Screaming fans. Hit records. Worldwide acclaim. At the height of its illustrious career, the 1960s band, The Royal Guardsmen, achieved what most rock groups only dream of. The sextet from Ocala, FL rose to fame in 1966 with its single, “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron,” which became the title track of its debut album. The album reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and remained there for 12 weeks. It went on to sell one million copies, earning it Platinum certification from the R.I.A.A. in 1967.
Subsequent chart-toppers followed, including: “The Airplane Song,” “Wednesday,” “I Say Love,” “Snoopy’s Christmas” and “Baby Let’s Wait.”
The Royal Guardsmen’s original lineup consisted of: Bill Balogh (bass), John Burdett (drums), Chris Nunley (vocals), Tom Richards (guitar), Billy Taylor (organ), and Barry Winslow (vocals/guitar). Richards died of a brain tumor in 1979 and was replaced by Pat Waddell.
Despite its massive success, the band split in 1969. However, its recordings continued to sell and are still in high demand today around the world. In 2008, Burdett and Winslow teamed up to write and record “Snoopy Vs. Osama” in honor of the U.S. troops fighting the war in Iraq. The song has been featured regularly on the syndicated radio program, The Dr. Demento Show.
In the Spring of 2009, the Guardsmen’s hit, “The Airplane Song,” was chosen as the theme song for Red Bull’s Flugtag events and was aired in television commercials. In 2010, the band headed back into the studio to record a brand new song title "Alive and Well." The guys also recently starred in a documentary about their journey in the music business, "Beaglemania! - The True Story Behind 'Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron' and The Royal Guardsmen.