After publishing Angel with a Broken Wing last Summer, my next thought was… what do I do now? Go to the beach?
After much rumination, I decided to write another book. I wanted to create a hard-boiled detective novel that took place near Philly. Should I try to make the story inspired by real events? Maybe…
I also wanted to make it about a couple of guys who were friends and decided to go into business together. Using the classic Hitchcockian premise of the common man getting caught up in extraordinary circumstances. I wanted to explore some of the darker sides of life but seen through the eyes of lighthearted unique characters. I also wanted something with a shorter, tighter timeframe than my previous book.
And, Below the Wheel was born.
Below the Wheel takes place over two weeks in the Summer of 1998.
Alex Hunter and Scott Appel are two ex-investment brokers turned private investigators. Burned out from the competitive sales environment of buying and selling stock, they open the Watchman Detective Agency in Camden NJ. They spend their days investigating disability claims for insurance companies and law firms. Occasionally, they perform surveillance on errant spouses and even solve a crime now and then. But Alex and Scott aren’t taken seriously by local law enforcement, especially the chief of detectives, Lt. Ezra Chambers, and his belligerent assistant, Sgt. Otis Guth.
Alex is the obsessive suit and tie-wearing overachiever, who drinks too much and lives dangerously. Lately, he’s been trying to tame some of his vices by quitting smoking and seeking some spiritual guidance from a local pastor. His life at the agency is a bit mundane, but Alex dreams of one day solving a really high-profile case.
Five years ago, he invested the inheritance of an attractive local newswoman Alyssa Ward. He was immediately smitten with her. But, the portfolio tanked, and she lost a small fortune. She blamed Alex for the loss and never spoke to him again. Recently her younger sister Jennifer disappeared, and Alex has taken it upon himself to find her. Jennifer always had a wild streak, and Alex thinks she may have been recruited to work in an exclusive sex club somewhere in Camden or Philly. The only problem is, no one knows where the club is located, or if it even exists.
His partner Scott is the laid-back one. He enjoys watching cartoons, listening to heavy metal, and smoking weed. He’d be happy to just work the cases they get referred, keep the agency in the black, and leave the exciting stuff to the police.
The guys share the office space with an insurance agent named Genevieve Bouchard. She’s an independent hard working woman but is trapped in a bad relationship with her abusive common-law husband Bruno Cartiglio. When Bruno’s not involved in some sort of sleazy activity, he’s working construction at one of the nearby bridges. Genevieve hates her life with Bruno but is afraid that if she leaves him, he’ll hurt her. Scott’s attracted to Genevieve, but she’s already involved in some dangerous activities.
During an unbearable heatwave, the boys are caught up in a bizarre case. The Camden Strangler, as the media call him, has been murdering prostitutes in the area.
A teenage girl named Luna, whose mother was the latest victim, turns to Alex and Scott for help. Scott is reluctant to take on a client who obviously can’t pay, but Alex sees it as an opportunity to be a hero and takes the case pro bono.
Alex enlists the help of coroner Ignatious Feeny, who gives him access to the morgue and autopsy information on the victims. Alex also picks the brain of the brilliant but cantankerous Robert Wick. He’s a professor of criminology at Rutgers University. Although he’s bound to a wheelchair, he’s a master of criminal profiling. He tells Alex that the only way to solve the case is to go where the killer goes and see what he sees. Subsequently, Alex is drawn into the dark and sleazy world of the skin trade.
The boys work the case and it’s full of twists, and red herrings. Will they ever figure out who’s doing the killings in Camden? Will Alyssa’s sister ever be found?
You’ll have to read the book and find out.
Planned Release Date: June 22, 2021
Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.
You probably swapped as many pretty awful first date horror stories with your friends as potential mates you’ve swiped left on Tinder. When it comes to horrible first dates, they’re no different than taxes or puberty: everyone hates them, but everyone’s gotta get through them. Thankfully, the very worst first dates often become hilarious stories in hindsight, though some remain, complete terrors, even years after the fact. Plus, many horrible first dates provide you excellent excuses to end a creepy-ass date before it goes too far. The people of Reddit shared their worst first dates and they definitely do not disappoint. You might have thought you had a date from Hell, but did you ever date somebody who claimed to know the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Didn’t think so.
“I went on a Tinder date in January that ended poorly. At the end, he tried to kiss me so I dodged, tripped over a curb, and broke my fibula while falling into traffic. The guy got down in the road with me, moved my hair behind my ear, and said, ‘We could tell people that we fell in love.'”
“He asks me out to dinner, but instead of a restaurant he pulls into an empty parking lot and pulls out his half flaccid dick. He looks at me with a shrug and goes ‘Eh!?’ I look him in the eye all stern like for a good minute before he zips up his pants and he drives me back home in complete silence. Only when we pull into my driveway he said ‘Your eyes are too big for your face…’ I just get out and start walking to my door, but he gets out too, I figure to apologize. But no, he tries to kiss me goodnight.”
“You Like Being Daddy’s Little Sl*t”
“So I matched with this dude who seemed nice, and we agree to meet up at a coffee shop. Talking is awkward, but from the get-go, he was giving me some neck-beardy vibes. Example: I complimented his American traditional style tattoo and his response was: ‘Huh I didn’t think girls would know anything about tattoos.’ Note that this was after me talking about the tattoos I have. He also tried to forcefully order for me, which I brushed off like ‘Lol no,’ figuring it was all whatever, he’s just nervous and trying to show off or some sh*t.
Everything was still going okay until he walked me to my car. We hugged, and he leaned in for a kiss. I think ‘Whatever, I don’t care, that’s fine.’ We were making out a little and I felt his hand moving up to my face, and I thought ‘Oh, okay, he’s just going to put his hand on the back of my neck or my chin or in my hair or whatever.
NOPE. I WAS WRONG. SO WRONG. This mother*cker decided it was a swell idea to start choking me. At this point, it would be pertinent to mention I’m a 5’8″ female of average size, and he was a 6’2″ stocky dude. I froze, because that’s my response to threatening situations, and he leaned over and whispered in my ear ‘Yeah, you like that? You like being daddy’s little sl*t.’ I was just sitting there waiting for him to let go of my neck because I am pinned against the car. I finally managed to stammer out a ‘Wuh-what’ and he proceeded to tighten his grip and repeat the question, to which my survival instincts are screaming “SAY WHAT YOU NEED TO” so I just managed to choke out ‘Yes sir’ and he let me go. I proceeded to get the f*ck out of there and chewed him out after the fact.”
Their Date “Knew” The Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse
“This was by far the most terrifying/hilarious date I had ever been on. Years ago, I was a junior in high school and he was in college. We had been texting casually for a few weeks. One weekend, he met my friend and me at a local concert. When it was over, the friend I got a ride from had to leave urgently, so this guy offered to drive me home. No big deal, I thought, I needed a ride. We went to dinner and it was very nice. Nothing weird nothing suspicious.
Then came the ride home. My house was about 45 minutes away through isolated freeways in the desert. (Accepting a ride was not my proudest moment, I admit) He talked the entire ride and it went from normal small talk to him saying that he has superpowers. He said that when he was in high school he went to an alternate dimension and couldn’t find his way back. The only way for him to find his way was to sell his soul to a merchant he found in this other dimension. When he got back to this dimension he had superpowers and could control people’s emotions. He then creepily leaned over and said ‘I can make you feel anything right now…’
He also said he knew the four horsemen of the apocalypse and that he was going to help me during the end of the world. At this point, I was convinced I was going to end up in a garbage bag on the side of the road. But I got home safe. Never talked to him again until he was my server at a restaurant years later and was extremely awkward.”
His Dead Cold Eyes
“A coworker who asked me out for a drink after work. He wasn’t really my usual type but always seemed sweet so I figured I’d give it a shot. We hit a bar, and all seems well until he apparently has one too many. He starts telling me stories about his past and how he was basically a knee-breaker/hitman for some crime organization out of Mexico. He gives me tons of details about methods and the going rates for XYZ. The stories get progressively worse and more graphic, but still, I’m not really believing any of this. I think he’s trying to (very weirdly) impress me.
He’s quiet for a minute, stares off into space, and then leans over to me and his eyes just go dead cold. He tells me that if someone paid him $5,000, he would cut off one of my hands. But since we’re friends, he would do it quick and clean at the wrist and put the hand on ice so I could possibly save it.
I start believing him then. I tell him I’m feeling sick and have to go home. I stayed ‘friendly’ with him at work until he eventually got fired for stealing from the bar – I was very concerned about the ramifications of no longer being on his good side.
I still don’t know if I believe his stories about being a hired killer, but I do believe that he fantasized about it deeply enough to scare the sh*t out of me. I’ve never been happier to see someone disappear.”
MJ In The House
“It was with a guy I worked with. He picked me up from my desk dressed up like Michael Jackson, including tape around his fingers and a surgical mask on his face. He was a plump, 5’6″ white guy with blond hair, making it somehow even weirder that he was trying to look like Michael Jackson.”
He Wanted Violence
“This one guy complained about how he resented that nobody would let him talk to them about the dark side of life, including violence. I mentioned that I have a hard time watching violence against animals on TV. (I meant reality TV shows that show stories of animals who have been abused.) His face perked up, and he asked which TV show had violence against animals. There was an eagerness in how he asked which creeped me the f*ck out. I left quickly.”
“I went to the cinema and I felt very uncomfortable with my date, so said I wanted to leave. He then proceeds to say, ‘Let me guess, nerves, overprotective parent, wanting to leave, have you been raped before?’ The date ended right there.”
“I have one that’s more ‘weird’ than it was terrible. It’s a doozy. When I was 19, I was working at a shop in a less-traveled part of downtown. It was wintertime, and my hometown is dead in the winter, so there was very little foot traffic. I was working alone on a Saturday night.
A cute backpacker guy came into the shop. At the time, I considered myself to have hippie leanings, so he was just my type (yeah, I had one long skirt and wore jewelry I bought from street vendors. That’s as far as that went. Totally pretentious and naive).
We got to chatting, and he said he’d just gotten into town and was looking for suggestions on ‘fun things to do.’ I directed him to the nearest nightclubs on the next block, and he left while I went about my business. He came back sometime later to tell me that the clubs weren’t really his scene, and invited me to hang out with him at his grandparents’ place, which was on lakefront property. I agreed to it, like an idiot, all excited and flattered that this hot scruffy guy had asked me ‘out,’ thinking it was romantic or some sh*t.
Well, I went there after I closed the shop down at 10 PM. I got to the address he had given me, and it looked like a nice enough place but there were no grandparents to be seen. I wondered briefly if he had just broken in to some random property, but he seemed familiar with a few key things. I stayed, and he made me Kraft Dinner, which was pretty cool.
Then, we sat inside and he began talking about all the occult/Illuminati symbols on the American dollar bill, that everything in the U.S. is a giant conspiracy run by them, etc., etc. At this point, I was feeling uncomfortable. He told me about some experience he had in Tofino (a small, hippie-ish town on Vancouver Island) where he was on the beach and apparently saw hippies come out of the forest, draw a big circle in the sand, and then dance and chant around it in the moon/candlelight (honestly, this one could have been true). He told me about some spooky supernatural experiences he had in Stanley Park in Vancouver that also cemented his belief in ghosts. Then – the kicker – he told me he could see auras. So far, all of this could be just some hippie/free-spirit guy talking about his beliefs, yes? But he said that he believed that he was descended from the wizard Merlin since Merlin had a grey aura and so did he. He believed he was a wizard and had some kind of powers and that’s why all these weird things kept happening to him.
I had to go.
I told him I had to work early. Then, I get outside and it was the first snowstorm of the year – hooray! I could barely get my car up the driveway but finally did (no way was I going back inside or considering staying the night). At the time, I thought he was weird but was more worried about driving in the snow or waking up my parents after being out so late. He texted me once or twice after that, but I kept telling him I was busy.
I should have known better. Way better. That was so, so dangerous. Nobody knew where I was, so I was extremely lucky that he was harmless. When I tell the story to friends, they laugh about my date with a wizard, but I shudder to think of how dumb I was – it’s more about that than about some kooky dude.”
Lick It Right Up
“When I was a senior in high school, I went out with this guy after school. We grabbed some smoothies, smoked a blunt, and were planning on doing the boop, until he picked a zit when he thought I wasn’t looking, and while his face bled he LICKED HIS FINGER. I thought I was going to puke”
“Got straight-up stabbed.’ Friends set me up on a blind date and swore I’d ‘totally love her.’ She was weird at the beginning of the date and just kept getting weirder – clingy and possessive, even though we’d just met, etc.
I excused myself to hit the restroom (the joys of beer) and she hauled to the back and stabbed me in the arm with her knife, claiming I was ‘totally running off on her to make out with the cute waitress.’
I got three stitches, she got an extensive psych hold.
There was no second date.”
“On a first date: ‘My great-grandfather’s name is Mario, my grandfather’s name is Mario, my dad’s Mario, I’m Mario, and if you don’t mind, I’ll be naming our child Mario.'”
“He picked me up at my house and had flowers and a bottle of wine, which for me was way too formal and awkward (I was 18 and he was 27). Then we went to the movies and he would not stop trying to finger me. I finally got so fed up about that I had him drive me home mid-movie .”
Private Time But Not In Private
“The guy kept touching himself. He also ran across the street and didn’t wait for me.”
Just A Little Casual Racism
“‘You’re definitely Chinese. How are you not Chinese?!’
I’m 100% Irish and no matter how many times I stressed this, he would not give up.”
A Parting Gift
“Picked up girl.
Drove to dinner, nice place.
Asks if it’s cool if she smokes.
She pulls out a blunt.
I get pissed off.
She blows smoke in my face.
I kick her out.
She stuck a bloody tampon to my car.”
Meet The Parents
“Dude I matched with online. I was really bored and I like to drive.
He lived about 45 minutes away, but it was up in Big Bear which is really pretty, and did I mention I was bored? He said his truck was broken so I said what the hell, I’ll drive up.
I finally found the place and he meets me outside. He doesn’t have a plan, just says we can go out to the marina by the lake and look at the stars. Ok, I’m hungry, but whatever. Well, the part of the marina we went to was not pretty. It was the backside, the creepy side with construction going on and no one around. I was freaking out a bit but had my knife on me and thought to myself not everyone is bad.
We looked at the stars, talk a bit, and then went back to his place. We walked in the door and his freaking parents were standing at the back door in their underwear looking at raccoons on the back patio. He even introduced me to them and I shook his dad’s hand while he was in nothing but his boxers!
I am too polite of a person and can’t believe it, but I actually went up to the dude’s room. Then he fell asleep on me and I snuck out.
The next day he wouldn’t stop calling me and sending me dick picks at work.”
A Point And A Wink
“I went on a date with a guy I had met online. He wanted to meet for drinks, so I went to the pub and waited. He showed up 20 minutes late on his bicycle, proceeded to come into the bar and down two pints after giving me a point and a wink. I overheard him tell the waitress to “put it on his tab” and then he came over to the table with another beer.
He proceeded to tell me about his two boys (no mention of them in our previous conversation) and how his mom wanted to take them all to Disney World. He told her that would be too expensive, so he left his boys at home and he and his mom went to Disney World instead. Then he proceeded to tell me that he rode his bike everywhere because after his sixth DUI, “those dumb cops” took his license away. He mocked me for drinking water, then in his next breath told me that he could really see falling in love with me. In 20 minutes, I got about ten words out, and most of them were me telling him I had to go.
I later found out that he worked for a friend’s father, and that he was married.”
“Got a call from a friend of a friend who I thought I’d met once before asking if I wanted to go out tomorrow (Saturday) night. Sure. I went out to her place about 40 mins away. I realized upon arrival that I didn’t actually know her name. We had dinner, talked, made out a bit, talked about going out again, made out some more, called it a night at around 1 am. I tried several ways to get her to reveal her name, to no avail. I dropped her off at her place, drove home, went to bed.
I realized the following morning that she had never spoken my name either, not on the phone or in person. I further realized that I didn’t have her phone number and called the mutual friend to ask for her number. A mutual friend had no idea who I was talking about. I gave him the address of the girl. He said he didn’t know anyone from that town and the address wasn’t familiar.
Never heard from her again.”
The Cats Out Of The Bag
“Date was dinner and a movie with a girl. We got the movie time wrong so went to dinner first. After ordering she starts looking at her phone a lot and has this weird look on her face. I ask what’s wrong she says her cat has gone missing. She goes outside to make a phone call and comes back 5 minutes later saying we have to go.
I get our food boxed and pay the bill. I drive her back to her dorm and she runs inside with no goodbye. I shrug it off and go eat my boxed cold dinner. Later that night I check Facebook and see her on a date with another guy. I send her a message asking how her cat is.”
Takeout To Take Her Out
“The girl asked if I could buy her something for takeout, mainly because her boyfriend only lets her see other people if he can get a meal out of it when she gets back home.”
From the onset, I want to make one thing perfectly clear,
Knowing for sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that your husband is gay is next to impossible until it’s a reality!
Take me for example, and many of the “married but gay” clients that I work with until we grow the balls to say, “Frankly my dear I’m gay,” it was pretty hard for most people to see it. Of course, there’s a whole subconscious layer of denial that prevails in the “gay but married to a heterosexual” world — for all concerned!
Most straight spouses who’ve been married to someone who finally ventures out of the closet (or is on the ‘down low’) will admit upon reflection that they had some inkling that something just didn’t fit in their relationship – no pun intended. Simply acknowledging a disconnect or a misalignment in the relationship doesn’t necessarily mean he’s gay.
However, in most cases, there are signs that heed the warning that the man you love is more attracted to men than to you.
The Definitive, Un-definitive Guide To Knowing If Your Husband Is Gay
1. He’s overtly homophobic.
As the media has shown us over and over again, many a man “comes out” by being forced out due to their blatant disdain towards homosexuality. Tangled in their own web of lies Mark Folley, Ted Haggard, Phil Hinkle, Jim McGreevey all played their “no gay me for me cards” only to be caught with their pants down with individuals of the same sex!
While not a 100% guarantee that your man’s playing for the other side, it does make you wonder, “Is he really that insecure, or is it a cover-up?”
2. He’s overly evasive or secretive.
Whether it’s protecting their emails and texts, or always changing the subject about where they’ve been, if your man is uber-sensitive in these areas, then there’s a good chance that one of two things is up:
He’s having an affair or
He’s gay and hiding his truth
(Of course, the third possibility is he’s gay and having an affair with a man.)
No matter what the reality is, something’s come up and it’s getting in the way of your relationship, so it’s time to get to the bottom of it – for the good of both of you!
3. Lingering and longing.
This one’s pretty straightforward – you catch your man checking out other men. Doesn’t matter if it’s in public, pics in magazines, or on the 52” screen of your home theater. When his eyes linger with hunger and desire on a fine specimen of the male species… something’s stirring (admittedly, it could be a simple “Bromance” — man-to-man admiration).
4. No more rocket in the pocket.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is either self-induced or the real deal. In the case of a man who’s fighting his core sexuality, it’s not uncommon for his spouse and her desires for sexual intimacy to be told to take a number and wait. Even special occasion sex (of the birthday and anniversary kind) gets wrapped up in the excuse of “Not now I’m really tired!”
Regardless of the reason, doing a little extra homework in this area to uncover the true reason for the lack, will help to reveal the truth and might just provide some intimate fun along the way.
5. Al Bundy Makeover
Even Peg Bundy would have perked up and thrown her sexual overtures at Al if he’d strutted into the room looking like Ryan Reynolds or Bradley Cooper. Often, his slightest shift in grooming, clothing style, and time spent at the gym leads to an extreme makeover that still doesn’t guarantee that Al’s heading back to your boudoir.
If your man’s looking finer than he ever did in college, leave some room for his own desire to better himself, but don’t be so naïve that it’s all just for his own good. He may be making himself good for the other man in his life!
Regardless of the reasons that are causing you to believe your man may be wandering to the other side of the fence (check out “No Hiding Your Gay” over at Truth Talks Blog), the sooner you get to the bottom of the situation the sooner you can release the suspicious energy. This is catabolic energy (destructive) that tears your energy stores down and prevents you from being able to manifest higher levels of anabolic (building energy).
For you men navigating this world of “straddling the sexuality fence,” I only share these observations with your female counterparts as a means to bring you both to a place of clarity. It’s your health and mental well-being that is at risk each day that you live hidden in the shadows of your truth. Regardless of how painful you may believe it to be “on the other side of the closet door,” truth is, it’s more painful and stressful to lead the dual life.
The toxic effect of chasing men who won’t give you what you want
When you crave romantic love, you can’t live without it. But, when you’re addicted to chasing emotionally unavailable men, love becomes intoxicating.
These men can drip feed you with bits of affection, which keeps you hanging on for more, even though they do not want a relationship. You can’t get enough of them, whereby you end up addicted to wanting someone who’s not that into you — a toxic love addiction or unrequited love.
Like a drug addiction, it all feels good at the beginning. Relationships can seem distorted through an altered perspective when you’re hanging out for it.
It all feels good until the intoxicating effects of the relationship start wearing off. After the rush and excitement, it all comes crashing down, until you want more to feel the same high.
You’ve become hooked on the relationship. But, what happens when the other person doesn’t want more? You can’t get enough of them, chasing them, and waiting for the next feel-good moment.
You can look towards men to make yourself feel good when you don’t feel good enough. You can project them to be everything you ever wanted. So, you end up getting hooked into feeling good about yourself, through the lens that you see them.
You can end up on a high from chasing someone who doesn’t want a relationship, due to the intoxicating feeling. The anticipation of seeing them excites you and overrides your sense of reality.
You may feel the urge for more and they don’t want it. Somehow, you get drawn to a person who is emotionally unavailable to you. You’re addicted to the excitement of chasing them. When you pine over them, you want them more, so you can feel good again.
When you are craving romantic love, you might ignore the signs that you are not loved back. Having a love addiction can distort your perspective when you hold onto the hope or the fantasy of obtaining unmet and one-sided love.
As a relationship therapist, I hear the agony of unrequited love from those who feel stuck chasing men who don’t love them.
You must be honest with yourself and face the brutal truth when you are in love with someone who is not that into you. Otherwise, you can become blind-sighted and in denial about the actual relationship.
So, why do you have a love addiction for men who are unobtainable in some way?
It is easy to stay attached because it feels better than accepting the reality that the relationship could be over.
Love is an addiction and it can feel good, even if it’s not good for you.
You do not want to acknowledge the actual truth, because you do not want to be alone, so you’ve created this fantasy that you are loved. You can project your hopes and fantasies onto them, feeling intense passion, that is one-sided. You see them as whatever you want them to be, to fulfill your unmet needs.
You can look to others to feel good about yourself when you feel not good enough. So, you end up getting hooked into feeling good about yourself, through the lens that you see them
You ignore the signs that love is one-sided because you cannot stop yourself from holding on. You can end up chasing them and put effort into a dead-end relationship. They may even tell you the relationship is over, but you do not believe them.
You may even be misguided to think that if you fight for the relationship, you will convince them to love you back. Like an addict, you’ll do whatever it takes to get that high.
Having an addiction to unavailable men means you hold onto those who do not love you because it feels better than getting over them.
It can feel worse to go without — temporally.
The toxic effects of the addiction to pursuing unavailable men diminishes your self-worth and self-esteem, so you feel worse about yourself. This can cause many to put more effort into a dead-end relationship that goes nowhere.
Sometimes, it’s hard to be honest with the situation. Your hopes and dreams can cause you to believe whatever you want, rather than see the truth.
You’ve become addicted to something that is toxic for you and became dependent on a relationship that doesn’t really exist.
You end up attracting men who do not want a relationship while sacrificing your chances of finding real love.
The only way to recover is to withdraw from the relationship and learn how to move on from the toxic love.
The truth is, you’ve become addicted when you get hit with the intoxicating feelings so that you end up wanting more. It can be hard to give up something that feels good but is not good for you.
So you settle for someone to escape the empty void within yourself, of feeling not good enough from unmet love. When you stop looking externally to feel good about yourself, and look within yourself, you can heal the addiction of loving someone who doesn’t love you back.
Nancy Carbone is a relationship therapist. If you notice you’re addicted to chasing emotionally unavailable men, you can schedule an appointment by contacting Nancy on her website at Counselling Service Melbourne or follow her on social media for more tips and advice.
If you were like me in the 1970’s you listened to top 40 radio most of the time. You heard a lot of great songs and instant classics. But among them were many unforgettable songs that were just weird or strange. I’ve tried from memory to remember the ones that stand out in my mind.
For weird reasons they became hits. They either made no sense or having any musical merit. Just a bizarre era of story songs.
Of course, this stuff is all pretty subjective but I did have a few criteria for what should be here. I decided to include a song if it:
made me sick without even listening to it again
made me want to break my radio
made my stomach turn
brought out violent thoughts of hatred, revenge, etc.
reminded me how lame the radio and record companies are
could make me want to break my stereo
would make me leave a bar or club if they started playing it
would make me boo a band who started playing it
suspended my belief in a divine force that governs the universe
I’m not saying that there weren’t ANY good songs during the 70s but there was just a truck-load of waste back then. If anybody’s stupid enough to think that ALL disco sucks, remember that it’s just a bastard son of rhythm & blues just like rock’n’roll is- so they’re related, see? Also, the 1970s definitely didn’t have a monopoly on shitty music- there was tons of crap unleashed on us in the decade before and after and now also (there’s a future article there somewhere). Clothes-pin anyone?
The 70’s was an interesting time for music. There was a lot of experimentation and creativity from that decade, but there was also plenty of crap as well. Here is my list of the worst and most irritating songs of the 70’s.
Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Gordon Lightfoot – 1975
Compared to the rest of the songs on this list, this song should win a noble prize. I only just figured out that the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald wasn’t an ancient mariners tale, but was an actual breaking news story. The actual wreck in Lake Superior which killed 29 crew members happened in November of 1975. Gordon read a story in Newsweek about the tragedy and wrote and recorded this song the following month. It came out the next summer and got all the way to number 2 on the singles chart, which is pretty amazing for a 6-minute sea shanty with no chorus. Lightfoot changed a few details. The boat was actually loaded for Detroit not Cleveland and has actually revised the lyrics as more details of the wreck came out over the years. The other songwriters on this list should take notice. This is how you tell a story in a song.
Run Joey Run – David Geddes – 1975
Ahh… this disaster.
David Geddes wrote a song, and this song was later revived in an episode of Glee. Struggling songwriter, Geddes was in law school when he got a call from a songwriter that thought his voice would be good for a song, called Run Joey Run. In this tragedy, both in terms of the story and this song, Joey sings about his dead girlfriend Julie who haunts him when he tries to sleep. She warns him not to come to her house because she’s been fighting with her father. We’re to believe that Julie is pregnant but she promises her dad that she and Joey will get married. (Just you wait and see) Of course, Joey comes to be by her side, her father tries to shoot him, but he hits her instead. Yes, even in the ME decade of the ’70s these are the lessons and the morals we grew up with.
I was 13 years old when this song came out. Even back then I knew it was an awful pile of garbage. But there’s something about it that has this weird, B-movie vibe to it. Now I actually kind of love it for its kitsch. I love songs and films that are made in earnest that are terrible. I guess that’s why Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax are some of my favorite shows. Stuff so bad, it’s good. This is a welcome tune to my list!
Shannon – Henry Gross – 1975
Henry Gross played Woodstock as part of the group Sha Na Na, and he was part of Jim Croce’s band. Sadly his own solo work was going nowhere. But he struck gold with a song about a dead dog. Not just any dead dog. While he was touring with the Beach Boys in 1975, Gross visited Carl Wilson’s house in LA. He mentioned that he owned an Irish Setter called Shannon, Wilson replied that he also had an Irish Setter named Shannon that had recently been killed by a car. That was enough to score a top ten hit and an afterlife when Casey Kasem went on a profanity-laced tirade in 1985 when his producers stuck a long-distance dedication of Shannon right after an up-tempo song by the Pointer Sisters.
If you listen to it you can feel the whole Beach Boys vocal sound in the chorus. The only thing that could make this song worse would be if Mike Love sang it. Not a terrible song, but just a weird subject for a tune. Back then I always thought it was about a girl that had died.
It’s also way too long…
Convoy – CW McCall – 1973
Advertising executive Bill Fries created an award-winning campaign for Old Home Bread, featuring a fictional truck driver named CW McCall. A few years later, at the peak of the CB radio craze, Fries got together with Chip Davis from Mannheim Steamroller and they put together a song that chronicled a CB conversation between Rubber Duck, Pig Pen, and Sod Buster, about a fictional trucker rebellion that drives from the West coast to the East coast of the country without stopping. The song is mostly dialogue, thick with CB lingo and an annoying earworm chorus, Convoy became a number one hit in 1975, it inspired a major motion picture in 1978 directed by the great Sam Peckinpah and starring Kris Kristofferson Ali McGraw and Ernest Borgnine. I would watch this movie for the laugh.
Kids… that’s the kind of thing that was possible in the ’70s.
Look at the body on Kristofferson in this rendering! Lookin’ ripped!
Wildfire – Michael Murphey and the Rio Grande Band – 1975
Murphey and Larry Cansler co-wrote “Wildfire” in 1968, shortly after Murphey emerged as a solo artist. Earlier in the decade, he had been part of a duo known as the Lewis & Clark Expedition (which had appeared and performed in an episode of I Dream of Jeannie) in 1968 with his fellow singer-songwriter Boomer Castleman. When Murphey rerecorded “Wildfire” for a new album in 1997, he was quoted by Billboard as saying that what many consider his signature song “broke my career wide open and, on some level, still keeps it fresh. Because that song appeals to kids and always has, it’s kept my career fresh.”
In a 2008 interview, Murphey talked about the origins of the song and the context in which it was written. He was a third-year student at UCLA, working on a concept album for Kenny Rogers (The Ballad of Calico). The work was demanding, sometimes taking more than twenty hours a day. One night he dreamed the song in its totality, writing it up in a few hours the next morning. He believes the song came to him from a story his grandfather told him when he was a little boy – a prominent Native American legend about a ghost horse. Murphey didn’t have a horse named Wildfire until a few years before the interview when he gave that name to a palomino mare.
The lyrics are those of a homesteader telling the story of a young Nebraska woman said to have died searching for her escaped pony, “Wildfire”, during a blizzard. The homesteader finds himself in a similar situation, doomed in an early winter storm. A hoot owl has perched outside of his window for six days, and the homesteader believes the owl is a sign that the ghost of the young woman is calling for him. He hopes to join her (presumably in heaven) and spend eternity riding Wildfire with her, leaving the difficulties of earthly life behind.
This song is not annoying or weird. It’s just a really unique story song that was very popular in the mid-70s. It’s kind of sappy, but also sort of beautiful and sad. I like it so I added it to this list.
Muskrat Love – The Captain and Tennille -1976
I really have to hand it to my readers on this one. I was discussing compiling this list with a few of my followers and they sent me some of their favorite weird songs. The Captain and Tennille clearly deserve a spot on this list, but they didn’t go for the obvious choice with “Love Will Keep Us Together” or “Do That to Me One More Time.” No, they wisely went with “Muskrat Love,” by far their hit that’s aged the worst. The song (originally called “Muskrat Candlelight”) was written by obscure country-rock artist Willis Alan Ramsey in 1972. The band America covered it in 1973, and the Captain and Tennille cut their own version of it in 1976. The song isn’t some sort of analogy. It’s about actual muskrats falling in love. They played it at the White House in 1976 when Queen Elizabeth II came for a visit. It’s unclear why the Ford Administration thought that was a good idea. If they came a year later, Jimmy Carter would have probably pulled in a better act.
If you google pictures of them, Daryl always looks like he’s uncomfortable and doesn’t want to be in any photos with her. I can’t blame him.
Tennille filed for divorce from Dragon in the State of Arizona on January 16, 2014, after 39 years of marriage. Dragon was unaware of the termination of his marriage until he was served with the divorce papers. The divorce documents referenced health insurance or health issues, and Tennille had written on her blog in 2010 that Dragon’s neurological condition, similar to Parkinson’s, known as essential tremor, was characterized by such extreme tremors he could no longer play keyboards. Dragon later stated that some of his health problems were the result of errors in dosing his medication.
In 2016, Toni Tennille, Tennille’s memoir (co-written with niece Caroline Tennille St. Clair) was published. In it, Tennille painted an unflattering picture of Dragon and their years together.
Dragon and Tennille remained close friends until his death from complications of kidney failure on January 2, 2019, in Prescott, Arizona. Tennille was at his side when he died.
I always thought of Toni Tennille as a poser who sang flat with little range. They’re like a bad act you’d see in a hotel lounge in the middle of nowhere. This song is trash and I can’t believe why anyone would focus their songwriting energy on such an odd subject.
On a final note, the weird solo that sounds like little farts is supposed to be Muskrat Love sounds.
It’s just Awful!
I hate her and this song too. She just comes off like the type of person that would be best friends with Kate Gosselin.
You’re Having My Baby – Paul Anka – 1974
Nobody disputes the fact that Paul Anka is brilliant – the man wrote “My Way” for God’s sake. That feat alone earns him a spot on the Songwriters Hall of Fame. But in the summer of 1974 he released “(You’re) Having My Baby,” an uber-saccharine song about a man overjoyed about the news that his wife is pregnant. The song hit home for a lot of Americans, and it gave Anka his first Number One since 1959’s “Lonely Boy.” It’s aged about as well as a rancid bucket of sweet and sour pork. New life was breathed into the tune in 2009 when it was featured on Glee. Finn sang it to Quinn while having dinner with her parents. At the time, he didn’t know that Puck was the real father and that Quinn’s dad would throw her out of the house after hearing the news.
In 2018, heavy metal singer Glenn Danzig invited Anka onto the main stage at the Wacken Open Air Festival to sing “(You’re) Having My Baby.” Despite not having sung the song live in nearly 40 years, Anka agreed and appeared with Danzig wearing bell-bottom pants and a plaid shirt with a butterfly collar.
Less than thirty seconds into the song, the crowd of roughly 66,000 expressed their disgust with boos and empty beer bottles, forcing the two to stop singing. Unable to quell the crowd with offers of singing “Long Way Back from Hell” and “Do You Wear the Mark” together, Anka and Danzig fled the stage shortly before the frenzied crowd stormed the stage.
“These kids don’t know Anka as I know him,” Danzig later said through tears. “When I first heard ‘You’re Having My Baby,’ I knew that’s what I wanted to do in life.”
Despite the underwhelming catastrophe of the Wacken Open Air Festival, other heavy metal singers have followed suit with Danzig’s idea. Paul Anka is currently collaborating with thrash-metal band Slayer and an album is due in stores during the summer of 2021.
Watch the performance. Notice how Paul is up on stage singing it by himself? Odia Coates the woman who sings the duet with him isn’t with him on stage. She’s sitting on a bench at the piano. Was a white man and a black woman standing next to each other on stage singing about how he’s so happy he got her pregnant and she’s keeping their mixed-race baby, too controversial for 1974? I don’t know. Just sayin’…
My mother hated this song and so did I. My mother appreciated good music and couldn’t understand why someone would write a song like this. If you listen to the song you’ll hear how gross this song really is. “You could have swept it from your life, but you didn’t do it.” Nice Roe vs. Wade reference, Paul.
Watching Scotty Grow – Bobby Goldsboro – 1970
is a song written by country music singer-songwriter Mac Davis and recorded by Bobby Goldsboro in 1970 on his album, We Gotta Start Lovin. Davis recorded his version on his 1972 album, I Believe in Music.
This song deals with a father witnessing the activities of his son growing up, while the father does his usual laid-back adult activities. The phrase, “that’s my boy” is used in all 3 verses. One of the verses, “Mickey Mouse says thirteen o’clock,” refers to the Mickey Mouse watches which were popular at the time.
Who the hell told Bobby Goldsboro that this was a good haircut? It looks like a fur helmet. But I digress. I hate this song. It’s so sappy. The lyrics just make me want to puke. If my handlers asked me to record a song like this I would have quit the music business.
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