Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Denting Bucky

After I described Bobby Goldsboro's "A Butterfly for Bucky" as atrocious the other day despite admitting I'd never heard it, Rob in comments did us the dubious favor of posting the song's YouTube video so we could all hear it. Let me just say this: I was not wrong.

Rob compared the song to "Blind Man in the Bleachers," which, while hardly a good record, at least is an original if glurge-y story with a nice twist ending that can be somewhat touching if you're in the right mood for it. Properly titled "Last Game of the Season (A Blind Man in the Bleachers)," it went to Number Eighteen in the fall of 1975 and was the second and final Top Forty hit for David Geddes of "Run Joey Run" fame.

When you make David Geddes look good, you know you've really accomplished something. "A Butterfly for Bucky" is up to that mission; I literally LOLed twice while listening to it. The music is tamer and more bloodless than most elevator music, and the "story," such as it is, is too plotless and hamfisted to even make Chicken Soup for the Blind Kid's Soul. You can blame Rob for this:

Mama Tried

I was too young to really be conscious of its significance, but was it considered subversive for Cheap Trick to be singing, "Mama's all right, Daddy's all right" back in 1978? My sense is that the prevailing ethos back then still maintained that your mama don't dance and your daddy don't rock 'n' roll.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lightning Striking Again

Way back when I wrote this post, I didn't mean to imply that Ronnie Van Zant was cribbing from Lolita, or even had any idea who Vladimir Nabokov was. But when the Old 97's begin their hilarious "Book of Poems" with the line "Rowboat, lightning, I kissed her yeah, it didn't mean a thing," I assume they know exactly what they're doing.

Rhett Miller did go to Sarah Lawrence, you know.

Monday, December 29, 2008

John Byrne, 1947-2008

John Byrne, lead singer and songwriter for the garage-punk band Count Five, which appropriately hit Number Five in 1966 with "Psychotic Reaction," dead at the age of 61. Byrne was born in Dublin and moved to San Jose at the age of 14, in 1961. He formed Count Five - true to their name, they wore Dracula-style capes onstage - with four of his buddies from San Jose's Pioneer High School.

"Psychotic Reaction" was released by the L.A. label Double Shot Records in July of 1966 (b/w "They're Gonna Get You"), when Byrne was only 19. The band eventually broke up when Byrne decided it was time to go to college to get his degree in accounting. He later worked as an accountant for Montgomery Ward, which he probably called, as everyone else did, "Monkey Ward," albeit with an Irish accent.

His dying words were, "The guy who wrote and sang 'Pushin' Too Hard' lives on."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Late Show

Last month, when I was working in New York City and living for the moment by myself, I returned home alone to my apartment late one night and began flipping through the channels on the TV when I came across Jimmy Kimmel, returning from a commercial on his eponymous show. I had never seen Kimmel's show before, and wasn't particularly interested in watching it that night, except that he was presenting a musical act, and I hadn't had much opportunity to listen to music on my trip. Jimmy announced Ben Folds with Regina Spektor, and I sat back to watch and listen.

The first thing I noticed was that Ben had brought an awful lot of people on stage, surrounding his grand piano with strings and horns and some dude - I assume it was Ben's brother-in-law - beating on a marching-band style snare drum, duplicating the efforts of the guy next to him behind a full drum kit. Ben himself had an unfortunate setup with his piano; he had decided to stand up rather than sit on his piano bench, but neglected to sufficiently raise his microphone so that he was forced to sing his song in an awkward, painful-looking crouch.

But ah, that song. It was "You Don't Know Me," with vocal counerpoints by Regina Spektor, who was every bit as delightful as the tune she was singing. Poised in the well of Folds' grand, she popped up at appropriate intervals to answer Ben's lines and show off a little black dress that came to midthigh. I didn't know Regina Spektor's work before this, but she was good enough to make you forget for a moment than Ben Folds can't sing so well. But what he can do is write some really nice tunes.

Here, don't take my word for it:

Sometimes, you just get lucky.

Recession Special

I am pleased to announce that for the next three months, "One Poor Correspondent" will be available at half price!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holiday Music

One of the most difficult things about surviving through the Christmas season is the inability to avoid Christmas music, whether at stores, in the car on the radio, at hotels, or pretty much anywhere. With so much airtime to fill, programmers get desperate for new sounds, to the point that you get stuck hearing Neil Diamond do something called "You Make It Feel Like Christmas," which if nothing else is theologically incorrect. I've got nothing against Christmas music - Barenaked Ladies' acoustic-shuffle version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" may be the best thing they've ever done - as long as I can control when I hear it.

I think it would be easier to take as well if other holidays were celebrated nearly as much in song, but they really aren't. While there are millions of Christmas songs out there, how many are there marking other holidays? Let's take a look:

New Year's Day

"New Year's Day," by U2
"Happy New Year," by Abba

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

"Happy Birthday," by Stevie Wonder

Valentine's Day
"Valentine," by the Old 97's
"Valentine," by the Replacements

"Zombie," the Cranberries

Fourth of July
"Saturday in the Park," by Chicago
"4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)," by Bruce Springsteen (but not Bruce's "Independence Day")
"Good," by Better Than Ezra

"Monster Mash," by Bobby "Boris" Pickett

Election Day
"Election Day," Arcadia

Armistice Day
"Armistice Day," by Paul Simon

I've got nothing.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas Gift for Me

Probably the best present I got for Christmas this year was a copy of Joel Whitburn's Top Adult Contemporary 1961-2001, from frequent OPC commenter MJN (the only OPC commenter to send me a gift this year, I'll have you know). This is much like the big Whitburn Top 40 book, except it covers what has at times been called Easy Listening, Middle-Road Singles, Pop-Standard Singles, and Hot Adult Contemporary (Ha! Like you're going to fool anyone with that "hot").

This is the world that Bobby Goldsboro bestrides like a Colossus. Bobby had a whopping 29 hits on the adult contemporary charts, eleven of which didn't even make the Billboard Hot 100, much less the Top Forty, including his last seven AC hits. He had something called "A Butterfly for Bucky" go to Number Seven AC in the summer of 1976; I've never heard it, but I guarantee you it's atrocious.

This little book will provide many nuggets for this blog in the coming days. For the moment, I have one seasonal note for you: One advantage this directory has over its bigger brother is that it tells you what the B-side to each hit single was. For example, the Beatles' "Free As a Bird," which cracked the AC charts in December 1995, was backed by something called "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)," which was originally released only by mail order to members of the Beatles fan club back in 1967. It was a nonsensical little holiday ditty interrupted by skits and a tap-dancing battle between Ringo and Help! costar Victor Spinetti. I haven't heard this either, but I'm sure it's better than "A Butterfly for Bucky."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All

We have successfully avoided doing a lot of Christmas-related posts this year, but there's one holiday tradition we have no intention of ending: the airing of "Hardrock, Coco and Joe." If you're unfamiliar with HC&J, it was created in 1951, with words and music by Stuart Hamblen and animation by a gentleman named Wah Ming Chang. It wasn't until 1956, though, that it became legend after it began airing every Christmastide on Frazier Thomas' Garfield Goose and Friends on Chicago's own WGN-TV.

Stuart Hamblen was a singing cowboy who had undergone a conversion at a Billy Graham revival in 1949. Henceforth, he focused on Christian music and hosted a radio show called "The Cowboy Church of the Air." It is unclear to me whether "Hardrock, Coco and Joe" is considered part of his Christian period or his pagan period.

Mr. Hamblen died in 1989, but his work will live on in the hearts of children who grew up in Chicagoland and, now thanks to YouTube, to the entire world. You could say the same about Wah Ming Chang, who died in 2003, but he will also live on in the hearts of Trekkies throughout the universe, for he designed all the props for the original Star Trek series as well as all the delightful animation you see here. (There are two full published biographies of Wah; sadly, I have yet to read either). Set your phasers on joy:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Walrus Was Faul

As I mentioned, I took a tour through the Web site Mark Lerner brought to our attention the other day. The proprietor (apparently some Italian dude whose name wasn't immediately apparent) has established some pretty solid evidence that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by someone he calls “Faul” – the false Paul. Italiano presents side-by-side photos from before and after Sgt. Pepper to show how the person presented to us as Paul had a different chin, a different-shaped head, even that he was taller. The evidence here is not just that he suddenly appears taller than John Lennon, whom he was once the same height as, but before and after photos with Jane Asher showing how his relative height seems to have changed.

So not only did this Faul look somewhat like the old McCartney, and sing like him, and play bass like him, and even somehow persuade his new Beatles mates to make the Magical Mystery Tour movie, which was all Paul’s, or Faul’s, idea, but Jane Asher – who must have been devastated when her boyfriend died – was even willing to sleep with Faul just to keep up appearances. That’s what you call taking one for the team.

(Incidentally, I’ve never heard any of the Paul Is Dead theorists introduce as evidence the fact that right around Sgt. Pepper - which came right after Paul died - was when the other Beatles started to get sick of McCartney and the group started to splinter. But it seems like an obvious claim to me: The other Beatles liked Paul, but they didn’t care for this new guy Faul.)

Unfortunately for Italiano, his logic starts to fall apart around 1969-70, when he claims that Faul grew a beard to cover the scars from another round of plastic surgery. Think about this: After fooling all the Beatles fans for a couple of years, after making his bones by writing and singing “Let It Be,” when the band was on the verge of collapsing, why would Faul need additional plastic surgery? He’d already won! The game was over. There’s no way Allen Klein would have signed off on that kind of unnecessary expense.

In my personal opinion, if Faul was capable of coming up with “Hey Jude,” maybe he, rather than Paul, should have been in the band in the first place.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Love Those Sugar Jets

I've been meaning to write up a report on my trip to Paul Is Dead-land at the site Mark Lerner mentioned in comments the other day, but I haven't had the time. Until I do, please enjoy this voyage through 100 different cereal boxes (hat tip to the invaluable Mark Evanier). I'm especially partial to the Cap'n Crunch, King Vitaman and Quisp, since they were all exactly the same thing in different formats. (Note that the Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries is filed under "Cr," not "Ca.")

Dig in.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Here's a sentence none of us expected to ever write: Keith Richards turns 65 today. I gotta tell you, he doesn't look a day over 80.

You all remember Laraine Newman's famous quote after the Rolling Stones appeared on Saturday Night Live: "I've never worked with a dead person before." That was thirty years ago. And Keith's not dead yet.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

When I Get Older, Losing My Hair

One more fun thing about that Beatles DVD: The three Beatles spend so much time sitting around talking in their relatively contemporary state that you can get a pretty good bead on their hair, or lack thereof. As I've noted before, as men get older, their hair either goes gray or it goes away; the only other choice is that it does both. Of course, Paul, George and Ringo all have heads of dark-colored hair, so the game is to figure out who's got a wig and who's got a bottle of hair dye.

George and Ringo occasionally wear their hair pulled back, so much so that you can see where it attaches to the scalp, and each occasionally runs his fingers through his hair, so we'll go with dye for them. McCartney, on the other hand, keeps his "hair" brushed forward over his forehead, and never touches the top of his head. Toupee!

Don't Pass Me By

Before I get off this Beatles thing, I wanted to say a few words about Ringo. My friend Gavin has on his site the answer to a question from a reader asking if Ringo was simply the luckiest man in showbiz. Gavin does a good job of making the case for Ringo, but one thing that bears pointing out is that, as Ringo himself once said to the Queen, "I was the last to join." John, Paul and George knew each other as teenagers growing up in Liverpool, but Ringo was recruited. John, Paul and (especially) George wanted very much to have Ringo in their band, and Lennon and McCartney, you may have noticed, knew a thing or two about musicianship. At the very least, it's a safe bet that Ringo was far and away the best drummer in Liverpool, for whatever that's worth.

The other thing that is so endearing about Ringo is that he really, really loved the Beatles. "I was an only child," he said, "and suddenly I felt as though I'd got three brothers. In the old days we'd have the hugest hotel suites, the whole floor of the hotel, and the four of us would end up in the bathroom, just to be with each other."

On the Beatles Anthology DVD, there are some leftover extra scenes showing the three surviving Beatles sitting around in the grass at one of George Harrison's estates. At the very end of the day, Ringo says to the other two: "This has been a real pleasure for me. I enjoy hanging out with you guys."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The fourth season of Saturday Night Live has now been released on DVD and is on its way into my hot little entertainment center even as we speak. This will assuredly be the last season I will ever write about, because John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd left before the fifth season, and I have no intention of fighting my way through that mess. While I was very sad back then, in 1979, I'm not sure I could stand up to the rigors of writing about a fifth season at this point.

In case you've lost the thread, we left off with season three right here. Looking back at some of those posts, I have to say they constitute kind of a golden age for "One Poor Correspondent," such as it is. Maybe we'll get lucky again.

Heed the Beatles

Some choice quotes from The Beatles Anthology:

John: "I sat in a restaurant in Spain and the violinist insisted on playing 'Yesterday' right in my ear. Then he asked me to sign the violin. I didn't know what to say so I said, 'OK,' and I signed it and Yoko signed it. One day he's going to find out that Paul wrote it. But I guess he couldn't have gone from table to table playing 'I Am the Walrus.'"

George: "He was paranoid about being shortsighted and we'd have to take him into a club and lead him to his seat, so that he could go in without his glasses on and look cool. It was funny when Cynthia was out with him; they'd sit outside in the car, arguing as to whose turn it was to put the glasses on to go in and see where we were sitting."

Ringo: "Sgt. Pepper was great for me because it's a fine album - but I did learn to play chess while we were recording it."

Paul: "I think it's a fine little album. The fact that it's got so much on it is one of the things that's cool about it.... I'm not a great one for that, you know - 'Maybe it was too many of that...' What do you mean? It was great! It sold! It's the bloody Beatles White Album! Shut up!"

John: "When I feel my head start to swell, I look at Ringo - then I know we're not superhuman!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Notes and Comment on 'The Beatles Anthology'

It's all Beatles, all the time here at OPC these days, since I've been watching the massive eight-hour Beatles Anthology on DVD. Even when I try to write about something else, like the epochal summit meeting between Steve Martin and Keith Moon, it eventually returns to the Beatles.

I'm just going to throw out some observations I've gleaned from the DVD:

* You read about how no one could hear anything over the screaming at Beatle concerts, but there are extant films from the Shea Stadium show in 1965 that are quite good. The look of the film is sharp, the shots well-chosen, and the sound is clean and exciting. They were a great live band. Even Shea Stadium, which was just over a year old, still looks good, for probably the last time in its history.

* Neil Aspinall claims that the Beatles invented MTV, when they responded to an overwhelming number of requests for TV appearances by making short films for "Paperback Writer" and "Rain." They actually made a lot of videos that have had limited exposure, including for "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Penny Lane," "Hello Goodbye," and "Hey Jude." There's a great clip of them doing "Revolution," apparently live, since it doesn't sound like either officially released version.

* Seeing everything unfold chronologically, you see how awful the summer of '66 was for the boys. The miserable trip to the Philippines - where the Beatles turned down Imelda Marcos' invitation to dinner, then were left on their own, without police protection, to leave the country two steps ahead of the offended populace - happened the first week of July, then the "bigger than Jesus" interview came out on July 29th, triggering a wave of record-burning throughout the South. It's no wonder they decided to make the Candlestick Park show three weeks later their last concert ever.

* When they do the live performance of "All You Need Is Love" for that first-ever worldwide satellite television show, John Lennon is clearly chewing gum. What's that all about? How can you sing with gum in your mouth? Also, the version on the DVD starts in black and white and fades into color; was that the way it was telecast?

* Starting with Sgt. Pepper's, Lennon is pretty much never without his glasses - except during Magical Mystery Tour, when he doesn't wear them at all. Apparently, he didn't want to see it either.

* At one point Ringo wears an Oakland Raiders cap. It's a good look for him.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Going Round in Circles

Hey, did I ever tell you guys how the Beatles met Billy Preston? The Fabs went on a British tour with Little Richard in 1962 - Richard was the headliner - and Billy Preston was playing the organ for Little Richard. Billy was 16 at the time, although Paul later said he "looked about ten." I guess he didn't have the massive fro at that point.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cry Baby Cry

Frequent OPC commenter Kinky Paprika considerately provided a link to the video tribute to the Beatles that was part of the tenth anniversary TV special of Rolling Stone magazine we were discussing the other day. Part of me wants to extend deep thanks to Kinky, and part of me wants to ask him or her to never, ever do such a thing again. I feel like I need to go to an Ozu film festival or something, just to cleanse my cultural palate after being exposed to this stinkbomb. The clip is indescribably awful, but describing things is what we do around here, so let us soldier on.

First of all, it's misleading to refer to "dancing strawberries" in this musical extravaganza, as Gavin did in the comments the other day. Not only is that a very small part of the whole 15-minute tribute, but it's actually dancing strawberry plants. There is a difference.

But the framboises danseuse are far from the biggest travesty here. That honor goes to the guy in Kiss-style makeup and hot pants who sings "Helter Skelter" while a troupe of Broadway-style dancers re-enacts what appears to be a Tribute to the Sixties' Most Violent Moments. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

Then there's the guy in the Point Break-style rubber Richard Nixon mask singing "I'm a Loser." And Ted "Jesus" Neeley (whose name, a reader helpfully pointed out, I had misspelled in my earlier post) singing "Magical Mystery Tour" while said Broadway dancers cavort around a yellow submarine. One of those dancers is a boxer in a robe (no, I have no idea what a boxer has to do with "Magical Mystery Tour," unless there's some baroque connection to "Hey Bulldog"), and if any of my readers can decipher what's written on the back of his robe, I'd appreciate it.

There is one nice, restrained moment in here, when Ritchie Havens and Yvonne Elliman sing "Here Comes the Sun." Still, the Keith Moon skit I posted the other day, while not funny, is about 17 times better than this piece of glop. It's worth pointing out that the director of this Rolling Stone special was the same guy who directed the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, which was inflicted on the American public a year later. Watch it... if you dare.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

That's B-I-L-L...

I thought this quote from John Lennon was very interesting:

[Paul] is a great musician who plays the bass like few other people could play it. If you compare his bass-playing with the Rolling Stones's [sic] bass-playing, and you compare Ringo's drumming with Charlie Watts' drumming, they are equal to them, if not better. I always objected to the fact that because Charlie came on a little more 'arty' than Ringo and knew jazz and did cartoons, that he got credit. I think that Charlie's a damn good drummer, and the other guy a good bass-player, but I think Paul and Ringo stand up anywhere, with any of the rock musicians.

Now, I agree with the point he's trying to make, that Ringo is underrated as a drummer, and I appreciate that he's sticking up for his guy. But I do think Charlie Watts is a better drummer. No Beatles songs had the wholly original rhythm of a "Gimme Shelter" or "Let It Bleed" or even "Beast of Burden." Some of that might be because they never asked Ringo to play rhythms like that, and some of that might be the fact that Keith Richards was writing songs for Charlie to play, and Keith was the greatest rhythm guitar player ever. I suppose it's safer to say that Ringo didn't play as brilliantly as Charlie Watts, leaving open the question of whether he could have played as brilliantly as Charlie Watts.

But that's not the most notable thing about that quote. The most notable thing about the quote is that John Lennon clearly did not know the name of the bass player for the Rolling Stones.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More Stuff I Just Now Noticed

Toward the end of "Middle of the Road," Chrissie Hynde sings "I'm not the cat I used to be/I got a kid, I'm thirty-three, baby," shortly before she goes "purr-rowr!" As if that song needed to get any better.

It Takes a Stooge

While we're discussing unlikely interdisciplinary friendships, according to Repoz, Ron Asheton of Iggy and the Stooges at one point became good friends with Larry Fine of Moe and the Stooges. At least I think that's what he's saying; trying to figure out Repoz can be like trying to decipher Marlon Brando as he recites the lyrics of Stephen Malkmus.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Moon, Martin

I hesitate to link to the following, because it's not all that funny, nor even very entertaining, to tell you the truth. To start off with, it's at least twice as long as it needs to be. But it is of some historical interest nevertheless, because who would have guessed that Steve Martin and Keith Moon had ever even met one another?

Yet they did, and the evidence is here, on a program put together for the tenth anniversary of Rolling Stone magazine in 1977. Art Garfunkel sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which was probably something else, and Teri Garr, Mike Love, Bette Midler, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ted Neely, Jesus himself, all put in appearances. Steve Martin wrote it, although I hope he came up with some better sketches than this one:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

He'd Like to Come and Meet Us but He Thinks He'd Blow Our Minds

Do you know which song marked David Bowie's first foray into the U.S. Top Forty? It's probably not the song you're thinking of, so let's take a few moments first to dispose of what was not a Top Forty Bowie hit.

* "Space Oddity" was released as a single in the summer of 1969, timed to coincide with the moon landing. Bowie was 22 at the time. It went to Number Five in England, but failed to chart in the U.S. When it was re-released in 1973, it went to Number Fifteen on the Billboard charts - after the song we're looking for.

* The Man Who Sold the World came out in November 1970, and no singles were released from it. Face it, none of them would have been hits anyway, except maybe the title track.

* "Changes" was released as the first single from Hunky Dory on January 7, 1972. It peaked at Number 41 on the pop charts - oh so close!

* The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars was released on June 6, 1972; its first single was "Starman," which went to Number Ten in England. Here in the U.S., though, it topped out at Number 65. No other singles were released from Rise and Fall.

Finally, in November of 1972, Bowie put out something that Casey Kasem could talk about. In introducing the song on the countdown, Casey noted that its writer and producer was far more famous than the band that had recorded it. Casey mentioned that Time and Newsweek had both run stories on him despite that fact that he had yet to have a Top Forty hit of his own.

Thus it was that Mott the Hoople's "All the Young Dudes," reaching the Top Forty on November 4, 1972, and written, produced and featuring both backing vocals and handclaps by David Bowie, represented the first Top Forty hit of Bowie's career.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Now It Can Be Told

Friend of OPC Eric sends over news of the death of Paul Benedict, best known for his role as Mr. Bentley, next-door neighbor to George and Weezy Jefferson. Benedict was 70, although it seems like he should have been a lot older.

Now that he has left us, I feel free to reveal Paul Benedict's deep, dark secret: He was not British. Benedict was actually born in Silver City, New Mexico, of all places. But his voice and mien were perfectly English on The Jeffersons, and he even looked British. That had something to do with his acromegaly, which turned his jaw into a bony mass not unlike that of some middle-school don in Newcastle.

His dying words were: "Ja'net Du Bois lives on. Did I say that right?"

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sing It Again, Kurt

Many thanks to friend of OPC Gavin for posting the following on a long-dormant thread:

I can't believe I didn't think of this one at the time: in Nirvana's "Sliver," Kurt Cobain sings "Grandma take me home" 43 times (by my count). This knocks BTO off the leader board, and is even more impressive when you consider it all happens in just 2:17.

It seems to me that Nirvana did this sort of thing - heavy repetition of phrases that were not the title of the song - quite a bit. Kurt sings "Ann Maria" an awful lot in "All Apologies," for example. It's kind of a way to adhere to pop convention and disregard pop convention at the same time; Abba, I think it's safe to say, would never have given "Take a Chance on Me" a title like "Lithium."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Glippy Glop Glooby

If Barack Obama is serious about pushing his plan for a college-football playoff, and let's hope he's not, he'll have to deal with the man who rules the Bowl Championship Series, a fella named John Swoffford, who is also commissioner of the ACC. Back in the 1970s, Swofford played quarterback and defensive back for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

None of this would be of much interest to us, except that the Swofford family is bucking to claim the record for most disparate achievements by a pair of siblings. (That mark is now held by onetime Yankees outfielder Paul O'Neill and his sister, the food writer Molly O'Neill.) John Swofford's brother was named William Oliver Swofford, and under his middle name, he recorded such wimp-pop late-Sixties standards as "Good Morning, Starshine" and "Jean."

Johnny will have to set the mark all on his own, because Oliver died back in 2000. You might have missed it - it was the same day that Charles Schulz, Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Tom Landry died.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

You, You, You

OK, so I picked up that copy of Paul Simon's Lyrics, and flipped it open to the page containing "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard." Sure enough, it read, over and over again, "You, me and Julio down by the schoolyard." There was even a reproduced copy of Paul's handwritten lyrics, on ruled paper, which read, over and over again, "You, me and Julio down by the schoolyard."

I stand corrected.

I Just Wanna Sell

Hey, remember when I was talking about the cult-hero Gino Vannelli fan from Boston Celtics games? I think I've figured out who he is: A younger version of ubiquitous pitchman Billy Mays:

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Hunter Gets Captured by the Chairman

In 1970, Wanda Young, the former lead singer of the Marvelettes, recorded her first and only solo album, produced by Smokey Robinson. Before the album was released, though, Berry Gordy decided it had a better shot at success if it was sold as a Marvelettes album, so the album was re-christened The Return of the Marvelettes, even though Wanda was the only singer on the entire thing.

And what to do about the album cover? Smokey had the idea to create an image in an Outlaw Josey Wales fashion, with Wanda and the other two Marvelettes astride horses - except there were no other Marvelettes. So the artist got two female members of the Undisputed Truth to mount horses, took the cover shot, then airbrushed their faces out of existence: