The Belgian Pop & Rock Archives ...Muziekcentrum Vlaanderen
  Home | Bands & Artists | B | The Bowling Balls        


Funny synth-band from Brussels from the beginning of the eighties.


"God Save the Night Fever"
39 sec. - 77 Kb.
song : Beauling - Balls
Year : 1979
Record co. : EMI

"You don't know"
47 sec. - 93 Kb.
song : Beauling - Balls
Produced : Phil Delire
Year : 1981
Record co. : Ariola

"Visco Video"
81 sec. - 160 Kb.
song : Beauling - Balls
Year : 1980
Record co. : Ariola

"The Boys"
56 sec. - 109 Kb.
song : Beauling - Balls
Produced : Dan Lacksman
Year : 1981
Record co. : Ariola


The genensis of The Bowling Balls is probably the most peculiar from the entire Belgian pop & rock archives, as the band was founded to give life to a comic strip. The Bowling Balls were invented originally by Frédéric Jannin and Thierry Culliford (the son of Peyo, who you probably know as the father of The Smurfs) for a gag in one of the first editions of "Le Trombone Illustré", a pirat insert for the french version of Spirou. The comic strip Germain et Nous was about a number of young people who did nothing much all day except listening to albums of "The Bowling Balls". The two developed the idea of the comic strip band further and had the band give interviews, give shows, release records ...

After a few episodes and good feedback on them, the idea came about to form this groupe BD also in real life, and to record a few songs, put them on a flexi-disc and give those away with Spirou. Keyboard player in this "Bowling Balls" becamed Frédéric Jannin himself (with the alter ego Averell Ball), singer became Bert Bertrand (nicked Billy Ball. He was the son of Yvan Delporte and the journalist that was one of the first to report on punk music in Belgium. According to "le petite histoire" he was also the one to be responsible for the name Plastic Bertrand), and as extra's to the musical duo Thierry Culliford (as Elton Ball) and Christian Lanckvrind (the friend of the sister of ... , he became Fernand Ball).


When the actual songs were recorded, it turned out the promotional budget of Spirou was not sufficient to put out the single, but record company EMI was charmed by the idea and released it. "God Save the Night Fever" became the debut of The Bowling Balls, and somewhat symbolic for a band nobody was really sure of if they existed for real was the release date : april 1st 1979. The song itself was a synth-tune with the lyrics "God save the night fever, God save the pain reliever, God save the gold-kipper, God save Haroun Ta-ziever. Sunday morning headache right, I can't remember what I did last night. Probably danced my ass off, To the new big cheese record. Imagine me as John Revolta, I'd be better off in High-Volta. Would you like to meet Olivia. No I'd rather go to Bolivia ...".

The group specialized in a number of singles (4 of them between 1979 and 1981, later put together on their first and only LP "The first and the last The Bowling Balls record for the same price"), with lyrics that varied from undiscernable to nonsense, and play-back gigs that had to make clear the band was totally fake but funny as hell. As Jannin would say later: "C'était l'époque où n'importe qui pouvait faire n'importe quoi. Comme on était n'importe qui, on a fait n'importe quoi." (those were the days when no matter who could do no matter what. As we were no matter who, we did no matter what). The songs that have survived the test of time the best are probably "You Don't Know (how it's like to be alone in the house)" and their cover of the Del Shannon song "When you walk in the room". Nicest example of their inside-humour is the catchy song "The Boys", which had lyrics that went:

Lorca Karumulio Garin
Nascu Mulusko Delirin
Spargo Lio Kamagurkon
Sondak Chlapenikaragon
Mango Letruf Molenbekon
Rakel Marum Cholokon

Si Solkrador
Sholirva Shna The Boys
No Cho Vigor
Lorimar Ka The Boys
Bijora Kosha The Boys

Telex Neuro Tapivaloch
Sonia Mavindra Moulinoch
Tonic Erikassambardoch
Noumea Torligo Bravoch
Peritea Mavabordoch
Kamelkassoum Souminagoch
Sitroun Kamaflouz Imagoch
Jo Lemaire Akileamboch

Si Solkrador ...

Brili Mondrogesenamer
Porlago Mino Perlacher
Atomium Irrega Sumser
Izardo Irkitotorner
Ander Lechkima Lankvrinder
Rikama Lakinoder
Dekalko Movo e Blanker

Si Solkrador ...

The end of the Bowling Balls came shortly after their first and only album was released: Bert Bertrand announced he would leave for Bora-Bora. A good joke, the others thought, but Bert departed for real, and has never come back. Apperently he hung himself in New York, a few hours after doing an interview with Lou Reed.


From the ex-Bowling Balls Frédéric Jannin became the best-known: as a cartoonist (Germain et nous, les aventures de petit Jules et pépé Jules), musicians (together with the slick Jean-Paul Hautier he formed Zinno, which had a humongous hit in 1990 with the novelty-song "What's Your Name"), television personality (part of Les Snuls, and with Stephan Libersky as JAADTOLY) and radio presenter (Radio 21).

In the nineties there was a revival of The Bowling Balls on a modest scale, through a "The greatest Best of ..." on CD in 1995, and through a television documentary "La véritable histoire des Bowling Balls" (Canal+ in 1997) with testimonies from the likes of Thierry Tinlot (Spirou), Jean-Pierre Hautier (Zinno), Fabienne Vande Meersche (Génération 80), Marc Oschinsky, Marc Moulin en Dan Lacksman (of the band Telex, that had quite a few thing in common with The Bowling Balls, such a the combination of electronics and humour, simple but effective melodies, and, Dan Lacksman was the producer of a few BB-songs). This led to the Le Soir writing "L'idée etait de jouer la parodie à fond, de faire croire qu'on ne savait pas jouer et qu'on osait tout, mais à entendre aujourd'hui les chansons des Balls, on se rend mieux compte à quel point ces chansons étaient bien foutues et n'avaient pas à rougir face à OMD ou aujourd'hui Erasure." (the idea behind the Balls was a parody, to make believe they didn't know to play and dared everything, but listening to their songs today you realise how well they were done and don't need to blush in front of say OMD or Erasure").

Band members :
- Billy Ball (Bert Bertrand) - vocals
- Averell Ball (Frédéric Jannin) - keyboards
- Fernand Ball (Christian Lanckvrind)
- Elton Ball (Thierry Culliford)

Buy CD's of this band at proxis

Albums :
- God Save the Night Fever (single, 1979, EMI)
- Visco Video / When you walk in the room (single & maxi, 1980, Ariola)
- You don't know what it's like to be alone in the house (single, 1981, Ariola)
- The Boys / The Girls (single, 1981, Ariola)
- First and the Last Bowling Balls album for the same price (1983, Ariola)
- The greatest best of the Bowling Balls (CD, 1995, Ariola)

Websites :
- Bowling Balls sectie op de website van striptekenaar Jannin
- Website over Le Trombone Illustré, de geboorteplaats van The Bowling Balls

Forum :
- Read the messages/questions about the Bowling Balls
- Add your message, question, cd- or concertreview ... about the Bowling Balls


Bowling Balls

Deze pagina in het Nederlands


By Genre
At Random
Most Popular


Links & Sources
What's New?

Search for:

Dirk Houbrechts stopped working at The Belgian Pop & Rock Archives (you can read his personal statement here). The website is now entrusted to the Flanders Music Centre ( Contact:

Watch it : This site pays royalties, and was built and maintained in accordance with the terms and conditions negotiated with SABAM, the Belgian society of copyright-holders. Consultation of this site is free, but this exludes downloading, reproducing or public performance of any part of this site. Please do not copy. Link!

Last update to this site : December 2001.

    ^ up