1973 Cheech & Chong – Basketball Jones Featuring Tyrone Shoelaces
Perhaps the most well-known stoner comedy act came about when Cheech Marin moved to Canada to avoid the US military draft in the late 1960s. Once he arrived, he met Canadian Tommy Chong, and the two began working together as a comedy act.
The pair started out doing standup routines. They recorded some of them, and their 1971 first album contained the infamous Dave’s Not Here sketch.
That Winter they followed up with a Christmas single, Santa Claus and His Old Lady. The single reached #3 on the Billboard Christmas chart and gained them a lot of airplay on stations that were not willing to play their other material.
Their second album in 1972 did not generate any hit singles when it came out in 1972.
Their third album included the song Basketball Jones Featuring Tyrone Shoelaces. The song was a parody of a recent top forty single by The Brighter Side of Darkness, Love Jones. The recording used an impressive lineup of musicians who were coincidentally working in the same recording studio and simply joined in on the recording: George Harrison, Nicky Hopkins, Jim Keltner, Carole King, Billy Preston, Tom Scott, and Klaus Voormann. In addition, Mama Michelle from the Mamas and Papas and the Blossoms provided vocals as the cheerleaders on the record. The single peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 in 1973.
After the success of that single, radio stations began playing a single that had been released from their second album and totally ignored by radio, Sister Mary Elephant (SHUDD-UP!). Their record company re-released that single, and it reached #24 on the Hot 100 in late 1973.
The pair’s biggest successes turned out to be the series of films they began producing in 1978.
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