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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security

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Fallout Shelter: Mike and Bernie Winters [1961]

This hilarious and satiric tune is a British take on Peter Scott Peters' American original (the UK version eliminates verses about the American FHA and CONELRAD) that was released the same year on Lute (6020). In the song's lyrics a hipster shelter dweller promotes life underground as some sort of cool paradise.

An excerpt of the Peter Scott Peters' original (specifically, the verse "I'm gonna live, live, live in my fallout shelter") can be heard in the 1963 government civil defense film 'Town Of The Times' starring Ralph Meeker.

Brothers Mike and Bernie Winters were born Mike and Bernie Weinstein in North London in the United Kingdom in 1930 and 1933 respectively. Mike was educated at Oxford University and the Royal Academy of Music (where he learned to play the clarinet). Bernie took the show business route and succeeded in getting a gig at a club in London's Soho where he played the ukulele, sang and told jokes. During World War II the brothers served in the Canadian Army Show Unit where they honed their act. In 1955 the duo made their first television appearance on the BBC's 'Variety Parade' and shortly thereafter did a TV series titled '6.5 Special' which they appeared on until 1958. In 1962 the team appeared on ITV's 'Sunday Night At The Paladium' and from 1963 to 1965 they starred on the Associated British Picture Corporation's 'Big Night Out.' They followed this success with other sketch shows such as 'Mike And Bernie's Show.' Along the way they released a number of records in addition to Fallout Shelter such as the LPs 'Mike And Bernie Williams In Toyland' and 'For Mums And Dads Of All Ages'. In 1978 the act broke up in acrimony with Mike moving to the U.S. and Bernie signing on with Thames Television where he starred in a popular series titled 'Bernie.' In 1976 the brothers wrote their autobiography 'Shake A Pagoda Tree.' In 1991 Bernie Winters died of cancer.

LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
Fallout Shelter: Mike and Bernie Winters [1961]

I'm not scared
I'm prepared
We'll be spared

I've got a fallout shelter, it's 9 by 9
Hi-Fi set and a jug of wine
Let the missiles fly from nation to nation
But it's party time in my radiation station
A 14 day supply of multi-purpose food
A TV set I'm sure to include
Build a bomb bungalow, one of your own
With no down payment and a government loan

Let the tests go on in the atmosphere
In my fallout shelter, I'll have no fear
My baby and me, cozy we will be
Away from radioactivity

20 megatons is the size of the boom
And if they let it go, I'll feel no doom
Let the cats run about, helter-skelter
I'm gonna, live, live, live in my fallout shelter

I'm not scared
I'm petrified
We'll be spared

20 megatons is the size of the boom
And if they let it go, I'll feel no doom
Let the cats run about, helter-skelter
I'm gonna live, live, live in my fallout shelter

So if you want to be full of confidence
Get survival jazz and civil defense
You'll live like a king in your fallout pad
'Till the all clear sounds, we're swingin', dad
We're swingin', dad
So what?

Mike & Bernie Winters [1961]
Fallout Shelter
(P. Scott-Peters)
Oriole 1718

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