Open your ears and free your mind, it’s time for another batch of Sunday tunes and tales!
A Must To Avoid by Herman’s Hermits (From The Album, “The Best of Herman’s Hermits”)
In the summer of 1966 a milestone in my life happened—I bought my very first record album. We lived in Louisville, Kentucky at the time and I had scrimped and saved for quite a while and finally had enough money to buy my first album. My brother Jim had already bought a couple albums and I was anxious to start my very own collection. The Beatles were my favorite band but secondary favorites included Paul Revere and the Raiders and Herman’s Hermits.
I recall walking into the record store in the middle of the mall with Jim and dutifully strolling over to the Herman’s Hermits section and selecting, “The Best of Herman’s Hermits.” I figured a “best of” collection wouldn’t have any duds in it and plus it came with an autographed picture of Herman himself! I still remember buying the album and then opening it up on the car ride back home and basking in the new vinyl smell that hit you after you tore off the shrink wrap. I was hooked at that moment, a vinyl junkie from that moment on. Most people around my age remember the first album they bought. I wonder if kids these days will be as nostalgic about the first song they downloaded? Probably not. Too bad for them.
Punk Rock Girl by The Dead Milkmen (From the Album, “Beelzebubba”)
I first heard this song by The Dead Milkmen back in 1988 on MTV, when MTV still played music videos. The song cracked me up and I love how they worked in a nod to the Beach Boys via this lyric:
“So we jumped up on the table,
And shouted ‘anarchy,’
And someone played a Beach Boys song,
On the jukebox,
It was ‘California Dreamin,'
So we started screamin,'
On such a winter's day.”
Some of the other songs on Beelzebubba include: "My Many Smells,” "Everybody's Got Nice Stuff But Me,” "Ringo Buys a Rifle,” and "Life Is Shit.”
The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore by The Walker Brothers (From the album, “The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore”)
If you’ve ever had your heart ripped out and then stomped all over and then flushed down the toilet only to stop up the toilet, have it overflow and flood your bathroom, then this song is perfect to remind you of that horrible memory. “Love Stinks” by the J. Geils Band would be the other song for this unique and bitter musical genre.
Big Exit by PJ Harvey (From The Album, “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea”)
“Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea” was PJ Harvey’s fifth album that came out in October of 2000 and the album draws inspiration from her love of New York CIty. The cover shows her crossing a street in Times Square. The album has been heralded as one of her greatest works—Time magazine chose it as one of the 100 best albums of all time in 2006 and Rolling Stone picked it as the 35th best album of the decade.
“Big Exit” is my favorite song on the album and while the song has a dense texture to it, there’s just three people playing on it: PJ Harvey on vocals, guitar and bass, Rob Ellis on tambourine and harpsichord and Mick Harvey on organ, bass, drums, percussion and harmonium.
The Outdoor Type by The Lemonheads (From The Album, “Car Button Cloth”)
This is a jaunty little somewhat country tinged song by The Lemonheads. The lyrics remind me of myself, even though I don’t have a TV.
“i can't go away with you on a rock climbing weekend,
what if somethings on TV and it’s never shown again.
It’s just as well i'm not invited i'm afraid of heights,
I lied about being the outdoor type.”
The Lemonheads formed in 1986 and the band has had over 20 different musicians come and go in different lineups with singer/songwriter Evan Dando being the only constant member of the band.
Lemonheads are also a delicious candy!
Work It by Missy Elliott (From The Album, “Under Construction”)
This song is a true hip hop classic complete with backwards masking and there’s samples within the song from Run DMC, Blondie and The Beastie Boys. The lyrics are fairly explicit and here’s a sampling:
“Keep your eyes on my bum-bum-bum-bum-bum,
You think you can handle this badonkadonk-donk,
Take my thong off and my ass go boom,
Cut the lights on so you see what I could do.”
Anybody who can work the word, “badonkadonk-donk” into a song lyric is A-OK with me! Plus this is one of my all time favorite music videos.
The song is tied with Foreigner's 1981 hit "Waiting for a Girl Like You" as the longest-running U.S. number two single that did not reach number one; both song spent ten weeks at the second position on the charts.