Sunday, February 28, 2010

Six Degrees of Fish Heads

This is not a timely entry - the chain of events and songs-in-my-head described herein happened months ago, but I've been wrestling with how to present the tale. Unfortunately, I'm not skilled enough in web design to give you the presentation I had envisioned, which would have involved the linking of images in a flowchart to their relevant examples somewhere on the World Wide Web. Instead, please draw your attention to the two-dimensional flowchart below. Click on the image to enlarge it so's to maximize legibility.

Now in linear form, with links: A while back, a Facebook friend of mine, Lia, wrote on my wall to let me know that Del Shannon's "Runaway" was in her head. (I always appreciate hearing what songs are in your heads, dear readers!)

 The clavioline* bridge in "Runaway" led me to get the Lost in Space theme song stuck in my head. Well, one of the Lost in Space theme songs.** From there, I was inspired, while still on YouTube, to look up Billy Mumy, who played Will Robinson on Lost in Space. I'd heard at some point or other that he'd become a musician, in a career trajectory not unlike Brandon Cruz, another sixties child star who went on to front several irreverent punk bands. Some of you out there may have known this already, but in fact, Bill Mumy was one half of the art-wave/novelty duo Barnes & Barnes, most famous for this Dr. Demento staple:

 And there you have it. This, in sum, is how my friend Lia led me to get "Fish Heads" stuck in my head, and to make the realization, for the first time, that little Billy Mumy was responsible for it. If only I had mad web design skills and could have conveyed this convoluted story to you when it was still au courant. Shouts out to Lia! Artist (Runaway): Dell Shannon Year: 1961 Rating: Warm Artist (Lost In Space Theme): John Williams Year: c. 1967 Rating: Warm Artist (Fish Heads): Barnes & Barnes Year: 1978 Rating: Luke Hot * No, I did not know the name of this instrument until embarking on this tangential internet search ** The other Lost in Space theme song goes like this.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I'm gonna show you cats some action,
Like you've never seen before.
We're gonna get some satisfaction
Down at the grocery store!

Seriously. The worst. Song. From Grease 2. But funny that it's in my head.

Artist: The T-Birds
Year: 1982
Rating: Cold

Friday, February 26, 2010

¿Dónde Está Santa Claus?

I have no idea whether I'd ever actually heard this super-kitschy-cute song in full before. The only reason it is lodged in my head is that my old junior high friend Misty used to sing it. This is about 25 years ago, people, and it's in my head now. And it ain't even Xmas time!

And how much holiday joy do I feel now, knowing that Charo covered it in the '70s?? Cuci-Cuci!

Artist (original): Augie Rios
Year: 1958
Rating: Luke Hot

Artist (cover): Charo
Year: 1978
Rating: Lukewarm

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lotta Love

You know I need relating, not solitude. Yep.

...and one of the rockinest flute solos to the light side of Jethro Tull.

Artist: Nicolette Larson
Year: 1978
Rating: Warm

Note: I didn't realize this was a Neil Young song! Wow! Now that I'm hearing it, the phrasing and octave change on the verses are distinctively so.

Another note: Sadly, Nicolette Larson died in 1997, at age 45, from liver failure. Rest in peace, NL.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shake It Up

Monday's song was still on the brain this morning, but after about a half-hour of waking consciousness, this sweet ditty emerged while I was preparing breakfast for the dog.

Artist: The Cars
Year: 1981
Rating: Luke Hot

Monday, February 15, 2010

Head On

The chorus is so damn post-punk catchy. I've always thought this song sounded like a cross between the Ramones and the Pixies, and in looking into the song for this blog entry, I realize that the Pixies covered it just a couple years after The Jesus & Mary Chain's original release.

Artist: The Jesus & Mary Chain
Year: 1989
Rating: Hot!

I think I'd heard the Pixie's version before, but I've never owned Trompe Le Monde, so I don't know how much their version of the song sank into my memory of it.

Artist: Pixies
Year: 1991
Rating: Luke Hot

Friday, February 12, 2010

Too Darn Hot

Awesome cover of Cole Porter's song from the 1990 Red, Hot, and Blue AIDS benefit album.

Artist: Erasure
Year: 1990
Rating: Sizzlin'


How much more can I take? Artist: Built To Spill Year: 2001 Rating: Luke Hot Note: Nod to Jonathan - just started listening to this album a mere month ago, and it's already in my head.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gone Daddy Gone

Officially the first Violent Femmes song in my head since the start of the blog, and from their timeless, amazing debut album, which I constantly can't believe goes back to the early '80s, that I've listened to it since '86. Feels as fresh as anything indie rock has offered in the last five years, and the album is more than 25 years old now!

Artist: The Violent Femmes
Year: 1983
Rating: Hot!

Note: The final post in a tree-part meditation on lost love.

Long Train Runnin'

Without love, where would you be now? Artist: The Doobie Brothers Year: 1973 Rating: Luke Hot Note: Second post in a series of three 'bout love and losing it.

Can't Get Used to Losing You

The first in a recent series of songs in my head reflecting intimacy angst, and the specter of the loss of love. Not that tons of pop songs aren't about this very subject, but the next few posts seem to go together in a sort of trifecta.

Artist: The (English) Beat
Year: 1980
Rating: Warm

Note 1: I'm several songs behind at the moment, so I'll be playing catch-up the next few days.
Note 2: This song was originally recorded by Andy Williams in 1963.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Unfortunately, the good videos for this song are all embed-disabled, but check out the classic Solid Gold clip here. I love how Sheena puts host Rick Dees in his place after his obnoxious comments. I'm sure this whole exchange was scripted, but it almost feels off the cuff, and completely appropriate given the feminist mantra of the lyrics.

Strut, pout, put it out
That's what you want from women
Come on baby, whatcha takin' me for?

Artist: Sheena Easton
Year: 1984
Rating: Warm

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Oh, Oasis, I don't believe that anybody feels the way they did about you now.

Artist: Oasis
Year: 1995
Rating: Warm

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just Can't Get Enough

This is making the rounds in my head owing to a pal's Facebook update. Thanks, Gina! The song always reminds me of a personal anecdote going back about 20 years to Jewish youth group leadership camp in Starlight, Pennsylvania, the summer before my senior year of high school. It goes something like this:

It's the last night all of us will be together, and there's a dance going on in the rec hall. I'm not interested in dancing; I just want to stargaze and chat with friends out in the meadow. I'm talking to a guy that I've harbored a crush on for the last three or four weeks, which in the compressed intensity world of teenage summer camp, is an eternity. We're talking about a speaker we'd seen that afternoon, a local Democratic politician who was addressing the group about being a Jewish leader in the community. He was really dull, and I found myself dozing off during the lecture. I was conveying this to Jeffrey, the crush boy, that I'd been really bored with the speaker until, at some point during his talk, he came out to the group as gay, and then I really perked up and became fascinated with his story. (It was a matter of months before I'd make the conscious realization that I liked girls, as well as guys, but my political advocacy for LGBT folks preceded that awareness.) Jeffrey then relayed to me that he had been interested in what the guy was talking about until the moment he said he was gay, and that's when he started to tune out. In an instant, my summerlong desire for Jeffrey withered. All the while, "And I just can't get enough, and I just can't get enough" is wafting through the humid air from the rec hall.

Artist: Depeche Mode
Year: 1981
Rating: Luke Hot