A Novelty No More: “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron” Hitmakers The Royal Guardsmen Finally Get Serious After 45 Years With Spectacular New Anthem For America
Until now, only The Royal Guardsmen’s closest friends and colleagues were privy to the band members’ private frustrations about being perceived as nothing more than a novelty band. Over the years, the Ocala, Florida-based group has worked hard to shed this image and prove to the world they are serious and highly-skilled musicians. Unfortunately, their past efforts to accomplish that goal resulted in little change. But as the saying goes, “every dog has its day” and The Guardsmen may be in for a whole new level of respect and success thanks to their aptly-titled current single, “Alive and Well.”
The stirring, patriotic composition was co-written by Luanne Hunt and Dana C. Lamb and will be released on the band’s label Star Creek Records in early April. Its timely lyrics convey the message that despite the turmoil here in America and around the world, every citizen still holds the key to hope and the power to recover.
“This tune holds the promise of better days for every single person on the planet,” said Randolph Michaud, CEO of Star Creek Records. “To my knowledge, there are no other songs of this magnitude out there right now. What a great gift The Guardsmen have given to society. It’s truly a voice for the people.”
Back in 1968 during The Guardsmen’s heyday, the band hoped to be the voice of their generation when they were presented with songwriter Dick Holler’s socially-conscious anthem, “Abraham, Martin and John.” Although their lead singer Barry Winslow recorded the original demo, The Guardsmen’s label Laurie Records decided to have singer Dion record the final version. The tune went on to become a major hit, reaching No. 4 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart.
“All of us were crushed,” said Billy Taylor, keyboardist for The Royal Guardsmen. “To this day, we have no idea why Laurie Records took the song away from us. We do feel it would have given the public a new perception of our talents, which was what we wanted more than anything.”
These days, The Guardsmen mostly desire an opportunity to connect with their fans in a fresh and meaningful way. Taylor says “Alive and Well” couldn’t be a more perfect song for the group to be re-introduced to the general public.
Holler, who attended the recording session for the group’s new song, also believes in its potential to strike a chord with the masses.
“With every playback, it got better and better,” said Holler, writer of “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron.”
In 1966, “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron” put The Royal Guardsmen on the fast track to International stardom when it became a No. 2 hit on Billboard. The song went on to sell several million copies and has been certified Platinum by the R.I.A.A. Other chart-toppers by the band include: “Snoopy’s Christmas,” “Baby Let’s Wait,” “Airplane Song” and “I Say Love.”
The Royal Guardsmen’s original lineup consisted of Taylor (keyboards), Bill Balogh (bass), Chris Nunley (lead vocals), Barry Winslow (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), John Burdett (drums) and Tom Richards (lead guitar). Richards died of a brain tumor in 1979 and was replaced by Pat Waddell, who is still with the group today. Taylor, Nunley and Balogh also remain, along with drummer Randy Adams.
“Alive and Well” is available at iTunes, Amazon and other online retailers. For The Guardsmen’s latest news, tour dates and album releases, log on to: www.theroyalguardsmen.com.