Saturday, February 20, 2021

The Fat Boys...

Picture it.  It's the late 1980s.  I'm at a horse show in Hampton, Virginia.  Someone is blaring Top 40 radio.  It's The Fat Boys and their updated version of "Wipeout", which featured The Beach Boys.


Hearing that song at that moment left an indelible imprint on my brain.  Now, whenever I hear The Fat Boys sing "Wipeout", I am reminded of my days as a competitive equestrienne.  Those days are long over, of course.  I haven't been riding in over twenty years.  I miss it.

The Fat Boys came back into my consciousness yesterday, when I heard that one of the founding members died at age 52.  Prince Markie Dee, otherwise known as Mark Anthony Morales, died on February 11, 2021, just eight days shy of his 53rd birthday.  His death came after the untimely death of one of his bandmates, Darren (the Human Beat Box) Robinson, who died in 1995 at age 28.  Robinson died while doing something he supposedly loved-- rapping.  He'd been sitting on chair, performing for friends, when he fell off the chair and hit his head.  He never regained consciousness.  The other bandmate was Damon Wimbley, otherwise known as Kool Rock Ski.

The only other song by The Fat Boys that I remember as a hit was a remake of "The Twist" by Chubby Checker.  It was kind of a fun song, although the 80s update doesn't really stand up to the original.

"Come on baby.  Let's do the Twist."

Morales went on to work with other artists, notably Mary J. Blige.  He's remembered as a great guy, very talented... and he died much too young at age 52.  I certainly wasn't a mega fan of The Fat Boys, but their music always reminds me of a special time in my life-- the high school years.  Seems crazy that they were that long ago.

May Morales rest in peace.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Run Joey Run, by David Geddes...

Over the past week, I've been watching the first season of Glee.  A few days ago, I happened to see the episode in which Rachel Berry (played by Lea Michele) sang a song with the late Mark Salling entitled "Run Joey Run".  That song was a hit for David Geddes in 1975.  Somehow, I never heard it when I was growing up.  It's pretty awful, although it was apparently popular at the time it came out.

Original version.

As performed by the Glee folks...

"Run Joey Run" was a cheesy story song about a girl, who sounds about twelve or thirteen", begging her dad not to kill her lover, Joey.  But the girl, name of Julie, is unsuccessful in convincing her dad not to get out his shot gun.  As Julie pleads with her dad not to shoot, he opens fire and kills his daughter.

That song seems horribly dated and unbelievable-- at least for its time-- and also doesn't age well, because so many people have died due to gun violence.  The 70s were kind of a magical time, though, weren't they?  We had some real gems of shitty songs that somehow became hits.  I miss those days for a lot of reasons.  I was a little kid in the 70s, so it wasn't such a bad time for me, personally.  The 80s and 90s were more traumatic for me, although those days were less traumatic for the world at large.

I'm not sure anyone will want to cover "Run Joey Run", even for a show like Glee.  Actually, I think Glee is a bit cursed, so I'd be surprised if anyone tries to revive that show.  Sad that they lost three cast members who played students...  even Mark Salling, who was busted for having child porn and was about to be sent to prison when he hanged himself.  I don't rejoice in his suicide, even as I don't condone his crimes.  Very few people are all good or all bad.  I think that's true for Salling, too.  

Anyway, hopefully no one will copycat "Run Joey Run", in any way.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Young girl-- get out of my mind!

For some reason, this morning I have an old song in my head.  It's one that hasn't aged particularly well.  It's a song called from 1968 called "Young Girl", and it was sung by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.  It has a nice melody and Gary Puckett's vocals are soulful enough... but the lyrics are about an older guy who wants to get into a young girl's pants.

"That come on look is in your eyes..."  Eeew!

I guess the men of today can relate to this song, patronizing as the words are.  Gary sings, "Get out of here before I have the time to change my mind..."  Yuck!  Control yourself, man!  Well, the words are kind of gross, as is the sentiment, but at least Gary can sing decently.

I don't know what put this in my head today.  I do see that it's in my library, although I don't think I've recently listened to it before today.  And I haven't been a "young girl" myself in over thirty years.

Wikipedia tells me that Gary Puckett and the Union Gap only lasted a few years.  They were active from 1967 until 1971, before I was even born.  However, during that time, they had a hit in "Young Girl" and even played for Prince Charles at a White House reception.  I wonder if the good prince enjoyed this music.  He did marry himself a "young girl" years later.  We all know how that turned out.

I've been neglecting this blog lately, which means it may be time to retire it.  Or maybe I'll just continue to do what I've been doing for years, which is to only write new posts when inspiration hits.  You'd think with as much time on my hands as I have, I could do that every day, but I've been busy thinking about other stuff.  Maybe 2021 will be a less traumatic year for all of us.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Johnny Nash and Eddie Van Halen... RIP!

2020 is really turning out to be a hell of a year for so many reasons.  Last night, as I was about to go to sleep, I got the news that 65 year old Eddie Van Halen, of Van Halen, died after a long bout with throat cancer.  As a child of the 70s and 80s, I grew up listening to Eddie's distinctive guitar licks.  I was pretty shocked to hear of his demise, although I'm sure he went through hell with cancer.

Not only was he a great guitar player, but he had the most adorable smile!

I was really touched that Valerie Bertinelli, Eddie's first wife, wrote a very sweet tribute to him.  It's lovely that they were able to stay friends after their split.  It sounds like she was on good terms with his second wife, too.  Eddie and Valerie shared their son, 29 year old Wolfgang, who is now the bass player for Van Halen.  However, I can't even imagine how they will be able to replace Eddie.  His sound was unmistakably his.  Rock music lost a great innovator with Eddie's death.  May he rest in peace.

Then this morning, I read about Johnny Nash, singer and guitar player famous for the song "I Can See Clearly Now", also passed away.  Nash was 80 years old and had been in declining health.  He died of natural causes at home in Houston, Texas, where he was born.  

I don't know him as well as Eddie, but I do know this song...  Maybe I need to listen to more of his stuff.

I was just thinking how much 2016 sucked as so many great musicians passed into the great beyond.  2020 is definitely giving 2016 a run for its money in suckitude.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Trump's theme song?

Yesterday, I was listening to music in the dining room and an old song by Don McLean came on. It was called "Everybody Loves Me, Baby", and came from his hit album from 1971, American Pie.  As I was listening to the lyrics, it occurred to me that this song could so easily be about our current POTUS, Donald Trump.

Seriously... the lyrics are so eerie.  Hard to believe they are from almost 50 years ago.

I recommend listening to the song itself, but here are the lyrics:

One, two, three, four!
Fortune has me well in hand, armies wait at my command
My gold lies in a foreign land buried deep beneath the sand
The angels guide my ev'ry tread, my enemies are sick or dead
But all the victories I've led haven't brought you to my bed
You see, everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?
Won'tcha tell me what did I do to offend you?
Now the purest race I've bred for thee to live in my democracy
And the highest human pedigree awaits your first-born boy, baby
And my face on ev'ry coin engraved, the anarchists are all enslaved
My own flag is forever waved by the grateful people I have saved
You see, everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?
Won'tcha tell me what did I do to offend you?
Now, no land is beyond my claim when the land is seized in the people's name
By evil men who rob and maim, if war is hell, I'm not to blame!
Why, you can't blame me, I'm Heaven's child, I'm the second son of Mary mild
And I'm twice removed from Oscar Wilde, but he didn't mind, why, he just smiled
Yes, and the ocean parts when I walk through, and the clouds dissolve and the sky turns blue
I'm held in very great value by everyone I meet but you
'cause I've used my talents as I could, I've done some bad, I've done some good
I did a whole lot better than they thought I would so, c'mon and treat me like you should!
Because everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?
Won'tcha tell me what did I do to offend you?
Everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?
Won'tcha tell me what did I do to offend you?
Yeah, everybody loves me, baby, what's the matter with you?
Won'tcha tell me what did I do to offend you?

I need to read up about this song.  I'd love to know what or who inspired it.  Don McLean isn't particularly regarded as a great partner himself. 

Last year, he lost a lifetime achievement award because he pleaded guilty to domestic violence in 2016.  He was arrested in Camden, Maine in 2016 and pleaded guilty to domestic violence to avoid jail time.  He also paid a $3000 fine.  His ex wife, Patrisha McLean, claims that he has a violent temper and had been physically and verbally abusing her for decades.  

McLean supposedly pled guilty, not because he's guilty, but because he wanted "closure" for his family...  Well... I suppose that could be true.  But it's still not a very good look for him.

I like his music, though, and I think this song is kind of brilliant.  I'm glad I stumbled across it yesterday. 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Pan's People...

I just now discovered "Pan's People", a dance troupe that used to perform on Britain's music show, Top of the Pops, back in the 1970s.  We lived in England in the 70s, so I remember seeing that show.  My sisters used to watch it all the time.  However, I was too young to really appreciate it, and I had never heard of Pan's People when I discovered their interesting brand of dance yesterday.  Apparently, they were fixtures of Top of the Pops from 1968 until 1976.  We were in England from 1975 until 1978.

This was not the first video I saw by them...

Nor was this...

As I watched them, I was reminded a little of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.  They are very beautiful 1970s era ladies, with natural looks... no tattoos, no piercings other than in their ears, and very clean looking.  I read that two of the ladies have already died.  Most of them were born in the 1940s, although I read that one was born in 1955, making her very young when these videos were made.

This is the first video I saw.  I was inspired to look at it because I was in a Facebook group talking about college memories.  I took a social and recreational dance class, and the professor actually taught us The Hustle!  It was in 1991 and even then, that was an old dance!  My friend Andrew says this video is blocked in the United States.  He was able to search and find it on another source.

I am a terrible dancer myself.  My sister was very good at it-- good enough to go to the Royal Ballet School in England.  Me?  I have two left feet.  But I do enjoy watching dancing, and these ladies were definitely stylish.  Check out their dance to "Green River" by CCR.

They really capture the grittiness of that song.

And here they are dancing to "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers.

I'm really glad I was born in the 70s.  I think that was a good time for music and TV.  Yes, TV was cheesy back then, but it was fun and there were people paid to act instead of reality show contestants.  I much prefer the music of that time, too, because it was less about who looked pretty and more about who had talent and luck.  I would imagine that getting exposure was harder in those days.  Pan's People were definitely exposed!

Cool interview about Pan's People.

I am really enjoying watching them.  It's funny that in the 70s, they were considered pretty racy.  


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Fred Knoblock or Knobloch...

Yesterday, I was introduced to a singer-songwriter named Fred Knobloch.  I see on the album cover that accompanied the YouTube video where I first heard him has his named spelled "Knoblock".  I laughed a little at that, since Knobloch is pretty close to the spelling of the German word for garlic, which is "Knoblauch".

Anyway, this is the song I heard for the first time yesterday.  It was from 1980, and I hear it was a hit in some parts of the United States.

It's kind a nice song.  Sounds appropriate for the time.  I probably would have liked it.

This song is about a guy who's upset because his ex girlfriend is getting married.  He wants to know why he wasn't the one she married.  I would submit that if you're at someone's wedding wondering why she didn't marry you instead, you're probably not that concerned about what makes her happy.  That, in and of itself, is probably why not you...  Or maybe she doesn't see what she's missing...  and I'm glad you didn't throw that rice.

I'm making fun of this song, but it's not bad at all...  It's relatable.  Fred has a nice voice.  And he's done better songs, too, like this one that Trisha Yearwood did back in 1997.

I really like this one... would love to try it myself.  It was also covered by Etta James.

I noticed Mr. Knobloch left a comment, so I visited his YouTube channel.

And here he is more recently, performing quite well.

I love it when I find stuff I never even knew existed.  I probably would have been a fan of J. Fred Knobloch if I'd known about him back in the day.  He's probably written a number of songs I've loved over the years.  I'm going to have to get to know him better.  

Edited to add... well what do you know?  It turns out Fred Knobloch recorded a long long song!  I've been wanting to know who wrote and sang this song for years!

Wow!!!  I've been wracking my brain over this song for some time.  But, just like the Canadian Mounties always get their man, I always figure out my songs...  I swear, prior to yesterday, I had never heard of Fred Knobloch, but I remembered this song, even if I haven't heard it since the early 80s.