He is no longer a lumberjack

Remember the Lumberjack Song?

Sadly, the man who wrote it is no longer with us.

Fred Tomlinson, who has died aged 88, was the founder and leader of the Fred Tomlinson Singers, who provided vocals for Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Two Ronnies and other television shows.

For some 20 years from the late 1960s Tomlinson’s singing, playing, arranging, compositional and even whistling skills were frequently called upon for musical items in television programmes.

Among other things he co-wrote the Python team’s Lumberjack Song (his singers played the Mounties in the original sketch and the Vikings singing Spam! Wonderful Spam! in another famous skit) and had a starring role as a soloist on The Two Ronnies in the St Botolph Country Dance Team’s rendition of Bold Sir John.

It was often left to Tomlinson to complete other people’s musical ideas. The comedians and script writers would come up with suggestions for a musical sketch and then say: “We’ll leave the rest to Fred.”

There’s more at the link.

For those (surely very few) who don’t know Monty Python’s Spam sketch:

And here’s the full Spam song in all its choral glory, with lyrics:

Thanks for the music and the laughter, Mr. Tomlinson. Rest in peace.



  1. One thing to remember: In the Monty Python shows both song and sketch were integral. Like most other synergy endeavors you can't have either one or the other—both have to go together to make a whole.

  2. A sad passing, who do we have now that can replace him? From the parrot sketch… he has shuffled off his mortal coil and joined the choir invisible!

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