Who are you, and why are you making that racket?
We’re the Stanford Fleet Street Singers, and we’re an all-male a cappella group. You can call us “Fleet Street.”
When did you get here?
Fleet Street descended from the heavens to Stanford University in 1981.
Why are you here?
Spiritual and metaphysical stuff aside, Fleet Street’s here because back in 1981, a few Stanford dudes didn’t make the cut into one of the college’s a cappella groups. So they retaliated by making their own a cappella group.
How’d you get that goofy name?
Well, we tried a few other ones first, including “The Fetuses,” “The Amoebas,” “The Steaming Manholes,” “The Tentacle Men,” and “The Heffalumps.” But none of those stuck. One day one of the wiser of us noticed Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was playing in San Francisco, and drew the line from “Fleet Street” to “barber” to “barbershop.” Barbershop music was most of what we sang at the time, and so we christened ourselves “Fleet Street.”
What makes you so special?
Fleet Street’s best known for performing an incredible number of songs that were written entirely by members of the group. Most of the songs are funny. Really funny (see our Music or Videos). And just in case the songs aren’t funny, Fleet Street performances contain a lot of sketch comedy written by members. That said, we also have an arsenal the size of Nebraska of jazz classics and sentimental serenades. Fleet Street is also rooted in the Stanford tradition: bedecked in our cardinal-red bow ties and socks, we remain the only group on campus devoted to the preservation of Stanford’s rich history of music. Recently, the university tapped Fleet Street to be its musical ambassadors and to record an entire album of classic fight songs, in honor of Stanford’s centennial. But in short, we’re cool because we ain’t afraid to do our own thang. We currently perform a grand total of one song that we didn’t write and/or arrange ourselves, and only sing that around Christmas. We also produced the first major college a cappella album comprised entirely of songs written by the performing group, in 2004.
For whom do you perform?
Ooh, not ending with a preposition! The answer is: absolutely everyone. In the 80′s we were hired by Stanford University to fly all over the nation and perform for alumni. In 1996, world champion figure skater Rudy Galindo performed a routine to a Fleet Street recording of “Ave Maria.” In the past few years, we’ve performed on syndicated talk shows, at the New York City jazz club Birdland, in bars in Hollywood, in countless college lounges all over the nation, for corporate events, for private parties, for each others’ girlfriends, for random people, for lots and lots of dorm meetings at Stanford . . . if you can name it, we’ve probably sung for it.
Yeah, but do people actually like you?
Deke Sharon, considered the father of modern a cappella, called our 2004 self-titled album “the most important collegiate a cappella album to be released in a decade.” Fleet Street has won numerous Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards, as well as National Collegiate A Cappella Awards, the latter of which landed us a spot on NBC’s “Today Show” and a performance in Lincoln Center back in the 90s. But trophies shmophies. When it comes to whether people like us, we can’t speak for our audiences. But try us yourself and I think you’ll be pleased.
How much do your group members get paid?
Not a dime. Any time you buy from us or hire us, all the money goes back into Fleet Street’s group account, so we can do nice things like record music and fund our own performances.
How many of you are there again?
16 strapping young men. Meet us!
And are you all really that good-looking?
Is the Pope Catholic?
Why do you wear bow ties and vests?
Why do you wear skin?
If you’ve been around for 30 years, you must have some deep traditions.
We do, but I fear I can’t reveal them to you, lest I bring the rage of the entire group down upon me.
You say you guys are funny, but this ‘About’ section isn’t very funny.
We’re trying to show that we can be professional young entrepreneurs as well as cuttingly witty and rebellious sex symbols. So don’t take our word on the “funny” thing; watch our videos or listen to our songs!