Here’s another WTF post. I have no idea why this is stuck in my head today. Now, I was talking with my friend Mel about this song and artist, but that at least 2 months ago. maybe it’s because I’ve started the process to get my medical marijuana card – specifically to help with my sleep. And these weird ass dreams are part of that. Who knows…
Some mornings I wake up with a song that I have no idea why it’s stuck. Now this is indeed, my all-time favorite early Beatles song, I can’t say exactly why. I will admit that as a teenager I could relate to the story the song brings out. But that was a long time ago.
The track doesn’t really have all that strong of a guitar part, so George (my favorite of the Beatles) isn’t really featured. It is primarily a Lennon composition, and as I’ve mentioned before both my brother and I consider John as the best rock and roll composer ever.
This track was released originally in the UK on the 1964 album Beatles For Sale and in the US on the Beatles ’65.
The year was 1965, I was 7, and like all the other kids, thought this song about Snoopy. But alas, it’s not.
“My Girl Sloopy” was first recorded by the Los Angeles-based R&B vocal group, the Vibrations in 1964, for Atlantic Records (45-2222). It was a hit, reaching number 10 on the R&B chart, and number 26 on the US pop chart. In April 1965, The group members were Don Bradley, Carl Fisher, Dave Govan, James Johnson, and Ricky Owens. The song then became a local hit in the Pacific Northwest in a cover version by James Henry & the Olympics (Jerden Records), but it was quickly eclipsed in August when the Indiana pop group the McCoys released their iconic retitled version. “Hang On Sloopy” went to number one in the U.S. in October 1965.
The original members were all from Union City; however, the Zehringer boys were initially from Fort Recovery, Ohio. The band members were guitarist and lead singer Richard Zehringer, his brother Randy on drums, and bassist Dennis Kelly. This first line-up was known as The Rick Z Combo, and later known as Rick and the Raiders. When Kelly left for college, the Zehringers were joined by bassist Randy Jo Hobbs, saxophonist Sean Michaels, and keyboardist Ronnie Brandon. This was the line-up that took the name of “The McCoys”. Brandon left the group in 1965 and was replaced by Bobby Peterson on keyboards.
Never heard of these guys? Well, The McCoys may have been sent to the “one hit wonder” pile of the 60’s, but that Rick Zehringer guy didn’t. You will know him better as Rick Derringer, he of “Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo“ fame. The McCoys did have other hits on the charts including “Fever” (Billboard #7) and “Come On, Let’s Go”, Billboard #21). But this on hit #1 on 2 October.
Mr. Derringer is, supposedly, the subject of Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”. But probably not;
Just to clear up a generation’s worth of rumors about the lyrics of “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” Walter Becker stated for the record in a 1985 interview in the pages of Musician that the “number” in question was not slang for a marijuana cigarette (“send it off in a letter to yourself,” supposedly a way to safely transport one’s dope back before the post office abolished general delivery mail, was held up as the key line), and an uncharacteristically forthcoming Donald Fagen has similarly revealed that the “Rikki” in question was simply a woman he’d had a crush on in college. It says something about Steely Dan’s reputation as obscurantists that even a straightforward lost-love song like “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” could be so widely over-interpreted. … It’s unsurprising that “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” ended up becoming Steely Dan’s biggest commercial hit … as it’s one of the group’s most gentle and accessible songs.
Talking this selection over with Wifey™ we both remember this as Hang On Snoopy. We’re completely wrong of course, but that’s how we both remember it. We seem to recall a cartoon of Snoopy set to this song. But maybe that’s just wishful remembrance.
Today’s entry is not really all that odd. But what is odd is that as I’m getting everything together to write this post, Wifey is looking for Elf to stream later tonight to watch with the girls. So how does that relate to whatever song is stuck in my head? Because, apparently, Leon Redbone has a part in the movie, as Leon the snowman. As should be apparent, I have never seen the movie do I intend to watch it. Will Ferrell just grates me the wrong way. I think the only thing I’ve seen of him that I find funny is the SNL “More Cowbell” skit. Everything else, just like Jim Carrey (who according to the IMDB page for the movie was also considered for the part of Buddy), I do not find funny. But that’s me, if you enjoy the movie, please go on and continue to. I’ll be sipping on a single malt and listening to my music and probably doing some genealogy while the girls will be watching it.
So, back to the song and the singer. I believe I first saw Mr. Redbone on SNL performing this song. If I remember correctly (which is questionable), it was a solo act. Just Leon and his guitar. I have a vague remembrance of him wearing a ring with a big red jewel on his left hand. But I cannot find a video of that performance to collaborate that memory. It may have been on The Johnny Carson Show that I saw him instead.
Leon made a career playing “Tin Pan Alley” music, and this is one of those. One part of his stage shows was him claiming to have written these old songs. It was a joke of course, as the music had been written before he was born. And it figures that his obit claims he was 127 when he passed. He wasn’t.
A statement on Mr. Redbone’s website noted his death with cheeky humor: “It is with heavy hearts we announce that early this morning, May 30th, 2019, Leon Redbone crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127.” His longtime publicist Jim Della Croce confirmed that his age was, in fact, 69.
This beautiful song has been stuck on repeat since about 4 AM this morning. I don’t know why. It’s not like I heard it recently, I’ve been over on Pandora, on channels with other playlists. Yet, here it is..
I’m not complaining, it’s a great song. And one that does get played often, so I’m sure everyone will recognize it.
“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” was a song that I had written the music and Tom had written the words. The Heartbreakers had recorded a version of it with Jimmy Iovine, and Jimmy being the entrepreneur that he was, he was working with Stevie, and I guess he asked Tom if she could try it, and it just developed from there. We cut the track as a Heartbreakers record and when she decided to do it we used that track and she came in and sang over it. It became a duet. It’s basically all the Heartbreakers on that record. ~ Mike Campbell
Interesting note, son-the-younger was almost named for Ms. Nicks. We were looking at Stephanie Nicole as a girls name, or Steven Ray (for guitar god Stevie Ray Vaughn) for a boys name. It was about an hour before he was born we decided to name him after his maternal grandfather instead. Such is life. Also, I did not have a poster of Stevie in my room as a teenager. I did however have a music book of Fleetwood Mac’s that had some great promotional pictures of her.
P.S. Stevie is the first woman to be elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. Once with Fleetwood Mac and then just last year for her solo work.
I have to admit, that I had never heard this song until yesterday morning. One of my favorite DJs on SiriusXM Deep Tracks, Earle Bailey played it while I was eating breakfast. I was humming the tune the rest of the day, and into this morning.
I think this song really sums up the entire “Holiday Creep” thing. Christmas decorations are almost up year around now. And sadly Thanksgiving, my favorite of the holidays, has become nothing but “a buffet in between”. So, without further comment, here is “Suddenly It’s Christmas”.
Yes! This is a wifey post! Well, she’s not really doing the post, but she did give me the song. And that counts. So there!
From the Wiki page:
The song is about two boys (“Me and Julio”) who have broken a law, although the exact law that has been broken is not stated in the song. When “the mama pajama” finds out what they have done, she goes to the police station to report the crime. The individuals are later arrested, but released when a “radical priest” intervenes.
The meaning and references in the song have long provoked debate. In a July 20, 1972 interview for Rolling Stone, Jon Landau asked Simon: “What is it that the mama saw? The whole world wants to know.” Simon replied “I have no idea what it is… Something sexual is what I imagine, but when I say ‘something’, I never bothered to figure out what it was. Didn’t make any difference to me.”
More recently, in October 2010, Simon described the song as “a bit of inscrutable doggerel“, while the “radical priest” has been interpreted as a reference to Daniel Berrigan, who was featured on the cover of Time on January 25, 1971, near when the song was written.
The song is from Paul Simon’s 1972 self-titled studio album. Which had another of my favorite Paul Simon tracks, Mother And Child Reunion. Wifey says the lines; “And it’s against the law, it was against the law What mama saw, it was against the law“, are what’s stuck in her mind.
I’ve always thought it was a political act that got those two in trouble, hence the line about being released by a radical priest. Wifey says “It’s drugs. Pure and simple.” But as the quote above from Paul says, even he doesn’t know. It doesn’t take a complete story to make a good song. Just a great concept and you’re off to the bank! The song topped out at #7.
Personally, I just love the rhythms throughout the song. Enjoy!
I was saddened to hear of the death of George “Pops” Chambers earlier this week. George was of course, part of the late 60’s and 70’s “soul” band, The Chambers Brothers. The news immediately brought this song to mind, and it’s been in and out of consciousness ever since.
Originally from Carthage, Mississippi, the Chambers Brothers first honed their skills as members of the choir in their Baptist church. This set up ended in 1952 when the eldest brother George was drafted into the Army. George relocated to Los Angeles after his discharge, and his brothers soon settled there as well. As a foursome, they began performing gospel and folk throughout the Southern California region in 1954, but they more or less remained unknown until appearing in New York City in 1965.
Consisting of George (September 26, 1931 – October 12, 2019) on washtub bass (later on Danelectro bass guitar), Lester (b. April 13, 1940) on harmonica, and Willie (b. March 3, 1938) and Joe (b. August 22, 1942) on guitar, the group started to venture outside the gospel circuit, playing at coffeehouses that booked folk acts. They played at places like The Ash Grove, a very popular Los Angeles folk club. It became one of their favorite haunts and brought them into contact with Hoyt Axton, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Reverend Gary Davis, and Barbara Dane. Dane became a great supporter, performing and recording with the brothers. With the addition of Brian Keenan (January 28, 1943 – October 5, 1985) on drums, Dane took them on tour with her and introduced them to Pete Seeger, who helped put the Chambers Brothers on the bill of the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. One of the songs they performed, “I Got It”, appeared on the Newport Folk Festival 1965 compilation LP, which was issued on the Vanguard label.
They were becoming more accepted in the folk community, but, like many on the folk circuit, were looking to electrify their music and develop a more rock and roll sound. Joe Chambers recalled in a May 1994 Goldmine article that people at the Newport Folk Festival were breaking down fences and rushing to the stage. “Newport had never seen or heard anything like that.” After the group finished and the crowd finally settled down, the MC came up and said “Whether you know it or not, that was rock ‘n’ roll.” That night they played at a post-concert party for festival performers and went to a recording session of the newly electrified Bob Dylan. Shortly after appearing at Newport, the group released its debut album, People Get Ready.
The (radio) edit version of this track reached #11 in the fall of 1968 (I was all of 10 years old then!), spending a total of five weeks at that spot. There were actually two edited versions of the song produced, one runs 3:05 and the other 4:45. The original clocks in at over 11 minutes.