Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rip Bjorn: Party Nekkid! (1967)

One of the least successful novelty records of the late 1960s was the U.S. release of Swedish comedian Rip Bjorn's Party Nekkid! While Bjorn was a major star in Northern Europe, the more prudish Americans did not react favorably to the young performer, whose material dealt with subjects like sexual freedom and nudity.

In 1966, Bjorn's single Oh, Lutefisk was a hit novelty song on American radio. It was an innocuous song about an ethnic fish dish. The single led to a recording contract and Party Nekkid! was released in early 1967. Bjorn appeared to be nude on the cover of the album, with a white guitar over his genitals. In reality, he was wearing a flesh-colored bathing suit.

However, the album was considered too racy for display in most U.S. retail stores. In New Jersey, an entire shipment of the albums was seized by state police as obscene material. The album sold fewer than 500 copies and was soon removed from distribution.

Bjorn returned to his native Sweden and became the host of a successful television show that ran for 35 years. He retired from show business in 2005 and now writes childrens' books.

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