The Giraffes: ’60s Rockers Who (ironically) Fell Short of Greatness

The Giraffes the '60s novelty band

Swinging Sixties novelty band The Giraffes were on the same level as The Musical Donkeys. At the band’s peak? Bigger than Elvis.

At least in the literal sense—giraffes are enormous.

But outside of their physicality, The Giraffes struggled to maintain mainstream popularity. After a mildly successful eponymous debut album, the band slipped into obscurity. This… is their story.

Psychedelic Leaf Munching With The Giraffes

Salesman Roger McDoodah was responsible for The Giraffes. After seeing The Seekers perform Georgy Girl in concert late in 1967, he had an epiphany.

In 1989 he told the BBC the following.

“I saw The Seekers. I said aloud to myself, ‘The only thing better than that is giraffes.’ The people standing around me at the concert turned to look at me funny, but I ignored them. I knew I’d hit gold. I left the gig and immediately went to the nearest zoo.”

McDoodah became convinced giraffes were the future of rock and roll.

Illegally hiring several on the black market, he formed The Giraffes in 1968. He gave them all trendy names and formed the classic line-up:

  • Giraffe Morrison: The band’s ultra-handsome giraffe. Morrison was strapped into skin tight leather pants to strut his funky stuff on stage.
  • Giraffe Hendrix: Guitar whizz prone to setting his guitar on fire, Giraffe Hendrix also enjoyed munching on rhododendron bushes and drinking water.
  • Giraffe Joplin: Fantastic singer, great dress sense, but also prone to headbutting over band members. Giraffe Joplin was a fan favourite.
  • Giraffe: Drummer Giraffe struggled to keep time perched behind her tiny kit, but she became famous for showmanship tricks such as stampeding wildly off the stage to find the nearest open plain of grass.

McDoodah wrote 10 songs to include on The Giraffe’s eponymous debut album. These included the hits:

  • Giraffe Girl
  • Sunshine of Your Leaves
  • I’m a Giraffe
  • These Giraffes Are Made For Walkin’
  • (I Can’t Get No) Giraffes
  • All You Need is Giraffes

Some critics noted the songs appeared to be ripped off from those by acts such as The Beatles, Cream, and Nancy Sinatra. McDoodah denied this claim vehemently. He told the BBC in 1989 the following.

“I never stole no lyrics. Nothing. The only thing that ever inspired me was The Seekers and Georgy Girl. We did a tribute to that with Giraffe Girl. Everything else was my own work as a criminally underrated lyricist. I get no credit for this! Just slander and lies. It’s disgusting! Bastards, the lot of you! Get that microphone out of my face, now! Back off! Do you want a punch to the face, mate?! Leg it!”

The eponymous debut album enjoyed modest sales, reaching #29 in the album charts across the UK. And #28 in North America.

McDoodah immediately took the band on a tour of the United States, starting in the state of Utah in early 1969. However, the tour proved disastrous and ensured The Giraffes’ reputation remained one of a bizarre novelty act.

The Rise and Fall of The Giraffes

Due to their height, it was often difficult getting the band members to fit into many venues. The BBC noted in an early 1969 gig the following.

“Watching The Giraffes perform is like being visited by some alien species hellbent on showcasing their very best talent to humanity. The intention is pure, the execution quite woeful.

The drummer can’t keep time and has a habit of stampeding into the audience with wild abandon when startled. This happened some 13 times during the hour-long performance, with many injuries amongst the hippy attendees.

Giraffe Morrison and Giraffe Joplin also cannot decide who should be singing what. And at what time. This often leads to the two engaging in a duel, with the headbutting also spilling over into the audience and causing further injuries.

All told, some 354 attendees of the 1,000 strong crowd ended up in hospital that night. And I believe this to be the case at most of the band’s concerts. After some research, I discovered The Giraffe’s first dozen gigs resulted in 2,412 hospital visits for crushed limbs and bruises amongst hippy revellers.

When questioned about this, the band’s manager, Roger McDoodah, told me the claims were ‘horse shit!’ and threatened legal action if the claims were put in print.”

After McDoodah was imprisoned for gross negligence in 1970, this  naturally signalled the end of The Giraffes.

The members were released back into society, where they promptly stampeded across Utah munching on many outraged homeowners’ rhododendron bushes.

Eventually, the giraffes were rounded up again and returned to sub-Saharan Africa. There they lived out their lives happily munching on grass and tree leaves.

As for McDoodah, he was released on bail from prison in 1989.

However, after an interview with the BBC in the same year he was jailed once again for new revelations he unwittingly revealed. Including copyright infringement and 300 unpaid parking tickets.

McDoodah made a successful prison escape in 1991 and is believed to have fled to sub-Saharan Africa with the intention of reforming The Giraffes.

To this day, locals still report that, if they listen carefully at night, they can sometimes hear the sounds of Giraffe Girl whispering gently on the lush African winds.

Dispense with some gibberish!

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