Spike Jones (December 14, 1911 - May 1, 1965) was a popular musician and comedian. He was born in Long Beach, California.
His father was a Southern Pacific railroad agent. He got his nickname by being so thin that he was compared to a railroad spike. At the age of eleven he got his first set of drums. As a teenager he played in bands that he formed himself. A chef in a railroad restaurant taught him how to use adapted pots and pans, forks, knives and spoons as musical instruments. He frequently played in theater pit orchestras. In the 1930s he joined the Victor Young Band and thereby got many offers to appear to radio shows including the Al Jolson Lifebuoy Show, Burns and Allen (with George Burns) and Bing Crosby's Kraft Music Hall. In 1940, he had an uncredited part in the film Give Us Wings, and in 1942 as a hillbilly in Pass the Biscuits, Mirandy. He joined up with vocalist Del Porter and performed in Los Angeles, gaining a cult following. By 1941 the band included violinist Carl Grayson. Other band members were George Rock (voice and trumpet), Doodles Weaver (voice) and Red Ingle (voice). They became his backing band The City Slickers. Saxophonist Ed Metcalfe performed with Spike Jones for a while. Jones's wife was the singer Helen Grayco, who performed on some of his radio shows. They recorded five records for Victor's label "Bluebird" before receiving their big break.