Cowboy Bergaleoukaleopaleous, also known as Bergaleoukaleopaleous Jones, also mistakenly known as The Lone Ranger, Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley and other more famous persons, was a figure of significant Old West legend and lore. He is perhaps best known from the song "Cowboy Bergaleoukaleopaleous" by the children's music act Eric Herman and the Invisible Band on their ''Snow Day!'' album, and on the accompanying music video.
1 Background/early years
2 His law enforcement career
2.1 The Belle Starr incident
3 The Eric Herman song
3.1 The Reno train arrest
3.2 His horse
4 His singing career
5 His death
Records about Bergaleoukaleopaleous Jones are scant at best, and most information about him has come by way of heresay, but from the best available sources it can be determined that he was born roughly around 7:28 and 31 seconds A.M. on April 29, 1850 in the Senita Basin of Arizona, the son of William Henry Jones and Mary Ann Norris Jones. William Henry and Mary Ann had been married against the wishes of both the Jones and Norris families. They had been at odds with each other since their contentious trek out West in which both families had shared the same wagon and argued the whole way about who had called "shotgun". As an attempt to bring peace to their extended family, William and Mary Ann decided to name their first born child after all of the surviving men on both sides; Bernard, Gabriel, Leonard, Lukas, Leopold, Albert and Phineous. Unfortunately, Bergaleoukaleopaleous' name made everything worse... Mary Ann's family felt slighted because they weren't represented by as many letters as the Jones boys, and William's brother Phineous was upset that the last part of his name was used instead of the "Phin" part. In his journals, William wrote that the name "Bergaleoukaleopalphin" was considered, but sounded too much like a strange ailment for fishes. What had merely been awkwardness among the in-laws turned into an all-out feud, and from that point on, both families vowed that they would never bring their freshest macaroni salad to family gatherings.
Little is known about the early years of Bergaleoukaleopaleous. He attended school in a one room schoolhouse, but there wasn't an actual teacher in their town, so the parents took turns schooling the kids. This led to Bergaleoukaleopaleous being well trained in such varied activities as horse riding, can shooting, bean cooking, stall shoveling, yodeling, spur jangling, coin tossing and other invaluable skills for a future cowboy legend.
His law enforcement career
Cowboy Bergaleoukaleopaleous began his storied career in law enforcement when he was accidentally named the sheriff of the woefully unsuccessful mining town of Pyrite, California, where he had moved in the early 1870's. The former sheriff had gone blind and was about to turn over his badge to his deputy. Bergaleoukaleopaleous was pinned with the badge when the deputy bent over to remove a rock from his boot. By an unwritten and unknown Old West law, the pinning of the badge was sufficient to confirm Bergaleoukaleopaleous' new position.
The exploits and heroic deeds of Bergaleoukaleopaleous' long career are too numerous to mention, and of course many of them weren't even attributed to him. Though he was involved in many of the famous events in Old West history, the difficulty of pronouncing and spelling his name often caused people to choose other names to pass along, such as Buffalo Bill or Annie Oakley. One event that Bergaleoukaleopaleous was clearly identified with was the "Food Fight at the O.K. Corral". It was he who expertly threw the flapjack that stopped a potentially fatal bean from hitting Wyatt Earp, and he worked alongside Doc Holliday to tend to those wounded by clumps of extra lumpy mashed potatoes.
The Belle Starr incident
It was said that Belle Starr, the infamous female outlaw, once shot a man for snoring too loud. That man was Cowboy Bergaleoukaleopaleous. They happened to be sleeping in adjacent rooms of a hotel, and Belle mistook his snoring for the growl of some kind of monster, so she snuck into his room and shot him. Fortunately, she shot him with a primitive water pistol; the Super Soaker Six Shooter. However, the water was warm and he was soaked pretty badly, necessitating a quick dash to the latrine when he woke up.
The Eric Herman song
The song "Cowboy Bergaleoukaleopaleous" was released in 2006 on the album ''Snow Day!'' by Eric Herman and the Invisible Band, with character voices provided by The Hughes Brothers and backing vocals by Border Crossing. In their audio commentary about the album, songwriters Eric and Roseann Endres claimed to have entirely made up the story and the name. However, the remarkable coincidence that they would have gotten Bergaleoukaleopaleous' name exactly right, and also many details about his life, makes their story dubious. It is more likely that they were trying to cover for their source, which is believed to be Bergaleoukaleopaleous' great grandson, Bergaleolukaleopalphin Jones, the primary keeper of his great grandfather's legacy and a noted expert on fish diseases.
Though the song is mostly accurate, some details were left out which might have painted a clearer picture. For example, Bergaleoukaleopaleous' bizarre wardrobe, alluded to in the song's intro, was only worn in the late 1860's and early 70's, when strangely colorful clothing and such things as "platform cowboy boots" were in fashion.
The Reno train arrest
One of the song's verses refers to the Reno train incident where Bergaleoukaleopaleous thwarted a robbery attempt by knocking out Frank and Jesse James with the door as he exited the bathroom, where he had been meticulously plucking bugs out of his mustache. This arrest led to the infamous "Trial of the 19th Century", where Frank and Jesse's slick lawyers tried to cast doubt on their clients having been on the train, claiming that none of their DNA was found there. Of course, this was many decades before DNA itself had been discovered, but the jury was impressed by the fancy terminology and found the James brothers innocent.
Though the song mentions Cowboy Bergaleoukaleopaloeus' horse being named "Horsie", apparently she never actually had a name. People just mistook him calling her "Horse" or "Horsie" as being a formal name, but he could never find just the right name for her. (Rejected names for her supposedly included "Airbiscuit" and "Sheneighneigh".) It is widely held that the folk rock group America was referring to her and Cowboy Bergaleoukaleopaleous in their classic 1972 song "A Horse with No Name".
Following is an analysis of the chorus lyrics:
''I've been through the desert on a horse with no name''
(referring to "Horsie")
''It felt good to be out of the rain''
(possibly a reference to the Belle Starr soaking)
''In the desert you can remember your name''
(a clear reference to Bergaleoukaleopaleous, as his name was difficult for even him to remember)
''Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain''
(surely an allusion to the lack of grammar taught at his one room schoolhouse)
With her bean-fueled speed and jumping ability, Bergaleokaleopaleous'
horse was one of the stars of the now defunct sport of 'horse hockey' and
frequently scored many goals with the 'horse puckey', a term later changed to 'puck' for use with the more popular sport of ice hockey. It was during her years of playing horse hockey that she lost many of her teeth, making it difficult for anyone to determine her exact age. She is believed to have died during an unsuccessful attempt to jump over the Snake River Canyon.
His singing career
As the Old West turned into the New and Improved West in the early 1900's, Bergaleoukaleopaleous retired from his sheriff position and turned to his true love of singing. He recorded one album of yodeling favorites, and it was rumored to be quite a good representation of his singing talent, but unfortunately no copies of the album remain. A friend of his was a fledgling inventor, who assured Bergaleoukaleopaleous that his new invention was going to be the next big thing in audio. It was a miniature Victrola that people could carry around with them wherever they went, turning the little crank and holding it next to their ear whenever they wanted to hear a song. The VictrolaPod, or vPod, was a huge failure and Bergaleoukaleopaleous ended up using all of the specially made vPod versions of his album for target practice.
As described in the Eric Herman song, Bergaleoukaleopaleous died in 1939 at the age of 90 by choking on a blade of wheat he had between his teeth. However, though the song describes his tombstone as being ten feet long, it neglects to mention that it was mistakenly commissioned vertically instead of horizontally, so the ten foot tall and one foot wide stone actually reads as follows:
Unfortunately, with its disproportionate height, the tombstone would not remain upright until it was hammered several feet into the ground. So, perhaps befitting the largely anonymous life that he lived, the above-ground part of his tombstone reads:
(More information about Bergaleoukaleopaleous will be added
here as it is uncovered.)
Special thanks to Greg Klyma and Jeff Garbaz for finding and providing
the picture of Bergaleoukaleopaleous.
cowboy song, "Cowboy Bergaleoukaleopaleous" by Eric Herman from his third album Snow Day!
cowboy song for kids, "Cowboy Bergaleoukaleopaleous" by Eric Herman from his third album Snow Day!
cowboy song for children, "Cowboy Bergaleoukaleopaleous" by Eric Herman from his third album Snow Day!
funny cowboy song, "Cowboy Bergaleoukaleopaleous" by Eric Herman from his third album Snow Day!