June 07, 2012

Mason Williams - Classical Gas (1970)

Born in 1938, this man has been a comedy writer for both The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and Saturday Night Live (briefly in 1980). He is also a noted poet, a lyricist, and most popularly remembered for his hit instrumental track heard below. He wrote songs for The Kingston Trio, released an album with Mannheim Steamroller, and “discovered” comedian Steve Martin by hiring him (and paying him out of his own pocket) as a writer for the Smothers Brothers’ show.

Originally released in 1968 on The Mason Williams Phonograph Record, this song won three Grammy Awards in 1969. It was often played by Williams on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which contributed to its popularity. Since, it has been re-recorded and re-released many times over the years. This particular version of the song was re-constructed by Williams to be a solo acoustic guitar piece and appeared on his 1970 album Handmade. Personally, I prefer this acoustic guitar version over the original.

album art

Mason Williams - Classical Gas (1970)

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  1. Thanks for posting "Classical Gas", Zolland. It's one of my all-time favourite pop instrumentals.

    If anyone's interested in the full-on orchestral version, I can heartily recommend Glen Campbell's magnificent live version from 2001 (and another one from 1977).

    What a tune.

    1. Hey, you're welcome! Thank YOU for posting the link to that 2001 version - it's great! The '77 version wasn't too shabby, either.