Muthas of invention: five genre-defining artists you may never have heard of
5. Bob McFadden – The Beat Generation (1959)
First of all, the beatnik panic of the 50s has got to be one of the most amusing social outrages of recent history. Rock’n'roll, with its leather, drag races, boozing, pranks, and sexed-up sounds; now that’s something to keep parents awake all night. The beats were mostly into poetry, reefer, and bongos. Seems pretty quaint to me.
Still, the squares were freaked out about the beats, and there’s plenty of anti-beatnik novelty songs from that era. However, Bob McFadden’s The Beat Generation stands out for a couple reasons. For one, it’s the original version of Blank Generation, the classic nihilist punk anthem ostensibly written by Richard Hell and released on Love Comes In Spurts, the 1977 album by his band, Richard Hell And The Voidoids. Secondly, it’s as snotty as its uncredited remake.
Bob McFadden was a voiceover actor known mostly for his work in 60s animated cartoons like Cool McCool and Milton The Monster. He was also the voice of Frankenberry, the wildly popular monster-themed breakfast cereal from the 70s. But in 1959, Bob – along with future hippy poet Rod McKuen – released an album of novelty songs called Songs Our Mummy Taught Us. Most of the songs are monster themed, but it also included this tongue-in-cheek anti-beat screed. Like, far out, cats!