Tales of Rock – 5 Songs That Only Became Popular Because We Missed Their Meanings

Ronald Reagan famously misinterpreted “Born in the U.S.A.,” thinking it was about how awesome America was, spacing out during the lyrics about out-of-work vets hounded by memories of dead friends lost in a pointless war. The Gipper wasn’t the only one to miss the point. Pop music can be deceptively deep, and so some songs are only beloved and remembered due to us being completely oblivious.

Funny enough, when those smash hits make millions of dollars, artists generally don’t seem in too much of a hurry to correct us …

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” Is About A Father Destroying His Family’s Lives For Money

Commissioned for the musical Meet Me In St. Louis, Ralph Blane & Hugh Martin churned out one of the most memorable Christmas songs ever written and one of Judy Garland’s signature numbers. Everybody loves a warm, cozy Christmas song. Too bad “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” isn’t one.

It’s actually about hard times and the economic necessity to pack up and take your family away from your small, close-knit little community to relocate to New York City, left only with pale memories of better times. Near the end of the film, Garland sings of friends and memories that are lost and might never be recovered, echoed in the line, “Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow,” with the scene culminating in a child’s emotional breakdown. Not to mention that when Judy Garland sings of trauma, alienation, and lost innocence, she speaks as an authority.

Loew’s Inc.
“Hey, I think you lost your whiskey flask in that mound of asbestos, Judy.”

The song was so depressing that it was altered twice. First changed only superficially, altering the breathtakingly-nihilistic line: “Have yourself a merry little Christmas, It may be your last,” to the slightly less pathetic: “Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light,” the song remaining very downbeat. And then a second time, the song altered by Frank Sinatra, who made it a habit of changing other songwriter’s lyrics, turning it saccharine and easily digestible. While Garland’s rendition remains the more iconic, the melancholy truth has been wiped away by a cheery erasure … which is probably the most on-point message for child stardom imaginable.

“The Clown Song” Was Written as an Epic, Heroic Theme

Nobody knows what it is called, but once you hear “clown music,” you’ll know it immediately.

If you have coulrophobia, shoot, we probably should have given you a trigger warning or something before we dropped that song. Sorry.

The disconnect between intent and interpretation apparent when you learn that the goofy-sounding tune was originally titled: “Entrance of the Gladiators.” And, no, the title is in no way being sarcastic; this was intended to be a grandiose, dramatic, awe-inspiring march to be played by a real military band or orchestra instead of an organ grinder in a circus.

The piece was written in the era when marches were the hottest genre of music, with no shortage of wars to play it during. Tonally, it was conceived to summon the pomp and life-and-death struggle that was armed combat in the Coliseum to life. It was composed by Czech military bandleader and prolific composer Julius Fucik, who, in all certainty, did not have a fez-bedecked simian sidekick.

Library of Congress
His monkey wore miniature gladiator armor.

Fucik approached his craft with great pride, studying under the tutelage of master Antonin Dvorak and touring across Europe, a respected figure. All well and good until one day, his song, also known as “Grande Marche Chromatique,” was reworked by a Canadian arranger as “Thunder and Blazes,” forever destroying Fucik’s creation. The tune would never be taken seriously by anyone not wearing greasepaint and a red nose ever again.

“Baba O’Riley” Is an Ode to Meditation and Warding off Peer Pressure

The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” — or as it is usually referred to by everyone who isn’t a Rolling Stone writer, “Teenage Wasteland” — quickly attained status as a stoner classic. It’s a go-to title or reference for anything involving kids experimenting with drugs and rebelling against their parents.

Need background music to illustrate the generation gap while you give attention-seeking adolescents national TV coverage? Got ya covered:

“What are your kids doing in a back alley when you’re at work? Footage at 11!”

However, The Who’s Pete Townshend was not a dropout nor a casual-drug enthusiast like every other rock idol when he wrote “Baba O’Riley.” He penned the song when he was fed up with the cliched rock persona, making a point about drug dependency as a literal case of wasted potential. Townshend was really interested in trying to persuade us to open ourselves up to love and nourish our consciousness in a land of spiritual desolation. He failed, drowned out by the sound of a million bubbling bongs.

“Baba” refers to mute guru and avowed living god Meher Baba, of who Townshend was a zealous adherent. The mystic preached abstinence from drugs, with The Who songwriter gushing, “I felt more keen about getting into Meher Baba than I felt about being stoned all my life.” Listeners? They just wanted an awesome keyboard riff and refrain they could blast out a car window as they peeled out of the high school parking lot to pick up munchies.

“Song 2” Is a Smug Criticism of American Musical Tastes

The English “Brit-pop” outfit Blur was mostly overlooked by America in the mid-90s, with the grunge bands stealing all the spotlight. In response, “Song 2,” off their fifth studio album, was conceived as a joke. It imitates American grunge groups’ distorted, wailing guitar sound while also mocking their fan bases’ hyperactive antics, whom the band perceived as having trash taste. Even the title reminiscent of a hunk of molded plastic that rolls off an assembly line.

“Song 2” was a rebuke of everything that grunge stood for and a celebration of Blur’s Brit Pop genre. But, just like today, no one in America gave a shit about British musical pretensions, with listeners blasting it alongside grunge band de jour. Joining the pantheon of incoherent but catchy rock staples, the song was locked in at sports arenas and frat-party playlists.

Sounding like nothing the band had made to date …

… nobody understood the joke, assuming Blur were altering their sound and trying to appeal to Americans, yet more identical, skinny white dudes wailing over electric guitars. Their hit came to represent everything the singers were opposed to, as it became the most requested rock song on MTV. In America, it remains their only recognizable song despite a sizable back catalog. Blur seemed to forget about their message too and embraced it as their career-defining hit:

“Stayin’ Alive” Details Escaping a Depressing, Crumbling Dump

 

Soaring into the zeitgeist, fresh off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, “Stayin’ Alive” was the biggest hit and most recognizable single of the Bee Gees, the song emblematic of the disco era and decade. As the lyrics: “Somebody help me,” and “Life goin’ nowhere,” clearly hints at, the song was not designed to chronicle the local discotheque’s joys.

The Gibb Brothers were Brits, raised in Australia, and the song recorded in France. Their knowledge of America was limited to hotel rooms, buses, and newspapers. “The lyrics very obviously state the scenario of survival in the city, and it’s not about disco dancing at all,” Robin Gibb said. The city is New York, and survival is used quite literally. In 1977 the Big Apple was a laughingstock. If you know anything about its reputation as a failed, crime-ridden, miserable dump, you can figure it out what reality the song was really getting at…

The Bee Gees were trying to be profound, and we didn’t give them a chance. The line “New York Time’s effect on man,” is explained by the co-writer Barry Gibb, describing the song as bleak and intended for “desperate” people “crying out for help,” explaining why the music video was shot in a rubble-laden slum. There is a line about “dancing shoes,” but considering the rest of the song’s content, it’s metaphorical at best; according to Robin Gibb, the band completed “Stayin’ Alive” without even knowing the John Travolta film’s plot.

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 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.

 

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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The Weirdest, Creepiest and Most Annoying Songs of the 70’s – Part – 7

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.

 

The Brady Bunch – Keep On Movin – 1973

Keep On Movin’ is a 1973 song that was sung by the Brady kids from the popular television sitcom The Brady Bunch.

The episode is title “Amateur Nite”. The kids appear on a television talent show to win $100 for Mike and Carol’s anniversary gift. This was the result of Jan’s misunderstanding the price for the engraving of a tray the kids had intended to give their parents (it was 85 cents per letter, not for the entire engraving).

Feel free to sing along… (I know you know the words!!)

I also included Time to Change, which is a song about puberty. (It appears Peter isn’t the only one who’s going through some changes in this video.) These songs are dreadful. I can’t imagine anyone who worked on this show ever thinking that the dreck they were producing was any good. But America loved this family. Even though this is not what America looked like in the early 70s. In real life, Barry Williams was banging Florence Henderson, Maureen McCormick was a coke head and poor Robert Reed, a Shakespearean actor who believed television was below his ability and sitcoms even worse later died from AIDS.

That’s the show I want to watch!

Even when this show was on the air, it was awful and dated. The only reason I watched it was, like many other boys back in the early 70s we loved hot Marsha. 

God, this music is awful!

Kill me now…

Tee Set – Ma Belle Amie – 1970

The song reached #5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #3 in Australia and Canada in 1970. In South Africa, it was a #1 hit. The song also reached the Top 10 across central Europe.

The original issue of the single in the Netherlands was released in 1969 on Tee Set Records (TS 1329), selling over 100,000 copies. There are available at least three studio-recorded versions of the song – the US hit on Colossus Records (CS107), released in 1969, a British issue on Major Minor Records (MM666), released in 1970, and a Black and White video featuring the band miming along a waterfront. This video version appears to be the same as the hit US rendering but for minor differences to the repeated chorus ending of the song. The British release is completely different, slower in tempo and starting in a lower key. The group also recorded an Italian language version of the song.

This song is just annoying. It feels like these guys are the inbred cousins of the Bay City Rollers. Every shot is either the band members in separate boxes, (which makes no sense) or a super uncomfortable close-up on the singer’s face.

Robin McNamara – Lay a Little Lovin’ On Me – 1970

Lay a Little Lovin’ on Me” is a 1970 song written by Jeff BarryRobin McNamara, and Jim Cretecos and recorded by Robin McNamara. The song reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was McNamara’s only hit. “Lay A Little Lovin’ On Me” also peaked at #6 (for 2 weeks) on Canada’s national RPM Top 100 singles chart in August of 1970 and at number 49 in Australia in 1970.

This guy is like Tommy Bolin, Robert Plant, and Tiny Tim had a kid. It’s not a terrible song, but bad enough to add to this list.

https://lpintop.tripod.com/robinmcnamara/

The Poppy Family – Which Way You Goin’ Billy? – 1970

Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” was a global, multi-million-selling hit single from the Canadian band The Poppy Family. The single, first released in 1969, was from the album of the same name and was a chart-topping hit in Canada and Ireland. It was also a significant hit in other parts of the world, reaching #2 on both the U.S. Cash Box and Billboard pop charts.

This song feels like the cross-eyed stepchild to Terry Jacks, Seasons in the Sun. Just a weird song. I remember hearing it on the radio in the early 70s and thinking… “Where’s Billy off to?”

Oh, wait… Terry Jacks was in this band!

The Sandpipers – Come Saturday Morning – 1970

Come Saturday Morning” is a popular song with music by Fred Karlin and lyrics by Dory Previn, published in 1970. It was first performed by The Sandpipers on the soundtrack of the 1969 film The Sterile Cuckoo starring Liza Minnelli. The Sandpipers also included the song on their 1970 album, Come Saturday Morning. In 1970, “Come Saturday Morning” was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, losing to “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The sound of this song just makes me depressed. It feels like a rejected song from The Graduate. I almost want to watch the film The Sterile Cuckoo. How did they even pitch that picture?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sterile_Cuckoo

I’m sure it’s trash.

The Piglets – Johnny Reggae – 1971

Johnny Reggae” is a 1971 novelty song credited to The Piglets. The single cover states that it was “conceived, created, produced and directed by Jonathan King“. It was released on Bell Records.

King himself has explained in comments on his YouTube channel] and in his autobiography 65, My Life So Far that the vocalists were session singers “coached to sound like teenage scrubbers”, and that the lead vocalist was session singer Barbara Kay, who also recorded as Kay Barry for Embassy Records.

The lead vocals have been at various times been incorrectly attributed to Adrienne Posta or Wendy Richard.

This song makes me want to get a running start in an office building and plow through a plate glass window and plummet to my death 40 stories below.

Blue Swede – Hooked on a Feeling – 1974

“Hooked on a Feeling” is a 1968 pop song written by Mark James and originally performed by B.J. Thomas. Thomas’s version featured the sound of the electric sitar (played by Reggie Young) and reached No. 5 in 1969 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been recorded by many other artists, including Blue Swede, whose version reached No. 1 in the United States in 1974. The Blue Swede version made singer Björn Skifs‘ “Ooga-Chaka-Ooga-Ooga” intro well known (and famous in Sweden at the time), although it had been used originally by British musician Jonathan King in his 1971 version of the song.

The original version of this song was fine. B.J. Thomas is a good writer. But why in the world would someone record that song with the “Ooga-Chaka-Ooga-Ooga” nonsense on the track to ruin it. But, I’m sure there are people out there who like this version. Just odd, so it makes my list.

 

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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