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Bill Oddie

William Edgar Oddie (born July 7, 1941) is a British comedian, singer and ornithologist.

Bill Oddie was a key member of the performers in the cult BBC radio series I'm Sorry, I'll Read that Again and sang daft songs of his own composition in most programmes. Some of these were recorded on LPs, although Funky Gibbon was the only hit single. He was possibly one of the first performers to parody a rock song, arranging the traditional Yorkshire folk song On Ilkley Moor Bah 'Tat in the style of the worldwide Joe Cocker hit With a Little Help from my Friends. Other parody bands/artists followed in his wake such as Albertos Y Los Trios Paranoias, the Heebeegeebees, Weird Al Yankovic, the Grumbleweeds, the Popticians, Sid Kipper and The Rutles, an inspired creation of Neil Innes and Eric Idle (with input from George Harrison) who parody Beatles songs.

When Oddie began to take a satirical dig at rock songs, the music business took itself quite seriously. Other comic song writers such as Tom Lehrer, Flanders and Swan[?] and Kenneth Williams had tended to parody folk music, which presented a much easier target. Although David Bowie released one novelty song The Laughing Gnome and the Beatles themselves showed occasional bravery (eg. An Octopus's Garden), nearly all rock stars are loath to show a sense of humour in their recorded music, notwithstanding the so-called Punk Rock revolution. Most pop and rock stars seem to believe that coolness cannot co-exist with a sense of fun; a few are even prepared to admit in hindsight that their apparent meanness and publicised misbehaviour was simply a marketing ploy to attract disaffected youngsters.

Bill Oddie was the dominant member of the jovial and popular 1970s BBC television series The Goodies, in which he co-starred with two other cast-members of the radio series mentioned above. Bill has now established a reputation for himself as an ornithologist and conservation activist, whereas fellow Goodies, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden, continue careers in writing and acting. In his TV programmes, Bill exudes a genuine enthusiasm for the splendours of bird life and brings a directness and humanity to the documentary genre rarely seen since the days of Animal Magic[?], a BBC television programme hosted by Johnnie Morris[?].

Bill Oddie voiced the characters of Crow, Chief O'Reilly, Doctor Gloom, Eric and the Weatherman in the 1983 series of short animated programmes called Bananaman. Telling tales that parodied comic super-hero adventures, these also featured the vocal and writing skills of his fellow Goodies.

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