Outsider Music

If you’re looking for some truly different music, maybe you should look into the strange universe of “outsider music.”

This is best described as “extreme alternative music,”stuff so strange and surreal that it defies any kind of description.  Outsider music favourites include Philosophy of the World, a 1969 album by an American group called The Shags.  The father of the three daughters in the group honestly thought they had talent.  But in reality…um, wow.
Another is “Downloading the Repertoire,” an uninterrupted stream-of-consciousness 129-song medley of songs sung by Jack Mudurian, a resident of a Boston nursing home.  
And then there’s The Langley Schools Music Project, a ghostly collection of rock songs recorded by a bunch of Canadian school children back in 1976 and 1977.   

“Outsider music.”  You’ve never heard stuff like this before.  For more information, consult Irwin Chusid’s research into the subject.  Brilliant.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

4 thoughts on “Outsider Music

  • February 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    The Wiggin girls (The Shaggs) were American.

  • February 4, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    You're right. Fixed now. Thanks!

  • February 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    And it's Shaggs with two G's.

  • February 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    And you know there's a handful of douchebags at Pitchfork that would argue to their death why this is brilliant and better than the Beatles.


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