The Weirdest, Creepiest and Most Annoying Songs of the 70’s – Part 10

This is the final chapter of this series! Thanks so much for reading it and following me on this strange journey.

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.

Paper Lace, a British group – 1974

The Night Chicago Died. A fictional shootout between members of Al Capone’s gang and police. Based on The Valentine’s Day Massacre between Capone’s men and Bugs Moran’s gang. Police weren’t involved, and no one died. There was never a showdown where 100 officers were killed. They also mention the East Side of Chicago, which isn’t really a thing. Just like the girl born and raised in South Detroit, in the Journey song Don’t Stop Believing’. But the guys in Paper Lace just figured there was an East Side to everywhere. It’s a catchy song, and well done, but it’s a strange song.

Billy Don’t Be a Hero – Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods  – 1974

I think because of its anti-war sentiment, a lot of people thought this was about the Vietnam War. This song went to number 1 on the charts. I think it’s about the Civil War. Rolling Stone has voted it as one of the worst songs ever made. I remember hearing this song on the radio back then. One of the girls in my class sang along with it at an assembly at school one day. Her version was worse because she seemed to be terrified to be on stage in front of everyone, but the song is an odd choice.

Look at the ridiculous outfits on these guys. Mummer’s Parade much? Elvis called, he wants his wacky sequined jumpsuits back.

Angie Baby – Helen Reddy – 1974

Was 1974 the year of weird songs? Helen Reddy already had two huge hits with I Am Woman and Delta Dawn. Written by Alan O’Day. Who knows why she did this song. This song is about a weird girl who gets kicked out of school who stays in her room and listens to the radio all day. Imagining boyfriends who come and visit and dance with her. One day a boy comes to visit her and gets absorbed into the music. Does he shrink? Does he disappear? Does Angie kill him? Does he become her forever lover? I guess we’ll never know because Helen Reddy never said and now she’s passed away.

Another awful outfit. I never realized how bad some of the 70s fashions were.

Leo Sayer – Long tall glasses – 1974

I always hated Leo Sayer. He reminded me of a skinny version of that workout guy, Richard Simmons. It was Leo’s first US top 10. He later had hits with, You Make Me Feel Like Dancin’ and When I Need You. The story in this song is, some guy wanders into a fantasy bar or magical pub, but before he can eat he has to dance like Fred Astaire. He doesn’t think he can dance at all, but he somehow figures it out and everything works out. I really couldn’t stand Leo Sayer in the ’70s. I had zero tolerance for anything that wasn’t guitar-driven rock back then. This performance just looks like old vaudeville to me. Complete with that barbershop banjo in the background. Watch his performance in this video. His choreography and him acting out the lyrics is ridiculous.

Back when I was in a band if someone told me I could only become famous if I did this act and this kind of music, I would have jumped into a tree shredder.

God, I hate him.

Cher – Dark Lady – 1974

Cher was at the time on the hit TV show Sonny & Cher. I’m sure that was a great place for her to break any new material. I get why the LGBTQ community has always embraced Cher. Even though she’s an attractive lady, she always resembled a guy doing a drag act. Even her voice has the limited range of some dude singing songs in a bar in a dress doing karaoke on 13th street in Philly.

The dark lady in the title is a gypsy fortune teller in New Orleans. The protagonist of this song follows the fortune teller’s limousine back to her lair and gets her fortune told. She learns her lover has been unfaithful to her with as the gypsy tells her, someone who is very close to her. The dark lady tells her to leave and never return. But when she gets home she smells the very perfume that the gypsy had been wearing. So she sneaks back to the fortune teller’s shop with a gun and catches her lover with the gypsy. They’re laughing and kissing. She shoots them both killing them. Cher hit number 1 with Dark Lady and she wouldn’t have another number 1 until 25 years later, with Believe.

It’s a crazy story song, which was popular in the 70s.

One Tin Soldier – 1969 – Coven – 1973

This song tells the tale of two neighboring tribes, the warlike valley people and the peaceful mountain kingdom. The mountain people possess a great treasure buried under a stone, which the valley people demand. The mountain people offer to share it with their brothers but the valley people invade and slaughter them all. When they turn the stone over they find nothing but the words, Peace on Earth. It was this kind of thing that was a radio hit in my youth. Insane!

It feels like a statement about God and country and how man kills in the name of religion and for whatever else.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and kill/cheat your friend all in the name of heaven you can justify it in the end.

What???

The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia –  Vicky Lawrence- 1974

Bobby Russell was a grammy-winning songwriter who wrote songs for Frank Sinatra and Elvis. When he wrote this next song,  he disliked it so much he didn’t even want to cut a demo. His wife, Vicky Lawrence who was a cast member on The Carol Burnett Show thought it was a hit. But after Liza Minnelli and Cher both turned it down, Vicky decided to record it. I’m not even going to get into the details of this complicated ridiculous plot, but let’s just say that the narrator accidentally frames her own brother for murder and gets him hanged, while killing two people herself and hiding the bodies, but the whole time she blames the crooked criminal justice system for her brother’s death.

It makes no sense. But it was a number 1 hit. It was later recorded by Reba MacIntyre and Tanya Tucker, and was even turned into a feature film starring Kristy McNicol! She won two Emmy Awards for her portrayal of teenage daughter Letitia “Buddy” Lawrence in the TV drama Family.

Insane! All of this and a pre-Star Wars Mark Hamill too!

 

Here’s this crazy song!

Go Away Little Girl – Donny Osmond -1971

is a popular song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. It was first recorded by Bobby Vee for Liberty Records on March 28, 1962. The lyrics consist of a young man asking a young attractive woman to stay away from him so that he will not be tempted to betray his steady girlfriend by kissing her. The song is notable for making the American Top 20 three times: for Steve Lawrence in 1963 (US number 1), for The Happenings in 1966 (US number 12), and for Donny Osmond in 1971 (US number 1). It is also the first song, and one of only nine, to reach US number 1 by two different artists.

The song almost didn’t get recorded, because according to the Mormon laws, one had to be 16 for double dating and 18 to date alone, however, as long as this was an innocent song, the Mormon faith allowed the song to be sung and recorded. Donny was 13 at the time the song was recorded. Listen to that voice. Is our Donny a little late getting to puberty?

Say hello to white bread America’s version of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. Michael had sass, talent, and pipes. Donny is a little, strained, shrill, knock-off of the obvious King of Pop.

Just sayin’…

I hope you enjoyed this series. I had fun compiling this stuff and writing about it. Maybe I should do the worst films of the 70s next!

Just want to say Hi to my sister Gail, for reading and listening to this whole series!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

 

Supremely Cringy First Date Horror Stories

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.

“Eh?”
“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.”

Seriously, Dude?

“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.”

Illuminati

“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”

Straight-Up Stabbed

“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.”

Oh, Mario

“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.'”

Fingers Off

“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.”

Mystery Dating

“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.”

https://www.theabsolutedater.com/

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

The Weirdest, Creepiest and Most Annoying Songs of the 70’s – Part 9

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.

Convoy | 1978 | Final | UK One Sheet » The Poster Collector

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.

The song is rather famous for its piano intro and outro, which is often left off versions of the song edited for radio. The introduction is based on a piece (Prelude in D-flat, Op. 11 No. 15) by the Russian classical composer Alexander Scriabin.

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.

Ugh!

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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How To Compliment Women Without Making It Weird

Once I complimented an intern on her haircut. From behind me, a male coworker commented, “I was going to say that but I didn’t want to seem creepy, what with #MeToo and all.” He figured that this intern would hear “nice haircut” and think “assault.” We teased him about it, and he doubled down: “I didn’t want to make anyone feel like I was looking at them!”

Pretty much every man’s greatest fear is coming off creepy or turning into his father or whatever. But for the vast majority of normal guys, the worst charge you could throw at them is that they’re creeping someone out. It’s a healthy fear, considering the world today and how many men are behaving inappropriately. Even small acts performed with good intentions can come across poorly, and it can be difficult to navigate what is and is not appropriate. A compliment in the workplace can easily cross lines, so here are some tips to help you stay in the compliment safe zone:

Don’t make it about you

The first defense against accidental creeping is taking the word “I” out of your compliment. Even the most innocuous compliments adopt sexual undertones when they start with “I.” Centering the compliment around how you feel carries with it a suggestion that you think the woman you’re complimenting is doing what she’s doing – whether it’s wearing a cute top or wearing a little bit more makeup today – for you. “I” compliments are unsettling because it sounds like you’re telling us that what we’re doing suits your sexual appetites. “I love that shirt” feels like you’re thinking naughty things about what’s under the shirt, while “that shirt is awesome” is much safer. G-chatting someone, “I loved it when so spoke up in that meeting, so feisty!” is creepy. “You made a great point about the budget in there” is nice.

Never call a woman “feisty”

This is self-evident.

Don’t comment on women’s bodies

This, too, should be obvious, but you should never compliment a specific body part. I can think of very few things creepier than hearing “you have such great legs” at work. Specific body part compliments are only for people you’re dating or sleeping with. With the exception of dramatic hair changes (“you got a haircut!” will suffice), you should never comment on someone’s body. Even “you look great!” and “did you lose weight?” are deadly. I know “you look great” seems innocuous, but it often comes off as “I would sleep with you.” As for weight: Never mention it. It’s not your business. You have no idea why a woman lost weight. Perhaps she has emotional issues with it. Perhaps she doesn’t even want to be losing weight. You also don’t need to tell someone how well their clothes suit their body. It doesn’t matter if that dress is flattering; we’re at work, we’re not dating. You can tell a woman her clothes are cool without veering into “your jeans always fit you so well” territory.

Stick to professional merits

In general, we tend to neglect non-appearance-based compliments. One positive comment about a woman’s work will go a long way towards making you seem less horny. Most of your compliments should be not about appearance: I would aim for a good 90/10 split with only 10 percent of your compliments being about how someone looks or what they’re wearing. What’s left, you may ask? Well, you do work with this woman, right? “You killed it in that meeting” is a safe option. If you feel awkward delivering unsolicited work praise (you shouldn’t) try framing your compliments as thank-yous. “Thanks for catching my mistake in the third paragraph, your stuff always looks so polished.” Just be careful not to sound surprised that she’s good at her job, though. Exclaiming, “Wow, what you said was so smart!” is a bad look.

You don’t need to do it

Unless you’re in a feelings circle and everyone is required to say one nice thing about the person to their left or whatever, giving a compliment is never mandatory. It seems like somewhere along the way, a lot of men confused being decent to women with complimenting us, and I worry it has become a compulsive tic. So I’m telling you now: You don’t have to say every compliment that comes to you. Especially if you’re concerned that you’re toeing a creeper line, just shut it down. No one needs to hear your opinion on anything unless someone is about to cut a wire to dismantle a bomb and you are the only one who knows which wire is correct. Most opinions (and your compliments are, fundamentally, your opinion) can stay in your head. Ultimately, understand that a lot of women you work with simply might not care what you think about their new shoes. No woman I know, despite the myth that persists, is upset that she’s not getting more compliments.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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The Weirdest, Creepiest and Most Annoying Songs of the 70’s – Part 6

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 1970’s 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.

 

Indian Reservation – Paul Revere and the Raiders – 1971

This song was written by John D. Loudermilk. It was first recorded by Marvin Rainwater in 1959 and released on MGM as “The Pale Faced Indian”, but that release went unnoticed. The first hit version was a 1968 recording by Don Fardon – a former member of the Sorrows – that reached number 20 on the Hot 100 in 1968 and number 3 on the UK Singles Chart in 1970.

In 1971, the Raiders recorded “Indian Reservation” on the Columbia Records label, and it topped the Hot 100 on July 24. On June 30, 1971, the RIAA gold-certified the record for selling over a million copies. The record was later certified platinum for selling an additional million copies. The song was the group’s only Hot 100 number 1 hit and their final Hot 100 top 20 song.

At the end, where the Raiders sing “…Cherokee nation will return”, Fardon says “Cherokee Indian…”, while the line is absent in Rainwater’s version, which ends with “beads…nowadays made in Japan.” In addition, Fardon sings the line: “Brick built houses by the score/ No more tepees anymore”, not used in the Raiders’ version.

Cherokee people have never lived in tipis, nor do they use the term “papoose”. These are stereotypes and misconceptions, with the reservations and tipi assumptions usually based on Hollywood portrayals of Plains Indians. However, the Cherokee are a Southeastern Woodlands Indigenous culture.

Not a terrible song, just a bit insensitive by today’s standards, but worth adding to this list of 70s oddities.

The Sound of Philadelphia – MFSB – 1974

TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” is a 1974 hit recording by MFSB featuring vocals by The Three Degrees. A classic example of the Philadelphia soul genre, it was written by Gamble and Huff as the theme for the American musical television program Soul Train, which specialized in African American musical performers. The single was released on the Philadelphia International Records label. It was the first television theme song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and it is arguably the first disco song to reach that position.

The song is essentially an instrumental piece, featuring a lush blend of string instrument and horn section in the Philadelphia soul style. There are only two vocal parts to the song: a passage close to the beginning during which The Three Degrees sing “People all over the world!”; and the chorus over the fadeout, “Let’s get it on/It’s time to get down”. The words “People all over the world!” are not heard in the original version. The version heard on Soul Train also had the series title sung over the first four notes of the melody, “Soul Train, Soul Train”. This particular version was released on a 1975 Three Degrees album, International.

“TSOP” hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1974 and remained there for two weeks, the first television theme song to do so in the history of that chart. It also topped the American Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (for one week) and adult contemporary (for two weeks).  The Three Degrees would revisit the top of the AC chart later in 1974 with their hit single, “When Will I See You Again”.

Don Cornelius, the creator, and host of Soul Train refused to allow any references to the name of the television series when the single was released, leading Gamble and Huff to adopt the alternate title for the release. Cornelius would later admit that not allowing the single to be named Soul Train was a major mistake on his part. (As a result, the Three Degrees’ singing of the show’s name “Soul Train” during the chorus as heard on the TV version is not heard on the single.)

Although it was rerecorded a number of times for future versions of the show, and various different themes were used during the late 1970s and early 1980s, “TSOP” returned in the late 1980s and remained the theme song for Soul Train through the disco, 1980s rhythm and blues, new jack swing, hip hop music, and neo-soul eras of black music.

Not a bad song. Actually kind of a great disco song. I always hated disco in the 70’s because I felt it undermined rock music. But in reality, it’s simply R&B and Soul music jazzed up so you can dance to it. A huge fad in the late 70’s.

Fly Robin Fly – Silver Convention – 1975

is a song by German disco group Silver Convention from their debut studio album Save Me (1975). Sylvester Levay and Stephan Prager wrote the song, and the latter produced it. “Fly, Robin, Fly” was released as the third single from Save Me in September 1975, peaking at number one on the United States Billboard Hot 100. Thanks to the success of “Fly, Robin, Fly”, Silver Convention became the first German act to have a number one song on the American music charts. The song received a Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance in 1976.

“Fly, Robin, Fly” carries the distinction of being a Billboard chart-topper with only six words: the chorus simply repeats “Fly, Robin, fly” three times, with an ending of “Up, up to the sky“. During a segment on VH1’s 100 Greatest Dance Songs, it was revealed that the original working title was “Run, Rabbit, Run”.

It’s a classic disco tune that was wildly popular. But the reason it makes this list is that the only lyrics in the song are, “Fly Robin Fly, up, up to the sky.”

Jacqueline Nemorin (known professionally as Jackie Carter and Né-Mo-Rin) is a Mauritian-British singer, songwriter, composer, and music producer. She is notable for being one of the voices and members of the 1970s Silver Convention project. She’s the main girl in the middle and clearly the prettiest of the three. For me, it’s worth watching just to see her beauty. 

The odd thing about this performance is; the choreography resembles some sort of aerobic workout!

Afternoon Delight – Starland Vocal Group – 1976

Good Girls Don’t – The Knack – 1979

“Good Girls Don’t” begins with Fieger playing the harmonica, in a part which authors Michael Uslan and Bruce Solomon liken to The Beatles‘ song “I Should Have Known Better.” The lyrics, such as the refrain “She’ll be telling you ‘good girls don’t but I do,'” were considered misogynistic by some critics. However, Joyce Canaan of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies wrote that this line succinctly captures the transformation of teenage girls’ representations of their sexual practices; while they want to be seen as “good girls”, even good girls may engage in practices not corresponding to established moral standards. Fieger has stated that “All we were doing in songs like the naughty ‘Good Girls Don’t’ was reflecting the way 14-year-old boys feel. And there’s a little 14-year-old boy in all of us. I think that’s why the record did so well.” Other lyrics that created controversy included the lines:

“And she makes you want to scream; wishing you could get inside her pants” (this line was re-recorded as “wishing she was givin’ you a chance” on the “clean” single release), and:

“And it’s a teenage sadness everyone has got to taste.”
 “An in-between age madness that you know you can’t erase till she’s sitting on your face (and it hurts!).”
DISGUSTING!
 Although I really liked My Sharona when it came out, I realized quickly that Doug Fieger seemed like a Beatles wannabe and a bit of a pervert. Who names their album, “…But The Little Girls Understand.”??? What kind of Pedos are these guys to approve that? Even the cover’s imagery conveys that. A young girl looking up at the stage in awe. It’s awful. Even when this came out, I was 17 and found this offensive.

Knack - But the Little Girls Understand - Amazon.com Music

Critic Greil Marcus described the song as a “smutty little Beatles imitation”. Author John Borack described the song as “a mean pop tune”, noting too that in the song lead singer and songwriter Fieger comes off “like a leering, sexist twit with hormones a-raging.

I don’t know. It just seems a bit too much. Anyway, Doug Fieger died from cancer at 57 in 2006.

Let’s Make A Baby – Billy Paul – 1975

I don’t know. Here’s another one that makes me think of the Paul Anka song, You’re having my baby. Billy’s a good singer, but again, the subject matter bothers me. I just can’t ever imagine myself driving down the road in my car singing along to these lyrics. Just…NO.

Come on, come on, let’s make a baby
Oh, baby, come on, come on
(Come on, come on)
Let’s bring another life into this world
A little boy, a little girl

Take my hand while we walk slowly to the room
Can’t you see tonight I’m gonna make sweet, sweet love to you?

Girl, don’t be shy, don’t be shy
This is a moment we’ve been waiting for
Hey, come by my side, by my side
It’s the place you’ll be forevermore, forevermore

So, baby, come on, come on
(Come on, come on)
Let’s make a baby
Oh, baby, come on, come on
(Come on, come on)
Let’s bring another life into this world
A little boy, a little girl

The Buoys – Timothy – 1970

Here’s a last-minute entry. One of my followers sent this one to me. I’ve never heard this song before. It’s a perfect addition to this series. I’m not going to give away the twist to this song.

Just listen to it.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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