Since Blair says sometimes he stares at the wall a lot, I decided to write a parody called “Staring All Day at the Wall” to the tune of The Statler Brothers’ “Flowers on the Wall”:
Isn’t it better to be a ham than to just spend your spare time watching porno? That may be debatable, but in any case, I wrote a parody called “Be a Ham” to the tune of The Guess Who’s “Share the Land”:
The first song parody was about Blair getting X-rayed and is to the tune of Toto’s “Hold the Line”. It’s called “Hold the Whine”:
The second song parody was all about working for Fred and is to the tune of Bob Dylan’s Maggie’s Farm. This one is called “Fred’s Company”:
First, a parody of “Thunder Island” that I made, called “Fire Island” (it’s about BWPBT).
Here’s a parody of The Beatles’ “Golden Slumbers” that I made, and it’s all about Blair, Mary Gate and BWPBT. This one premiered in the fourth hour of last week’s Six of One show.
Paul Revere, founder and keyboard player for the rock band Paul Revere & the Raiders, died at the age of 76. Paul Revere & the Raiders trace their origins to a band called the Downbeats, which featured Revere (born Paul Revere Dick) and singer Mark Lindsey. The band changed its name to Paul Revere & the Raiders in 1960 on the eve of their first recod release for Gardenia Records.
The band had a regional hit in the Pacific Northwest in 1961 with the instrumental “Like Long Hair”; it got enough national attention to reach #38 on the Billboard Hot 100. At this point, Revere was drafted for military service. As a conscientious objector, he worked as a cook in a mental institution for a year and a half. In the meantime, the other Raiders, hoping to capitalize on the momentum of “Like Long Hair”, toured in the summer of 1961, with Leon Russell taking Revere’s place on piano.
By the summer of 1962, Revere and Lindsay were working together again, but they were the only remaining members from the previous incarnation of Paul Revere & the Raiders. They were signed to Columbia Records, and in 1965, the began recording a string of garage rock classics, emulating the sound of British Invasion bands while adding an American R&B feel. Their first major national hit, “Just Like Me” (U.S. #11) was the first in a string of hits. Their hits from this period included “Kicks”, “Hungry” and “Good Thing”. By mid-1967, they were Columbia’s top-selling rock group.
Changing tastes in the late 1960s soon rendered the group unfashionable, but they still continued to have modest hits through the rest of the decade. In 1970, they shortened their name to The Raiders, and even had a number one hit with “Indian Reservation” in 1971 (the title track from their then-current LP), a song which was buoyed by Revere’s promotional gambit of riding cross-country four times to plug the song. By 1972, Columbia was sinking money into newer acts, and none of their subsequent singles reached the Top 40. The band was relegated to oldie act status, playing state fairs and amusement parks. Mark Lindsey left the band in 1975, effectively ending the classic Raiders period. Revere would continue to tour with the Raiders for many years, although no new Raider material was recorded after 1976.
Cover art for Linus of Hollywood's "A Girl That I Like".
Kevin Dotson (born March 4, 1973) was born in Omaha, Nebraska and spent his formative years in Florida. He learned to play guitar at age five, and later learned to play bass, drums, and piano. When Dotson was twenty-one, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. By mid-1995, he formed the punk-pop band Size 14 (named after his shoe size). This band released an well-received album on Volcano Records in 1997. When the band broke up in 1998, Dotson began his solo career. He released his first solo album, “Your Favorite Record”, in August 1999. The album was recorded in Dotson’s bedroom recording studio and was held in high regard by most critics. His second album, “Let Yourself Be Happy” (2001), was generally not received as favorably as his first album, but received mostly favorable reviews. Dotson turned to production, producing such artists as Paul Gilbert, Bowling for Soup and Charlatans U.K. In October 2006, he released his third album, “Triangle”. He followed it up with two compilation albums: “Attractive Singles” (2008), which combined previously released tracks with some new ones and “Reheat and Serve” (2008), which contains twelve previously unreleased tracks. His next release was “A Girl That I Like”, a digital single released in March 2011. This is today’s featured single.
“A Girl That I Like” delivers what we have come to expect from Dotson: a delicately beautiful melody, accompanied by guileless lyrics: “There’s a girl that I like/ And she’s coming by at 12/Until then I’ll be countin’ down the time/And we’ve kissed a few times/I’m not sure what it means/But ever since, she’s always on my mind”. Dotson claims he wrote the song for a girlfriend, who once texted him, asking, “What are you doing?” He replied “I’m texting with a girl that I like”, and proceeded to use that as the title for a song, which he wrote in about fifteen minutes. “It just really captured a moment and a feeling.” Like many of Dotson’s compositions, “A Girl That I Like” is a heartrending, well-crafted pop song, one that has this fan looking forward to his next full-length album.
Cover for Yo La Tengo's "Tom Courtenay" single.
Yo La Tengo was formed in 1984 in Hoboken, New Jersey by the husband-wife duo of Ira Kaplan (guitar, vocals) and Georgia Hubley (drums, vocals). They were soon joined by Dave Schramm (lead guitar) and Dave Rick (bass). This lineup recorded the single “The River of Water” b/w “A House Is Not a Motel”, released in November 1985. Soon afterward, Rick left the band and was replaced by Mike Lewis (ex-DMZ and Lyres). The band signed with Coyote Records, who issued the band’s debut album, “Ride the Tiger” (1986). Both Schramm and Lewis soon left the band. Kaplan took over lead guitar duties, and Stephan Wichnewski was recruited to play bass. This lineup recorded “New Wave Hot Dogs” (1987), an album that sold poorly but represented a step forward for the band, with a harder-rocking sound than on their first album. “President Yo La Tengo” (1989) was a critical success, but sold poorly, and was their last album on Coyote Records. It was also Wichnewski’s last album with the band, as he quit soon afterward. Yo La Tengo continued as a duo for a time, but Kaplan and Hubley reunited with Schramm for the band’s fourth album, “Fakebook” (1990), released on Bar None Records. They also released the “This Is Yo La Tengo” EP (1991), after which James McNew joined the band on bass, forming the lineup that has continued to this day. The band switched to Alias Records for “May I Sing with Me” (1992). In 1993, Yo La Tengo signed with Matador Records and released “Painful” (1993), a creative shift for the band, with more atmospheric and ambient sounds. Their next album was “Electr-O-Pura” (1995); the first single from the album was “Tom Courtenay”. This is today’s featured single.
“Tom Courtenay” is one of the more infectious pop songs Yo La Tengo has written; the nostalgic lyrics, evoking Swinging London (“Julie Christie, the rumors are true/As the pages turn, my eyes are glued/To the movie star and his sordid life/Mr. X and his old-suffering wife”), punctuated by a catchy guitar melody. But the song never becomes a conventional pop tune, lacking a standard verse-chorus-verse structure (there is no chorus), and the lead vocals eventually become overtaken by the silly “ba-ba-ba” backing vocals. Eventually, the song dissolves into a mixture of feedback, distortion and noise, but it’s the catchy hooks and melody that helped turn “Tom Courtenay” into a minor hit.
The Digipak “Tom Courtenay” single also contains three non-album tracks: “Treading Water”, “Bad Politics”, and “My Heart’s Reflection (Take 3)”. “Treading Water” is an ethereal, moody almost-psychedelic piece, with Georgia Hubley contributing the lead vocals, with rather subdued drum-playing. “Bad Politics”, on the other hand, is a punk-sounding song in which the amps are cranked to eleven and the feedback and distortion seem to be maximized. “My Heart’s Reflection (Take 3)” is a restrained song, with Kaplan almost whispering his vocals over a soft guitar melody. None of these songs are as essential as “Tom Courteney”, but all are worth a listen.
The single (catalog #: OLE 139-2) was released on Matador Records.”Electr-O-Pura” was the first album on which songs were credited to all members, which would become the norm for future releases. The band would follow it up with “I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One” (1997), one of Yo La Tengo’s most critically acclaimed albums. Next came “And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out” (2000), an album of subdued art-pop songs.
Picture sleeve for Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party" single.
Oingo Boingo was formed in 1972 as The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo by Richard Elfman, and was a musical theater troupe in the tradition of Spike Jones and Frank Zappa. This version of the group contained as many as fifteen members, but the core personnel were Elfman, Leon Schneiderman (saxophone) and Sam “Sluggo” Phipps (saxophone, clarinet). They were soon joined by Richard Elfman’s brother, Danny Elfman (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion) and Dale Turner (trumpet, trombone). Few recordings of this period exist, although they did release a novelty record about the Patty Hearst kidnapping called “You Got Your Baby Back”. By 1976, Richard Elfman turned his attention to filmmaking, and leadership of the band shifted to Danny Elfman. That same year, the band appeared on “The Gong Show”, avoiding being gonged and scoring 24 out of a possible 30 points. They also appeared in the movie “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden”.
By 1979, the band had added Steve Bartek (lead guitar), John “Vatos” Hernandez (drums) and Kerry Hatch (bass) to the lineup. Richard Gibbs (keyboards) joined the band in 1980, making the band an octet. In October 1979, Oingo Boingo released a demo EP, limited to 130 pressings for radio stations and A&R representatives. The band signed with I.R.S. Records and released their first official release in September 1980, the “Oingo Boingo” EP, released in both 10-inch and 12-inch formats. The success of this EP led to the band signing with A&M Records, who released their first full-length album, “Only a Lad” (1981). They released their second album “Nothing to Fear” the following year. Their next album, “Good for Your Soul” (1983), was their last album on A&M Records, and also their last album with Richard Gibbs. The band signed with MCA Records and made two personnel shifts: Mike Bacich took over for Richard Gibbs, and John Avila replaced departing Kerry Hatch. They released their fourth album, “Dead Man’s Party” (1985), and released two singles from the album: “Weird Science” and “Dead Man’s Party” b/w “Stay”. This is today’s featured single.
“Dead Man’s Party” is a song with an interesting, minor-key melody, accentuated by interesting percussion and, as always, Oingo Boingo’s horn section. The band’s quirky sense of humor is in evidence in the song’s lyrics: “I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go/Walkin’ with a dead man over my shoulder/Waiting for an invitation to arrive/Goin’ to a party where no one’s still alive”. About 3 minutes and 50 seconds into the track, there is an instrumental break with a tuneful keyboard solo. Overall, the track is a good example of the tighter, more commercial sound manifest on the parent album, which made “Dead Man’s Party” a good candidate for Oingo Boingo’s true breakthrough album.
The B-side of the single, “Stay”, is another track from the parent album, “Dead Man’s Party”, and is driven by a catchy guitar riff, punctuated as always by the horn section, and with somewhat more melodic percussion than on the other tracks. The lyrical content enhances the song: “This is not the first time–You had to get away/This is not a party–Where people know your name/This is not a classroom–With teacher at the board/This is not a cat show–With prizes at the door”. The protagonist may not be able to spell out what his relationship with his significant other is, but at least he knows what it isn’t. “Stay” is a worthwhile track and further evidence of the evolution of the band’s sound. The song was also used as the theme music for the Brazilian soap opera “Top Model”.
The single (catalog #: MCA-23638) was released on MCA Records with a picture sleeve. There was also a 12-inch version of the single with extended mixes of both songs. The band released “Boi-ngo” (1987), which was not a major hit, and subsequently replaced Bacich with new keyboardist Carl Graves. They released “Boingo Alive” (1988), a two disc set containing versions of their older songs re-created on a soundstage without a live audience and several previously unreleased tracks. They next released their sixth studio album, “Dark at the End of the Tunnel” (1990). The band was then dropped by MCA and signed with Giant Records. Graves was dropped from the lineup, and the band added Warren Fitzgerald (guitar), Marc Mann (keyboards) and Doug Lacy (accordian). This lineup recorded “Boingo” (1994), an album which contains some of the longest songs in the Oingo Boingo catalog. The band broke up in 1995 following a final Halloween concert at the Universal Amphitheatre.
Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lover's "Roadrunner" single.
Jonathan Richman was born on May 16, 1951 in Natick, Massachusetts and began playing and writing his own music in the mid-1960s. He became infatuated with the Velvet Underground, and in 1969 moved to New York City and lived on the couch of their manager, Steve Sesnick (later moving to the Hotel Albert), worked odd jobs, and tried to break into the music industry. Having failed at that, he moved back to Massachusetts. In Boston, Richman formed The Modern Lovers. Also in the band were guitarist John Felice, bass player Rolfe Anderson, and drummer David Robinson (later of The Cars). In 1971, both Anderson and Felice left the band and were replaced by bassist Ernie Brooks and keyboardist Jerry Harrison (later of Talking Heads). In April 1972, The Modern Lovers went to Los Angeles and recorded two demo sessions: the first for John Cale (ex-Velvet Underground) and the second for A&M Records. In early 1973, the band was signed by Warner Bros., but by the end of the year, Richman wanted to scrap their recorded tracks and start anew with a mellower, more lyrical sound. As a result, Warner Bros. withdrew their support and the original Modern Lovers broke up in February 1974. In 1975, Richman moved to California to record as a solo artist with Beserkley Records. Several of his tracks appeared on the “Beserkley Chartbusters” (1975) compilation LP. In January 1976, Richman put together a new lineup of The Modern Lovers, with Greg “Curly” Keranen on bass, Leroy Radcliffe on guitar, and David Robinson returning on drums. Two albums were released in 1976: “The Modern Lovers”, which consisted of material recorded by the previous incarnation of the band (with six of the nine tracks taken from the John Cale sessions), and “Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers”, recorded by the new version of the band. In 1977, a single from the first album reached #11 in the U.K.: “Roadrunner (Once)” b/w “Roadrunner (Twice)”. This is today’s featured single.
“Roadrunner” is a garage rock classic, one that features three chords (D and A, and only two bars of E), and, by most accounts, is a nod to the Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray”. Supposedly, Richman wrote the song by 1970, and began performing it in public. John Felice recalled the original inspiration for the song: as teenagers he and Richman “used to get in the car and just drive up and down Route 128 and the Turnpike. We’d come up over a hill and he’d see the radio towers, the beacons flashing, and he would get almost teary-eyed. He’d see all this beauty in things where other people just wouldn’t see it.” The can be thought of as almost a one-chord song, as it leans very heavily on D throughout the song, which in some ways is more of a chant, a Chuck Berry/Bo Diddley-style rock anthem. The lyrics almost seem to be improvised: “Gonna drive past the Stop ‘n’ Shop/With the radio on/I’m in love with Massachusetts/And the neon when it’s cold outside”, and there are slight differences between the lyrics in this version and the ones in “Roadrunner (Twice)”. The lyrics also seem somewhat nonsensical, suggesting that the content is of secondary importance. Nevertheless, the song has an endearing quality, with it’s introductory count off (“One, two, three, four, five six!”), and its lyrical refrain of “radio on”. “Roadrunner (Once)”, recorded in late 1974, stands as one of the great precursors to punk rock; ironically, by the time this song was released, Richman had moved on to more laid-back, acoustic music.
The B-side of the single, “Roadrunner (Twice)”, is the version of “Roadrunner” that was recorded at the Cale sessions in 1972 (and had been previously released on “The Modern Lovers” LP, entitled “Roadrunner”). This version is considered by many to be the stronger take, with Richman sounding someone more passionate and less disaffected than on the 1974 version. (This version was also released on the “Berserkley Chartbusters” LP.) Although the A-side is the better-known of the two, both takes are worth a listen.
The single (catalog #: BZZ 1) was released in June 1977. The Modern Lovers subsequently released “Rock ‘n’ Roll with the Modern Lovers” (1977), “Modern Lovers ‘Live’” (1978), and “Back in Your Life” (1979). The band subsequently broke up, after which Richman took a sabbatical before forming a new Modern Lovers lineup in 1980. This lineup released “Jonathan Sings!” (1983), after which the band broke up again. Richman again formed a new lineup up the band, releasing “Rockin’ and Romance” (1985) and “Modern Lovers 88” (1988) before retiring the moniker Modern Lovers and embarking on a “true” solo career.
The Feelies' "Everybody's Got Something to Hide (Except Me and My Monkey)" single.
The Feelies were formed in Haledon, New Jersey in 1976 when Glenn Mercer (guitars, vocals), Bill Million (guitars, vocals, keyboards), Dave Weckerman (percussion), and Richard Reilly (vocals) began playing together in a band called the Outkids. The Outkids evolved into the Feelies with the departure of Reilly and the addition of Vinny DeNunzio (drums) and John J. (bass). The revamped group quickly created a buzz throughout the New York City new wave circuit, with the Village Voice dubbing them “The Best Underground Band in New York”. Anton Fier replaced Vinny DeNunzio in 1978, and Keith DeNunzio (Vinny DeNunzio’s brother) replaced John J. in 1979. This lineup of Mercer, Million, Keith DeNunzio and Fier released their debut single, “Fa Cé-La”, on Rough Trade Records (an independent British label) in 1979. The band’s refusal to work with outside producers jeopardized their immediate hopes for a major label deal, and as a result their debut album, “Crazy Rhythms” was released on another independent British label, Stiff Records in April 1980. The debut single from “Crazy Rhythms” was “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide (Except Me and My Monkey)” b/w “Original Love”, released in February 1980. This is today’s featured single.
“Everybody’s Got Something to Hide (Except Me and My Monkey)” is a rambunctious cover version of The Beatles song from the White Album that rips along at an even faster pace than the original. At the same time, the percussion on the track (especially the drums) are very restrained, and as always, The Feelies bring their unique vocal style into the mix. Although The Feelies were usually categorized as a new wave band, this track exemplifies the eclecticism of the band, with their sound seemingly incorporating elements of different genres without being easily pigeonholed into any of them. This is one of the better songs from “Crazy Rhythm”, and a worthy choice for the debut single.
The B-side of the single, “Original Love”, is one of the original tracks from “Crazy Rhythms” (all the songs on the parent album, except for “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide (Except Me and My Monkey)” and a cover version of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” were penned by Glenn Mercer and Bill Million). Nowhere near as raucous as the A-side, it has a somewhat mournful-sounding melody, to accompany lyrics about a relationship gone awry (“You said no commitment/When I asked you for a compromise/Just a compromise/Now I don’t know why I ask you/It’s always such a problem/Why make it a problem”). I liked the tremolo-like opening guitar chords, and the song proceeds along at a brisk pace, and the wailing background vocals were a nice touch. There is also a brief instrumental break about a minute and a half into the song (which lasts about thirty seconds). This is another good song by the band, and a nice counterpoint to the A-side.
The single (catalog #: BUY 65) was released on Stiff Records. Unusual for a Stiff Records BUY single, there was no picture sleeve; instead, a company sleeve was issued with it; the specially-designed label is shown above. Although “Crazy Rhythms” was a critical favorite, its lack of commercial success sat badly with Stiff, who began pressuring the band to release a hit single. Fier and DeNunzio left the band, and The Feelies were in limbo throughout much of the early 1980s. The band emerged from its hiatus with their second album, “The Good Earth” (1986), released in the U.S. on Coyote/Twin/Tone Records, which saw the original core of Mercer and Million augmented by new members Dave Weckerman (percussion), Brenda Sauter (bass) and Stan Demeski (drums). The band signed with A&M Records and released “Only Life” (1988); A&M also released their next album, “Time for a Witness” (1991). The band played their final gig at Maxwell’s in Hoboken on July 5, 1991. Subsequently, Bill Million moved to Florida without telling any of his bandmates or even leaving a forwarding address, marking the end of The Feelies after about fifteen years. The band reunited in 2008, and after several warm-up shows at Maxwell’s, they performed with Sonic Youth at Battery Park that year. A reunion album, “Here Before”, was released on April 12, 2011.
Weezer's "Say It Ain't So" limited edition 10-inch vinyl single.
Weezer was formed in Los Angeles in 1992 by Rivers Cuomo (vocals, guitar, keyboards, drums, harmonica), Patrick Wilson (drums), Jason Cropper (guitar, vocals), and Matt Sharp (bass, vocals). Their first gig was opening for Dogstar; soon their self-released “Kitchen Tapes” attracted attention from major label A&R representatives, and they signed with Geffen Records in June 1993. From August to September 1993, the band recorded their debut album at Electric Lady Studios in New York City (Rik Ocasek produced the album). During the recording of the album, Brian Bell replaced Jason Cropper. The album was released in May 1994, and was certified gold by the end of the year, eventually selling over 3 million copies. It spawned three singles: “Undone – The Sweater Song” (U.S. #57), “Buddy Holly” (U.S. #17), and “Say It Ain’t So”/”No One Else” [Live]/ “Jamie” [Live]. “Say It Ain’t So” is today’s featured single.
“Say It Ain’t So” is one of the more ponderous songs from the band’s debut album; it’s a catchy, tuneful song, but it is also a really emotional song, in which the protagonist sings about obviously painful childhood memories: “Flip on the tele’ /Wrestle with Jimmy /Something is bubbling /Behind my back/The bottle is ready to blow”. Here Rivers Cuomo draws an analogy between memories of childhood bubbling to the surface and an exploding soda bottle, with obvious effect. Cuomo claims the song was inspired by an incident that occurred when he was in high school. He saw a beer bottle in the refrigerator, and suddenly realized his parent’s marriage may have failed due to his father’s drinking, and that the marriage between his mother and stepfather might fail for the same reason. The middle bridge is powerful too, in which the singer dictates a letter to his estranged father: “Dear Daddy/I write you in spite of years of silence/You’ve cleaned up, found Jesus/Things are good or so I hear/This bottle of Steven’s awakens ancient feelings/Like father, stepfather, the son is drowning in the flood”. This gives way to a mournful-sounding guitar solo, with the guitar whining much like the singer. The song ends with the same simple guitar melody with which it opened, a nice flourish that perhaps suggests the Ocasek touch. “Say It Ain’t So” was the least successful of the three singles from “Weezer”, lacking either the sly novelty of “Undone” or the mass appeal of “Buddy Holly”, but in spite of that, “Say It Ain’t So” suggested that “Weezer” was capable of tackling more solemn topics in their music.
The U.K. release of the single also contains two live acoustic tracks. The first is a version of “No One Else”, the studio version of which was included on “Weezer”. In it, the singer maligns his current girlfriend (“My girl’s got a big mouth with which she babbles a lot/She laughs at most everythin’ whether it’s funny or not/And if you see her tell her it’s over now”) and yearns for a girl who will “laugh for no one else”. It is a bit strange to hear a melancholy, stripped-down version of the song – the track does not pack the same punch without the full Weezer power pop treatment. Still, it was interesting to hear.
The last track on the single is “Jamie”, an ode to the band’s lawyer, and the better of the two acoustic tracks. The song contains typically humorous lyrics (“You’ve got the Beach Boys, and your firm’s got the Stones/But I know you won’t leave me alone”), and compelling harmony vocals (especially the “hoo-ooo-ooo” during the chorus). This song will likely only be of interest to the hardcore Weezer fan, but is a worthy addition to the band’s catalog.
The single (catalog #: GED 22064) was issued by Geffen in the United States on CD in July 1995. It was issued in the U.K., both on CD and on vinyl (as a 10-inch single). By the time this single was released, the band was already at work on a second album; the resulting album, “Pinkerton” (1996) was seen as a commercial failure compared to the multi-platinum success of “Weezer”; the album eventually went gold, however, and has sold over 800,000 copies. This would be Matt Sharp’s last album with the group; he was replaced by Mikey Walsh. After a lengthy hiatus, the band returned in 2001 with “Weezer” (a.k.a. “The Green Album”). The album debuted at #4 in the U.S. and was soon certified platinum, confirming the fact that the band had retained a loyal fan base during its hiatus. Mikey Walsh, who had checked into a psychiatric hospital was replaced by Scott Shriner before the recording of their next album, “Maladroit” (2002), which received generally favorable reviews. The live EP “The Lion and the Witch” was released later that year. Their next album, “Make Believe” (2005), proved to be their highest-charting album in the U.S., peaking at #2 and selling over 1.2 million copies. The Rich Rubin-produced “Weezer” (a.k.a. “The Red Album”) followed in 2008; the following year, they released “Raditude”, which was also their last album for Geffen (they announced their departure from the label in December 2009). They signed with the independent label Epitaph, which released “Hurley” (2010) and the compilation album “Death to False Metal” (2010).