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Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen

Album: Snoopy Vs. The Red BaronReleased: 1966Charted:
2
8
  • This is a novelty song about the imaginary World War I antics of Charlie Brown's pet beagle in the comic strip Peanuts. It spawned three sequels: "The Return of the Red Baron," "Snoopy's Christmas," and "Snoopy for President." Of the three, "The Return of the Red Baron" is the only one that hit the Hot 100 (#15), but "Snoopy's Christmas" became a seasonal favorite. Learn more about Snoopy and the real Red Baron in the Song Images.
  • There really was a Red Baron. His name was Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (Baron Von Richthofen), and just like the lyrics state, he had 80 confirmed kills as a fighter pilot in World War I. In the song, he meets his demise when Snoopy shoots him down in a dogfight, but in real life, he died when his plane crashed in France.
  • The German muttering as the beginning roughly translates to: "We will now sing together the song of a pig-headed dog, and our beloved Red Baron."

    The band's singer Chris Nunley came up with this part and did the vocal. He was studying German in college at the time.
  • Like all of the band's Snoopy songs, this was written by their producer Phil Gernhard and Laurie Records staff songwriter Dick Holler.
  • Originally known as The Posmen, The Royal Guardsmen formed in Ocala, Florida, where they earned a deal with Laurie Records after developing a live following in the area.

    The band was comprised of:
    Barry Winslow (vocals, guitar)
    Chris Nunley (vocals)
    Tom Richards (guitar)
    Bill Balough (bass)
    Billy Taylor (organ)
    John Burdett (drums)

    The "Royal Guardsmen" name came from a model of amplifier made by Vox called the Royal Guardsman. They took the name because it sounded British, which gave them the illusion of being part of the British Invasion.
  • In 1975 Charles Schultz told author David Manning White, "We threatened to put a stop to (the record) until we were included in the success." The band never met Snoopy's creator, though Chris says, "We heard through our label (Laurie) and producer that Charles Schultz liked our songs."
  • This song went to #2 US the last week of 1966. It was held out of the top spot by The Monkees song "I'm A Believer."
  • The Royal Guardsmen didn't set out to become Snoopy troubadours. Their first single was "Baby Let's Wait" (written by Lori Burton and Pam Sawyer), but it went nowhere. When this song became an unexpected breakout hit, further Snoopy songs followed - made possible in part because while the Red Baron is shot down at the end of this song, we never see the crash.

    The band did have some minor hits with non-Snoopy material. "Airplane Song (My Airplane)" (#46) and "Wednesday" (#97) charted in 1967. The following year, "I Say Love," written by band members Bill Taylor Barry Winslow, made #72. "Baby Let's Wait" became their last Hot 100 hit when it was re-released and made #35.
  • Lead vocals on this and the other Snoopy songs were done by Barry Winslow, who played guitar in the group. This put their singer Chris Nunley in the position of gamely acting out the songs ("look... up in the sky...") during performances. Winslow told us, "I really wanted to split the chores with Chris, but the
    label said no."
  • This was a huge hit in Australia, where it went to #1 for five weeks in 1967. The last two weeks of that year, "Snoopy's Christmas" was the #1 song in that country.
  • The Royal Guardsmen reunited in 2005 to play some gigs. The following year, they released "Snoopy vs. Osama," which finds the cartoon beagle hunting down Osama bin Laden.

    Barry Winslow became a Contemporary Christian artist, releasing an album called Transition in 2003.
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Comments: 27

Thanks for the write up Carl. Most appreciated. Merry Christmas to all.Barry - Missouri
On Christmas day, 1966, "Snoopy vs. The Red Baron" by the Royal Guardsmen peaked at #2 (for 4 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on December 11th and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
And for all four weeks it was at #2, the #1 record was "I'm A Believer" by the Monkees...
But in a twist of fate; on February 18th, 1967 it reached #1 (for 5 weeks) in Australia and the record it knocked out of the top spot was, "I'm A Believer"!!!
On Feb. 25th, 1967 they entered the Top 100 with "The Return of the Red Baron", it reached #15.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
another sequal was posted in 2006 entitled "snoopy vs. osama"Pat - Manchester , Nh
chomper do you know he had 80 aerial victories. When he downed Sparks he sent him cigars. He crashed on April 21, 1918 was given a full military honors by RAF was orginally buried in France in 1925 moved to Invalidenfriedhof in Berlin and again moved by his brother to Weisbaden. Very respected man by his friends & foes alike.R - Detroit, Mi
OK , you all know who Snoopy is from the Peanuts comic strips and animated cartoon specials ; but just who is the "Red Baron" ? Answer: The "Red Baron" real name was Manfred von Richthofen (Chomper - Franjkin County, Pa
An older neighbor boy played the 45 single for me in 1966 when I was in the first grade. I really liked it. And the next year my mother bought the Royal Guardsmen record album for me and my brother and sister. We used to go to the local skate-a-rink alot when I was in the second grade. You could request songs. And the DJ would spin the discs. I always requested this song. The short middle jam sounded real tuff when you were a kid. I still like it. I bought the Royal Guardsmen cd years ago. They have some good songs on there.Wayne - Salem, Va
I like this song because it uses modern things with old things.Anthony - Newton Falls, Oh
The German words at the beginning of Snoopy vs The Red Baron are:

Achtung!
Jetzt wir singen zusammen die Geschichte
Über den schweinköpfigen Hund
Und den lieben Red Baron

The direct translation is:

Attention
Now we sing together the history
About the pork-headed dog
And the dear Red baron
Chris - Tucson, Az
Karl, the entire Lyrics can be found at smartlyrics.com, including the german that is spoken at the beginningSarah - West Plains, Mo
I don't. But I don't really know where on the net to find ANY sheet music whatsoever. But what I'm on here to talk about is that the Red Baron caused countless casualties on Britain. How ruthless! This oldie has a sequel called "The Return of the Red Baron". It's about how the Red Baron returns for some vengeance on Snoopy. After that is when Part III comes out: "Snoopy's Christmas". It mentions the Red Baron's repentance. You fellas should read its songfacts as well.Andy - B'ham, Al
Does anyone know where I can get the sheet music for "Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron" in the US? My daughter's 7th grade band loves it and would like to learn it. I would need it for a whole marching band. Clarinets, flutes, you name it. I tried ordering it from here, but it won't let me since I'm in the US. Thanks.Natasha - Cleveland, Oh
hey Jason if he is ur father does it piss him off that you commented the wrong snoopy vs. the red baron song? You dumbassKris - Wichita, Ks
Hey Jason........ Since your dad was the keyboard player, do me a favor? Ask him what they were saying in german at the begining of the song. All I knew in german was tha ACTUN! partKarl - Akron, , Oh
I remember listening to this song as a small boy (6 yrs old) laying on a cold wood floor in my family's 900 sq ft house on Long Island on an old RCA record player I would play it over and over for hours. However I also had a small plastic Snoopy figure that I loved and would carry with me everywhere. My neighbor a German lady named Mrs. Wilkinson knitted a hat, sweater and scarf for him that same year. It was a great Christmas.Brett - San Antonio, Tx
I love this song. Maybe it's because I am accustomed to hearing the engines of old cars that sound like World War I aircraft.Darrell - Eugene
Bill Taylor's (the keyboard player from the original Guardsmen) is my Dad. It's still amazes me that this Christmas song still gets air time every year. Even though I got the music DNA from my father, I doubt I'll have a song that will remain part of our lives for quite a while. It makes me more proud every year when I still hear this song! It's a shame they couldn't get past the Snoopy theme too much, because they are all excellent musicians. By the way, they have done some reunion gigs, and they've been great!!!Jason - Jacksonville, Fl
On the album Snoopy vs. The Red Baron, each of the three Red Baron songs (I don't consider "Snoopy for President" to be part of the group) was preceded by a "Story of..." piece - a dialog meant to tell the background of the story (ie what lead up to the events where the song starts). Although these story tracks are rarely heard on the radio, Collectibles Records released the original album on CD paired with Snoopy and his Friends. The CD is available on Amazon.com.Michael - Cincinnati, Oh
hey floyd in syracuse, check out Johnny horton if you like songs with historical reference, am not just talking 'bout "Battle of New Orleans" eitherDshdwg - Daphne, Al
What a memorable song about one of the greatest comic strip characters of all time. The only non-Snoopy themed song The Royal Guardsman had a hit with was Baby Let's Wait.Howard - St. Louis Park, Mn
Captain arthur Brown, the man credited with killing the red baron, was nicknamed "snoopy"Thomas - St. Charles, Mo
In early 1968 The Royal Guardsmen changed their tune (no pun intended) and recorded a really nice, smooth change-of-pace song entitled "I Say Love". A little like something The Critters, The Lovin' Spoonful or The Innocents would have done. And while one of their contemporary groups at the time The 1910 Fruitgum Company scored big with their c-o-p "1,2,3 Red Light", the Guardsmen's "I Say Love" didn't stay around that long. That's a shame 'cause it's always been one of my favorites from that time period.Jonnie - St. Louis, Mo
Why can't there be more fun pop songs like this with light references to history?Floyd - Syracuse, Ny
One nice bit is the homage paid in the bridge to the McCoys' version of "Hang On Sloopy."Keith - Slc, Ut
FYI: The Royal Guardsmen are playing a reunion concert in Florida on Oct. 2. It is the first time the original members (Winslow, Balogh, Taylor, Nunley) have played together since '78 or '79. If interested in details, email me at gary.corsair@thevillagesmedia.comGary - Lady Lake, Fl
and I also like the Christmas sequel... not really the other ones thoughJessa - Brampton, On, Canada
I've always liked the Royal Guardsmen. Many people my age don't know who they are. I just want them to know that they are not forgotten. Thanks for having Snoopy fly against the Red BaronTrisha - Milton, Fl
My 6th grade class used to play this during friday-afternoon music.........Bad memories........Cute song though.Erik - Davis, Ca