Copenhagen’s Bottle Boys first performed on empty beer bottles to liven up a boring party about 12 years ago.
What
do Michael Jackson and the old-time jug-band genre have in common? Well, take
the song that launched the Michael Jackson era in 1983, and perform it, jug-band
style, on beer bottles.
We’re talking here
about the gloved-one’s 1983 double Grammy-winning smash hit, “Billy Jean”, and
a group of Danish bottle-blowers from Copenhagen who manage to play Michael
Jackson’s hit tune beautifully on empty beer bottles. They call themselves the
Bottle Boys … what else?
For those too young to have lived through it, here’s a bit of background. The Michael Jackson
video that promoted “Billy Jean” in 1983 was the film clip that
launched the start of the glossy high-end production-values in rock-videos era and got the whole Michael Jackson craze rolling.
Jackson recorded the track in one take and producer Quincy Jones is said to have had Michael sing down a six foot
cardboard tube to get the sound he wanted. I don’t know how many takes the
Bottle Boys took to perfect their version but I bet they had a good time emptying the bottles. Take a
look.

The first jug band recorded: Earl McDonald’s Original
Louisville Jug Band, circa 1924
As mentioned in my
profile on Louisville, (archives: Great Blues Cities No. 6, 15 March 2014), jug
music seems to have started in Louisville, Kentucky, around the turn of the twentieth century. Those old Louisville jug bands played a
mixture of Appalachian mountain music, African-American folk and ragtime. One
of them, Earl McDonald’s Original Louisville Jug Band, became the first
jug band to be recorded, in 1924, when they backed local blues diva Sara
Martin on her ‘Blue Devil Blues.’ 
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