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Bric-a-Brac: K is for...

King’s Singers, The

The imperial phase line-up in 'swing' modeThis vocal sextet, formed by a bunch of like-minded choral scholars from King’s College, Cambridge, has been on the go since 1969, but it’s imperial phase was undoubtedly from the mid-’70s to the early ’80s, when their ‘impeccably manicured vocal blend’ was, quite simply, everywhere. There was the traditional Carols from Kings on Christmas eve night. There were the amusingly plummy a capella covers of Good Vibrations and Life on Mars. There were guest spots with Ronnie Corbett, Nana Mouskouri and the Royal Variety Performance. There were ads for De Kuyper cherry brandy. There was The Frog Chorus. And of course, there was the vesper-like cathedral chant instructing us to retune our radios to receive the BBC frequencies which ‘will be chang-ed at this time’. Amazingly given all this activity, there have only been twenty members in forty years.



  1. Lee James Turnock

    June 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    And they all copped a pie in the face in Milligan’s ‘There’s A Lot Of It About’.

  2. THX 1139

    June 5, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    Impeccable is right, have you ever heard their experimental work? They sound like space aliens, it’s quite amazing what they could do with their voices, though I doubt the current incarnation bothers with the weird stuff anymore.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    June 11, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    Of their time, rather like Swingle 11, Harvey and the Wallbangers and Buzz and the Telephone Operators, whimsical and sometimes amusing vocal groups who appeared on numerous entertainment shows and I’m sure there was some tie in with Richard Stilgoe.

  4. Droogie

    June 11, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    I also recall a posh vocal combo that came a bit later called Cantabile who were like a poor man’s Kings Singers. There’s also a crossover genre of posh musical comedy acts who weren’t very funny, like Instant Sunshine, Fascinating Aida, Kit And The Widow etc.

  5. Richardpd

    June 11, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    The Fred Tomlinson singers were another vocal ground that seemed to turn up on many different things.

    One of the most memorable was as some of Mounties in Monty Python when they did the Lumberjack song.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    June 16, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    @ Droogie, Instant Sunshine will be remembered for that one off Christmas holidays 1981 show called Discovery Of The Source Of The M1, where they tried to find out where the M1 started. Kind of surreal and rather boring.

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