Camper Van Beethoven – Take The Skinhead’s Bowling


Take the Skinheads Bowling” is a song by the American alternative rock band Camper Van Beethoven, written by the band’s frontman David Lowery and released on their 1985 album Telephone Free Landslide Victory. Though never released as a single or appearing on any radio charts, the song’s “incredibly catchy singalong chorus” led it to become their signature song. “Take the Skinheads Bowling” received substantial airplay on KROQ and BBC Radio 2 as well as on The Dr. Demento Show.

Lowery admits to being surprised by the success of “Take the Skinheads Bowling,” stating on his blog:

I never thought that Take the Skinheads Bowling would become a Hit. If someone had traveled from the future and told me we would have a hit on our first album I would not have picked this song as being the hit. Not in a million years. I would have more likely picked Where the Hell is Bill.

Why? We regarded Take The Skinheads Bowling as just a weird non-sensical song. The lyrics were purposely structured so that it would be devoid of meaning. Each subsequent line would undermine any sort of meaning established by the last line. It was the early 80′s and all our peers were writing songs that were full of meaning. It was our way of rebelling. BTW this is the most important fact about this song. We wanted the words to lack any coherent meaning. There is no story or deeper insight that I can give you about this song.

Lassie and Where the Hell is Bill were silly but there was at least a point to the songs. Plus both songs were pretty jokey. Something that seemed popular at the time.

— David Lowery, #74 Hits are Black Swans-Take the Skinheads Bowling, David Lowery – 300 Songs Blog