Certain Songs #1200: Monty Python – “Spam Song”

Album: Another Monty Python Record
Year: 1971

I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t believe it when I discovered that I didn’t have to wait until they made a film or our local PBS station did another round of re-runs, but that I could buy actual record albums of Monty Python material!

Even better, instead of being just audio versions of the sketches people might have seen on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, everything on their non-soundtrack albums was recorded specifically for the albums.

That said, their first album was basically recorded in mono before a live studio audience, and definitely suffered from that approach. So the — I almost just now wrote “band” — Pythons took the reins of production for their second album, and produced an utter comedy masterpiece called Another Monty Python Record. Produced by Terry Jones and Michael Palin, Another Monty Python Record used the studio to great effect in the same way that their American comedic contemporaries like Firesign Theater or Cheech & Chong were using it.

In any event, Another Monty Python Record features several classic tracks: “Death of Mary, Queen of Scotts,” “Abattoire,” and an unexpected ongoing runner of “Spanish Inquistion.” And of course, “Spam Song,” which piled on the absurd concept of a diner that served everything with Spam by having a group of Vikings singing its praises.

Spam
Spam
Spam
Spam
Spam
Spam
Spam
Spam (Lovely Spam!)
Spam (Wonderful Spam!)
Spam (Lovely Spam!)
Spam (Wonderful Spam!)
Lovely Spam!
Lovely Spam!
SPAM!
SPAM!
SPAM!
SPAM!

Now some of you might be wondering if I’m cheating here in order to write about Monty Python, who are comedians, not musicians. Though when I saw them at the Hollywood Bowl in 1980 — got that in!! — the atmosphere was like a rock concert. Because how is “Spam Song” not really a comedy skit as opposed to a song? Especially since the best moment is:

Graham Chapman: “I DON’T LIKE SPAM!!!”
Eric Idle: “Shhhhst dear, don’t make a fuss. I’ll have your Spam. I love it!”

And the answer is “of course I’m cheating!” Duh. Did I mention I saw Monty Python at the Hollywood Bowl? That said, the Pythons did release “Spam Song” as a 7″ single, and it’s one of the few songs I’ll ever write about that has a long afterlife in popular culture for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the original recording, given that “spam” as become the default noun and verb for any kind of repeated unwanted communication in the digital age.

“Spam Sketch” & “Spam Song” from Another Monty Python Album

“Spam” from Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV Show

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