Fish heads, fish heads: The bizarre cult hit song co-written by a TV star

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Vintage Bill Mumy - Lost in Space TV show
The ’80s song “Fish Heads” by Barnes & Barnes wasn’t notable only for its oddly catchy chorus, but also for its bizarre lyrics, and the two unusual “singing” voices.

Then, if you watched the video — which you can check out below — the images therein pretty much doubled the weird factor.

And there’s one more thing. One of the two guys in the group was Bill(y) Mumy, who was already known to millions as Will Robinson on the ’60s TV show “Lost in Space.”

Though his television character was left stranded with his family in the outer reaches of the galaxy, the space kid’s alter ego was one of the few people to have found success (or, at least, a place on the pop culture map) here on earth in two entirely different creative fields.

Find out more about “Fish heads” below, and enjoy the roly-poly earworm. You might find that you’re hooked.

Fish Heads video - Barnes and Barnes (6)

‘Lost in Space’ actor found in a cult band (1988)

Excerpted from The Herald-News (Passaic, New Jersey) Feb 5, 1988

The Robinson family is still Lost in Space, but Bill Mumy, alias Will Robinson, has been found.

Mumy, 34, is half of the bizarre cult band Barnes and Barnes. Robert Haimer is the other half.

If the Barnes name doesn’t ring a bell, maybe their music video “Fish Heads” will.

“Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads; fish heads, fish heads, eat them up, yum!”

Barnes and Barnes with Bill Mumy

The video aired on “Saturday Night Live” and became an early MTV favorite. 

“We want to make people laugh,” says Mumy from his home in Los Angeles. “If that keeps us a little cult band, that’s OK.”

Mumy lives with two cats and his wife, Ilene Davis, a Jane Fonda Workout instructor, who he says keeps him from getting a beer belly.

Mumy makes his living writing comic books, acting, writing music and performing as half of Barnes and Barnes. Rhino Records has just released “Zabagabee,” a collection of Barnes and Barnes’ best work.

Mumy began acting when he was 4, but not as some pitiful child actor forced into the business. “I had a blast,” says Mumy.

He was cute and confident and won a lot of parts. He worked for Disney. He made three “Twilight Zone” episodes, including the classic “It’s a Good Life,” and three “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” episodes.

Mumy remembers “The Twilight Zone’s” Rod Serling as a friendly and fun person.

Hitchcock was another matter. Once Mumy was fidgeting between takes, and Hitchcock walked over and bent down by him.

“Here he is this huge guy, and I’m like 3-feet-5. He bends down and whispers to me: ‘If you don’t stand still, I will take nails and drive them through your feet, and your blood will come pouring out like milk!'”

“I was terrified.” For 10 years, Mumy took the long way around Universal Studios to avoid Hitchcock.

In 1965, he was cast as Will Robinson for the Lost in Space television series. After the third season, the cast was told that the show had been picked up for a fourth.

Two months later, Mumy heard the show was canceled. “I was devastated,” says Mumy. “I loved doing it.”

Mumy says it left him with an incomplete feeling. The cast members never got to tell each other goodbye.

Vintage Lost In Space - Will Robinson and Dr Smith

Mumy and Haimer became friends that same year. The two 14-year-olds shared an interest in comic books and music.

Later, they began making tapes that made their friends laugh. Much later, they made novelty disc jockey Dr. Demento laugh, too.

Then-fledgling Rhino Records heard “Fish Heads” on the show, and signed them to a record contract.


The video starred a friend of theirs — young Bill Paxton (Apollo 13, Big Love, Twister) — who did this mini-film before his acting career took off.

Bill Paxton in Fish Heads video - 1980s

Fish Heads video - Barnes and Barnes (5)

Fish Heads video - Barnes and Barnes (1)

ANOTHER ODD OLD SONG: Say, Say, Oh Playmate: We traced the story of this old song and hand clapping game, and have the lyrics


The Barnes & Barnes video with Bill Paxton

ALSO SEE: MTV music television started a rock revolution in the ’80s by playing non-stop music videos


Fish Heads lyrics

Fish heads, fish heads
Roly-poly fish heads
Fish heads, fish heads
Eat them up, yum

Fish heads, fish heads
Roly-poly fish heads
Fish heads, fish heads
Eat them up, yum

In the morning
laughing, happy fish heads
In the evening
floating in the soup

Fish heads, fish heads
Roly-poly fish heads
Fish heads, fish heads
Eat them up, yum

Ask a fish head
anything you want to
They won’t answer
They can’t talk

Fish heads, fish heads
Roly-poly fish heads
Fish heads, fish heads
Eat them up, yum

I took a fish head
out to see a movie
Didn’t have to pay to
get it in…

Old 80s Fish Heads video

…Fish heads, fish heads
Roly-poly fish heads
Fish heads, fish heads
Eat them up, yum

They can’t play baseball
they don’t wear sweaters
They’re not good dancers
they don’t play drums

Fish heads, fish heads
Roly-poly fish heads
Fish heads, fish heads
Eat them up, yum

Roly-poly fish heads
are never seen drinking cappuccino
in Italian restaurants
with Oriental women
Yeah

Fish heads, fish heads
Roly-poly fish heads
Fish heads, fish heads
Eat them up, yum


Fish Heads video - Barnes and Barnes (2)

Vintage Fish Heads film - Video title

Barnes and Barnes with Bill Mumy - Fish Heads (1)

MORE WEIRDNESS: The Banana Splits Adventure Hour intro, theme song, lyrics & more on this trippy retro kids’ show

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