Follow us on Twitter & Facebook
Special Christmas Holiday Artist
The Royal Guardsmen
(Read about the Royal Guardsmen after the video)
The Royal Guardsmen are an American rock band, best known for their 1966 hit single "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron", "The Return of The Red Baron", and the Christmas follow up "Snoopy's Christmas".
Originally known as the Posmen, the Ocala, Florida-based sextet adopted their anglophile moniker during the British Invasion, led by The Beatles and other British artists. The group was originally composed of Bill Balough (bass), John Burdett (drums), Chris Nunley (vocals), Tom Richards (guitar), Billy Taylor (organ), and Barry Winslow (vocals/guitar). The band was managed by Leonard Stogel and Associates.
Although the Guardsmen's first single, "Baby Let's Wait", failed to reach national success, this tune reached a position of no lower than #11 according to the 12 November 1966 WYND hit parade. The group's second offering, "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron", reached #2 in the Billboard Hot 100, remained in the bestsellers for 12 weeks, and was certified gold by the RIAA in February 1967.
Since the band did not ask Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz for permission, the Canadian arm of Laurie Records refused to issue the single until the legal problems were ironed out: instead, the band recorded the thinly-disguised "Squeaky vs. the Black Knight", which was released north of the border and became a hit on at least one Canadian station. Eventually, Schulz gave his okay, and "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" was released in Canada.
Snoopy, the Red Baron, and aircraft became recurring themes in their music, though they did have some chart singles on other topics, including "Any Wednesday", "I Say Love", and the Top 40 hit "Baby Let's Wait", a re-release of their first single.
The original group split in 1969, but a band with some replacement players continued for another year. Two compilation albums and the original albums (doubled up) have been released on compact disc. Tom Richards died in 1979 and Pat Waddell became lead guitarist. Waddell with several former bands throughout Central Florida got his start at bass guitar with a local Ocala garage band "The Dawn Patrol", with Courtland (Cory) Richards, (younger brother of Tom Richards of the Royal Guardsmen) (lead vocals), Harold Rankin (rhythm guitar), Mike Driver (lead guitar), and Terry Walters (drums).
The Royal Guardsmen made a comeback in December 2006, when they released a new Snoopy song, "Snoopy vs. Osama", which became a hit on The Dr. Demento Show. Rick Cosner has been the alternate drummer since 2006, substituting for John Burdett as needed. The current band performs regularly around the United States.