiography, she says "Moje prawdziwe nazwisko to Federkiewicz", her parents divorced during her childhood. Powers was estranged from her father, whom she refers to and whose name is never mentioned in her memoir One from the Hart, in which she refers to the "tension and unhappiness created by my father's presence", she remained close throughout her life to her mother, born Juliana Dimitria Golan in New York to parents of Polish descent. Her mother, who died in Los Angeles from pneumonia at 96 years old, would be known late in life and in local obituaries as Julie Powers. Stefanie Powers had an older brother, Jeffrey Julian Paul, as well as a half-sister, Charlene Groman.
Powers was a cheerleader at Hollywood High School. In 1965, using the alias Taffy Paul, she made an obscure independent film The Young Sinner. Powers appeared in several movies in the early 1960s in secondary roles such as the thriller Experiment in Terror, If a Man Answers, McLintock!. She played a schoolgirl in Tammy Tell Me True, Bunny, the police chief's daughter, in Palm Springs Weekend, she appeared in the 1962 hospital melodrama The Interns and its sequel The New Interns in 1964. In 1965, she played opposite Tallulah Bankhead in Die! Die! My Darling. In 1966, her "tempestuous" good looks led to being cast in the starring role as the passive and demure April Dancer, in the short-lived television series The Girl from U. N. C. L. E. A spin-off of The Man from U. N. C. L. E. Shortly after the series' debut, she was featured on the cover of TV Guide; the article mentions her "117-pound frame is kept supple with 11 minutes of Royal Canadian Air Force exercises every morning... Unlike her fellow U. N. C. L. E.
Agents, the ladylike April is not required to kill the bad guys. Her feminine charms serve as the bait, while her partner Noel Harrison provides the fireworks." The series lasted for only one season, airing from September 16, 1966 to April 11, 1967. In 1967, Powers appeared in Warning Shot with David Janssen, her 1970s films include Herbie Rides Again and The Magnificent Seven Ride. She was a guest star on the Robert Wagner series It Takes a Thief in 1970; the two went on to co-star in the popular Hart to Hart series nine years later. Before the Hart to Hart success, she starred in The Feather and Father Gang as Toni "Feather" Danton, a successful lawyer, whose father, Harry Danton, was a smooth-talking ex-con man, it ran for a half-season. Powers' many guest-roles on other popular TV shows include: Lancer, McCloud, The Mod Squad, Kung Fu, The Rockford Files, Three for the Road, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, McMillan & Wife. Powers appeared in these shows long after she signed a contract with Universal Studios in 1970.
Coincidentally, her longtime friend and Hart to Hart series' star Wagner signed a contract with Universal, but did not guest-star on more shows than Powers did. In 1977, Powers played Sally Whalen, in the 6-part television miniseries Washington: Behind Closed Doors, produced by Paramount Television, it is based on John Ehrlichman's book The Company, a novel inspired by the author's time with the Nixon administration. The series had Powers cast with a strong cast, including Cliff Robertson, Jason Robards, Robert Vaughn, Lois Nettleton and John Houseman. In 1978, Powers starred with Paul Clemens and Brian Dennehy in the CBS made-for-television, A Death in Canaan, directed by Tony Richardson; this TV movie was a dramatization of the nonfictional account of Connecticut townspeople, rising to the defense of a local teenager charged with the mutilation murder of his mother in September 1973. Powers portrayed a freelance‐writer who brought attention to the original case. Clemens, son of actress Eleanor Parker, made his film acting debut here.
The TV-movie marked the American TV directing debut of Richardson, was Emmy Award-nominated as Outstanding Special of the 1977-78 season. In 1978, Powers performed with Stacy Keach as the leads in the stage play Cyrano de Bergerac, in a season at the Central Theater in the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. Directed by Rae Allen, the production was part of an 8 month Long Beach Theater Festival program; the stage production was intended to have a transfer to Broadway theater, New York after its California season, the bi-coastal run was not extended due to the 1978 New York City newspaper strike of 88 days, which hindered all theater advertising and reduced box-office sales of the new fall season. In 1979, Powers starred with Roger Moore, Telly Savalas, David Niven, Sonny Bono and Elliott Gould, in the British adventure feature film Escape to Athena, in which a group of Anglo-American prisoners of the Germans scramble to liberate themselves and some Greek art treasures; the production was filmed on location in the Dodecanese islands of Greece in 1978.
The film is Powers' last theatrical feature film to date. Powers became most known as a television star for her role as Jennifer Hart, in th
Jeffrey Lewis is an American singer-songwriter and comic book artist. Lewis grew up on the Lower East Side, he attended State University of New York at Purchase, graduating in 1997 with a degree in Literature. His Senior Literary Thesis was on the comic book Watchmen. Lewis lectured on the topic of Watchmen at the Institute For Cultural Studies at the University of Leuven, Belgium, in 2000, the text of his lecture was published in the book The Graphic Novel, edited by Jan Baetens, in 2001. Starting in 2000, he spent about two years living in Austin, playing open mic nights, working odd jobs and distributing his autobiographical comics to local coffee shops. Several of his musical influences have been acknowledged in his songs such as "Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror", "The History of The Fall" and "The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song", concerning the song by Leonard Cohen. Lewis' lyrics are complex and literate combining a nihilistic world-view with a hopeful message and sharp wit. Growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, his songs are highly informed by his home surroundings, with songs name-dropping places such as Williamsburg, the FDR Drive and the East River.
Lewis is regarded as part of the antifolk movement, foremost because he was one of the many bands and performers who played in the 1990s at New York's SideWalk Cafe and its biannual antifolk festivals and open mic events. His music possesses certain traits of a perceived antifolk style - a downbeat self-deprecating humor, an off-kilter singing style, a mixture of acoustic and'punk' songs which feature themes of everyday occurrences and feelings. Lewis himself does not mind the'antifolk' tag: "I think it's a cool title; the fact that no one knows what it means, including me, makes it kind of mysterious and more interesting than saying that you're a singer/songwriter or that you play indie rock."After being signed by the British record label Rough Trade in 2001, Jeffrey Lewis released his first official album The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane. That year, Lewis was visited by Kimya Dawson while living in Austin, Texas. Over the week she stayed there, they wrote five songs; these songs were re-recorded with a full band and released by K Records under the moniker "The Bundles," on an album of the same name, in 2010.
In 2003 Rough Trade released the album It's the Ones Who've Cracked That the Light Shines Through, credited to Jeffrey Lewis with Jack Lewis and drummer Anders Griffen. His third Rough Trade record and Eastern Songs, was released in the UK in November 2005 and in the US in September 2006. Most of Lewis's albums include his brother, Jack Lewis, who wrote or co-wrote and sang and played bass on a number of the songs. In October 2007, Rough Trade released 12 Crass Songs, a Jeffrey Lewis album consisting of songs written by the British punk band Crass, reworked to match Lewis's antifolk style, he has performed and collaborated with Kimya Dawson of The Moldy Peaches as well as Diane Cluck. Some of his hand-drawn comics appear in the cover art of his CD releases. In June 2008 Jeffrey Lewis with his brother Jack were the support act for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks in Europe. Other well-known acts that Lewis has performed shows or whole tours with include Devendra Banhart, Jarvis Cocker, Black Dice, Adam Green, Thurston Moore, the Fall, Kimya Dawson, Beth Orton, Frank Black, the Fiery Furnaces, Daniel Johnston, Scout Niblett, the Mountain Goats, Dr. Dog, the Moldy Peaches, Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Wooden Wand, the Cribs, Herman Dune, Los Campesinos, Roky Erickson, Super Furry Animals.
The New York Times has published graphic works. The New York Times online Op-Ed page "Measure For Measure" hired Jeffrey Lewis to write a number of short essays on the topic of songwriting, some of which he drew in comic book form. All went up on The New York Times website at intervals from 2008 to 2013. Lewis has created a number of illustrated historical songs sung while flipping through accompanying books of color drawings, including ten such pieces which are in use by The History Channel on their website. In November 2011 The New York Times ran a feature article on Jeffrey Lewis in the Arts section of November 23, written by Ben Sisario. Lewis published a comic strip in The Guardian newspaper in London, it was entitled "What Would Pussy Riot Do?" and it was printed on the occasion of a new release of a single with the same title. In a January 2018 "MusicMakers" interview with Adafruit, Lewis announced he was working on numerous new projects, including "Writing a new issue of my comic book series, mastering an album I recorded of covers of Tuli Kupferberg songs, mixing an album I recorded in collaboration with Peter Stampfel, working on writing and recording new songs with my band for my own next album.
Remastering and repackaging my old 2005 album “City & Eastern Songs” for a deluxe vinyl re-issue." Jeffrey has his own comic book series titled Fuff. In March 2009, he designed the cover to the sixth issue of Bearded magazine. Comics Reflections on Tomorrow thus a yesterday Flower Shall Doom The Worldwide Comix Scavenger Hunt vol 1 Reflections #2 Trip to Key West 1999 European Travel Diary Jeff's Austin Diary Come to My Show Guff # 1 Guff # 2 Guff # 3 Fuff # 4 Fuff # 5 Fuff # 6 Fuff # 7 Fuff # 8 Fuff # 9 Fuff # 10 Fuff # 11 The Art of Tou
A Night at the Opera (film)
A Night at the Opera is a 1935 American comedy film starring the Marx Brothers, featuring Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, Walter Woolf King. It was the first of five films the Marx Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after their departure from Paramount Pictures, the first after Zeppo left the act; the film was adapted by George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, Al Boasberg from a story by James Kevin McGuinness, it was directed by Sam Wood. A smash hit at the box office, A Night at the Opera was selected in 1993 for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally or aesthetically significant", it is included in the 2007 update of AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies, at number 85. In Milan, Otis B. Driftwood, business manager for wealthy dowager Mrs. Claypool, has stood her up and is having dinner with another woman in the same restaurant; when she discovers him seated directly behind her, Driftwood joins Mrs. Claypool, introduces her to Herman Gottlieb, director of the New York Opera Company dining at the restaurant.
Driftwood has arranged for Mrs. Claypool to invest $200,000 in the opera company, allowing Gottlieb to engage Rodolfo Lassparri, the "greatest tenor since Caruso". Backstage at the opera house, chorister Ricardo Baroni hires his best friend Fiorello to be his manager. Ricardo is in love with the soprano, Rosa Castaldi, being courted by Lassparri. Driftwood arrives and finds Lassparri attacking Tomasso, his dresser, who knocks Lassparri unconscious by hitting him over the head with a mallet. Fiorello appears and identifies himself as the manager of the "greatest tenor in the world". Driftwood, mistakenly thinking, signs Ricardo to a contract. Driftwood, Mrs. Claypool, Rosa and Gottlieb all set sail from Italy to New York aboard an ocean liner. After bidding farewell to Rosa at the pier, Ricardo and Tomasso stow away inside Driftwood's steamer trunk. After being discovered, Driftwood tries to get the three of them to leave, as he is expecting a rendezvous with Mrs. Claypool. Fiorello refuses to go until they've eaten, Driftwood's small stateroom is crowded with an assortment of people.
Lassparri spots the three stowaways among the immigrants on the ship, they are caught and thrown into the brig. They escape with help from Driftwood and are able to sneak into the country by assuming the identities of three famous bearded aviators, who are traveling aboard the ship. During a hero's welcome in New York, the stowaways' true identities are discovered and they hide out in Driftwood's hotel room, pursued by police sergeant Henderson. Meanwhile, Ricardo is reunited with Rosa after climbing in the window of her hotel room. Ricardo has an altercation with Lassparri, which results in both Rosa and Driftwood being fired from the opera company by Gottlieb; the boys decide to seek revenge by sabotaging the opening night performance of Il trovatore including the abduction of Lassparri, which forces Gottlieb into substituting Ricardo and Rosa in his place. The audience prefers Baroni over Lassparri, the latter is booed and hit with an apple after he escapes and attempts to return to the stage.
The film ends with Driftwood and Fiorello attempting to negotiate another contract, as Rosa and Ricardo sing an encore. This scene, one of the most famous and funniest comedy scenes of all time, was written by legendary gag man Al Boasberg. Famously eccentric, Boasberg typed up the finished scene tore the pages into tiny pieces and tacked them to his ceiling, it took the brothers hours to cut and paste the scene back together. Driftwood plans a rendezvous with Mrs. Claypool in his stateroom, he finds out how small it is, that he, his steamer trunk, the bed fit in it. Driftwood discovers that Fiorello and Ricardo have stowed away in his steamer trunk and discarded his clothes. Fiorello insists on eating. Driftwood calls a steward and orders dinner; this continues until Fiorello and Tomasso each have ordered about a dozen hard-boiled eggs and Driftwood has ordered about everything else—including coffee to sober up some stewed prunes. This is just a set-up for the famous "Stateroom Scene", in which a total of 15 people crowd into Driftwood's tiny cabin.
Fiorello and Tomasso have to hide out in the room while a parade of people walk in, asking to either use the cabin, or to perform their regular duties. Crammed into this little space at the end of the scene are Driftwood, Tomasso, two cleaning ladies who make up the bed, a manicurist, a ship's engineer and his fat assistant, a girl passenger looking for her aunt, a maid and four waiters with trays of food. All of the foregoing tumble out into the hallway; the contract scene between Driftwood and Fiorello: In an interview with Richard J. Anobile in The Marx Brothers Scrapbook, Groucho said he was so appalled by an early draft of the script—which was written by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby—that he screamed, "Why fuck around with second-rate talent, get Kaufman and Ryskind!" At the suggestion of producer Irving Thalberg, the film m
Oingo Boingo was an American new wave band, formed by songwriter Danny Elfman in 1979. Oingo Boingo emerged from a surrealist performance art theatrical troupe, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, founded in 1972 and led by Danny Elfman's brother Richard Elfman. Oingo Boingo were known for their high energy live concerts and experimental music, which can be described as mixing rock, ska and world music; this eclectic mix of styles would influence bands as varied as Fishbone, Nirvana and Mr. Bungle; the band's body of work spanned 17 years, with various line-up changes. Their widest-known hits include "Only A Lad", "Dead Man's Party" and "Weird Science"; as a rock band, Oingo Boingo started as a ska and punk-influenced new wave octet, achieving significant popularity in Southern California. During the mid-1980s, the band changed line-ups and adopted a more pop style, until a significant genre change to alternative rock in 1994. At that point, the name was shortened to Boingo and the keyboardist and horn section were dropped.
The band retired after a farewell concert on Halloween 1995, for which it reverted to the name Oingo Boingo and readopted the horn section. The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, formed in late 1972 by Richard Elfman, was a musical theater troupe in the tradition of Spike Jones and Frank Zappa, performing an eclectic repertoire ranging from Cab Calloway covers to instrumentals in the style of Balinese gamelan and Russian ballet music; the name was inspired by a fictional secret society on the Amos'n' Andy TV series called The Mystic Knights of the Sea. Most of the members performed in whiteface and clown makeup, a typical show contained music ranging from the 1890s to the 1950s, in addition to original material; this version of the band employed as many as 15 musicians at any given time, playing over 30 instruments, including some instruments built by band members. While this Richard Elfman-led incarnation of the group performed live, it did not issue any recordings; as Richard Elfman's interest shifted to filmmaking, he passed leadership of the band to younger brother Danny Elfman, who had returned from spending time in Africa playing violin and studying percussion instruments.
They gained a following in Los Angeles, appeared as contestants on The Gong Show in 1976, winning the episode they appeared on with 24 points out of a possible 30. The Gong Show presentation included a purple dragon and a gaseous rocket-man. In 1976, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo released a doo-wop styled novelty single about kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst entitled "You Got Your Baby Back". Both this track and the B-side "Ballad of the Caveman" were sung by Danny Elfman; the band featured in the 1976 Martin Brest film Hot Tomorrows performing the songs St. James Infirmary and 42nd Street, they appeared as extras in hallucinatory sequences in the 1977 movie I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. When the group began to move away from its cabaret style towards a more pop/rock format, Richard Elfman made a film based on the band's stage performance, Forbidden Zone, released in 1980 and filmed in black and white with a cast made up of band members and friends. In one scene, Danny, as Satan, sings a version of Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher" with modified lyrics integrated into the plot of the film.
In another, Richard sings the 1920s novelty song "The Yiddishe Charleston". The movie attained cult status and provided a springboard for the film and music careers of Richard and Danny. Various reasons were given for the band's transformation from musical theater troupe to rock band, they included cutting costs, increasing mobility, exploring new musical directions such as Danny's interest in ska and a desire to focus on the music rather than theatrics. The shift was inspired by Danny reconnecting with pop music after becoming a fan of the 2 Tone ska revival bands, the Specials, the Selecter, XTC. For some early gigs, the band used the shortened name The Mystic Knights; the name Oingo Boingo was settled in 1979, at which point their early song "I'm Afraid" appeared on the Rhino Records Los Angeles rock and new wave'up and coming' compilation, L. A. In; that same year, the band issued a limited print promo-only EP record, the Demo EP, intended for distribution to radio stations and recording industry A&R representatives, to help land a contract.
The effort paid off as the record caught the attention of I. R. S. Records, who released a revised version of the EP in 1980; the band had now coalesced as an octet: Danny Elfman on rhythm guitar. Early success for the group came in 1980 with the song "Only a Lad" from the eponymous EP; the song aired in Los Angeles on KROQ-FM and complemented the station's then-unusual new wave format. Following regional success of "Only a Lad", the group released its first full-length album in 1981 titled Only a Lad. Oingo Boingo appeared in the 1981 film Longshot, performing their unreleased song "I've Got to Be Entertained"; the band, recording for A&M Records, released albums in 1982 and 1983. Although their sound was termed as new wave and compared to bands such as Devo and Wall of Voodoo, Oingo Boingo defied easy categorization, their use of exotic percussion, a three-piece horn section, unconventional scales and harmony, surreal imagery became a gen