John Lennon – Gimme Some Truth ——— Songs that reference Richard Nixon

Since I blog about the seventies a bunch I thought this reference in songs would fit the loose format I have here…songs that reference Mr. Richard Milhous Nixon. This should be fun. We will start with this John Lennon song “Gimme Some Truth.” In this case “tricky dicky” will work as a reference.

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, Son of tricky dicky’s, Gonna mother hubbard soft soap me, With just a pocket full of hopes, Money for dope, money for rope

Don’t hold back John…tell us how you really feel. John was working on this song during the Let It Be sessions. He would record it two years later and it would be on the Imagine album. Lennon’s contempt for politicians came through rather well on this song.

George Harrison played guitar on this song. Their old friend from Germany Klaus Voormann (Bass player and Graphic Artist) played bass and the great Nicky Hopkins, who was on practically everyone’s records played the piano. Alan White who later joined Yes played drums. It was recorded at Ascot Sound Studios, Lennon’s recording studio at his Tittenhurst Park home, in May 1971.

John Lennon 1968

“I think our society is run by insane people for insane objectives, and I think that’s what I sussed when I was 16 and 12, way down the line. But, I expressed it differently all through my life. It’s the same thing I’m expressing all the time, but now I can put it into that sentence that I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends. If anybody can put on paper what our government, and the American government and the Russian, Chinese, what they are actually trying to do and what they think they’re doing… I’d be very pleased to know what they think they’re doing, I think they’re all insane!”

From Songfacts

There is a book written by Jon Wiener of the same title revealing a compilation of FBI files on Lennon, who was investigated as a drug user and radical. The FBI feared Lennon would disrupt the Republican National Convention in 1972.

Lennon referred to President Richard Nixon in this song as “trick-dicky,” a nickname that became popular during the Watergate hearings. There are many lyrical references to politicians as deceiving, slick, and cowardly characters.

Cover-ups such as the My Lai massacre in Vietnam frustrated Lennon into writing this song, demanding simple truth.

Mother Hubbard in the lyrics refer to the poem, which is itself, a cover-up:
“Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor doggie a bone,
When she got there
The cupboard was bare
So the poor little doggie had none”
The Old Mother Hubbard referred to in this rhyme’s words allude to the famous Cardinal Wolsey. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was the most important statesman and churchman of the Tudor history period in 16th century England. Cardinal Wolsey proved to be a faithful servant but displeased the King, Henry VIII, by failing to facilitate the King’s divorce from Queen Katherine of Aragon who had been his queen of many years. The reason for seeking the divorce and hence the creation of the Old Mother Hubbard poem was to enable him to marry Anne Boleyn with whom he was passionately in love. In the Old Mother Hubbard song King Henry was the “doggie” and the “bone” refers to the divorce (and not money as many believe) The cupboard relates to the Catholic Church although the subsequent divorce arranged by Thomas Cramner resulted in the break with Rome and the formation of the English Protestant church and the demise of Old Mother Hubbard – Cardinal Wolsey. Another rhyme reputedly relates to Cardinal Wolsey.

“Softsoap” is slang – It alludes to liquid soap, likening its slippery quality to insincere flattery. Its figurative use was first recorded in 1830. “Yellow-bellied” is slang for cowardly.

George Harrison played guitar on this.

Gimme Some Truth

I’m sick and tired of hearing things from
Uptight short sided narrow minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic psychotic pigheaded politicians
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied
Son of tricky dicky’s
Gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocket full of hopes
Money for dope, money for rope

No short-haired, yellow-bellied,
Son of tricky dicky’s
Gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocket full of hopes
Money for dope, money for rope

I’m sick to death of seeing things from
Tight-lipped condescending mama’s little chauvinists
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth
I’ve had enough of watching scenes from
Schizophrenic egocentric paranoiac primadonnas
All I want is the truth just give me some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied,
Son of tricky dicky’s
Gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocket full of hopes
It’s money for dope, money for rope

I’m sick to death of hearing things from
Uptight short sided narrow minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic psychotic pigheaded politicians
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth

The Young Rascals – How Can I Be Sure?

This song peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100 in 1967. How Can I Be Sure was written by Rascals Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati. Another great single by The Young Rascals.

The Young Rascals formed in Garfield New Jersey in 1965. They were Eddie Brigati (vocals), Felix Cavaliere (keyboard, vocals), Gene Cornish (guitar), and Dino Danelli (drums). The group had plenty of  success, songs such as “A Beautiful Morning, “Good Lovin,’” “A Girl Like You,” and “People Got to be Free.” They had three number 1 hits, 6 Top Ten hits, and a total of 18 songs in the Billboard 100 before they disbanded in 1972.

From Songfacts

This song was a follow-up to “Groovin’,” and was a huge hit. It’s a soulful ballad about the doubts of one’s first great love, particularly when the love is one-sided. The song was popular enough that it was covered by many artists, most notably David Cassidy in 1972, whose version reached #25 on the Billboard Top 100.

Like “Groovin’,” .

The Young Rascals’ original version didn’t hit in the UK and the first time it charted was in 1970 when a revival by Dusty Springfield scraped into the charts at #36. Two years later David Cassidy, who was at the time along with The Osmonds the most popular teen idol in the UK, went all the way to the top of the British singles chart with his cover.

How Can I Be Sure?

How can I be sure
In a world that’s constantly changin’?
How can I be sure
Where I stand with you?

Whenever I
Whenever I am away from you
I wanna die
’cause you know I wanna stay with you

How do I know?
Maybe you’re trying to use me
Flying too high can confuse me
Touch me but don’t take me down

Whenever I
Whenever I am away from you
My alibi, is tellin’ people I don’t care for you
Maybe I’m just hanging around
With my head up, upside down
It’s a pity
I can’t seem to find someone
Who’s as pretty ‘n’ lovely as you

How can I be sure
I really, really, really, wanna kno-o-ow
I really, really, really, wanna kno-o-ow

(insturmental)

How’s the weather?
Weather or not, we’re together
Together, we’ll see it much better
I love you, I love you forever
You know where I can be found

How can I be sure
In a world that’s constantly changing?
How can I be sure?
I’ll be sure with you.

The Langoliers

Have you ever liked something a lot but you know deep down…that it is mediocre or even worse? That is the way I feel toward this 1995 two-part Stephen King TV movie. This is an odd post. Me recommending a TV movie that is not great but…I do love the story.

I always complain when movies don’t go by the book. I can’t say that about this one. It’s so close to the book it hurts which is great. It wasn’t the story that was bad…I love the plot. The acting is ok…well average at best…no it has to do with something that I usually don’t care about at all. Special effects… Star Trek had primitive special effects but I loved the red beams from the phasers…as long as it gets the story across is all I care about. But this…this has to be some of the worst CGI effects ever in a movie even a TV movie. It actually ruins the end for me.

The plot is much like a Twilight Zone episode. A plane full of people takes off from Los Angeles to Boston. 10 people wake up after sleeping for the first 40 minutes into the flight and see everyone else including the crew has vanished. They find the missing people’s watches, wigs, and even implants (surgical pins, pacemakers) sitting in the seats where their owners were at one time.

They look out the window as they were going over Denver and see no lights at all. No one is on the radio. It’s like the world is empty except them. It just so happens a pilot with the airlines was on the plane asleep traveling and he woke up and flew the plane to a smaller airport in Bangor Maine (it is a Stephen King story so where else but Maine). They land but no one is at the airport and everything is drab looking. All the food and drinks are flat. They hear this far off munching sound coming toward them.

That is a great beginning and I liked the story it’s just the “monsters” are pretty bad. If you want a Twilight Zone type story…it’s a fun watch but it could have been so much better. If Hollywood wants to redo a movie…which seems to be the case these days…this one would be a great one to do.

So yes I would recommend this sometimes so so TV movie because of the story. The Stephen Kings book it came from was called Four Past Midnight and is a collection of novellas. I have watched this movie at least 4 times. I just can’t help it.

In this trailer, they wisely avoid showing too much of the Langoliers

Image result for the langoliers special effects

 

 

 

 

Beatles – Baby’s In Black

This song was written by John and Paul together. Baby’s In Black sounded different than most of their other songs at the time. The song was in 6/8 time similar to a Waltz and most Beatle songs to that point were in 4/4 time. The song was on the Beatles for Sale album. The album peaked at #1 in the UK and was taken apart for the American market with 8 of the 14 tracks released on Beatles 65 which peaked at #1 in 1965.

The song took a different approach. Baby’s In Black is about a man who is pursuing a woman, but the woman doesn’t return the interest because she is still in mourning for her previous lover, and the reason she always dresses in black.

I’ve always liked the song because it mixes different musical styles into one. The subject matter is also not a typical boy and girl love song.

Paul McCartney: “We got more and more free to get into ourselves,” McCartney remembers. “Our student selves rather than ‘we must please the girls and make money,’ which is all that ‘From Me To You,’ ‘Thank You Girl,’ P.S. I Love You’ is about…We wanted to write something a little bit darker, bluesy, the title’s dark anyway…more grown up rather than just straight pop. It was more ‘baby’s in black’ as in mourning. Our favorite color was black, as well.”

For an in-depth look at this song musically…. http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/AWP/bib.shtml

From Songfacts

The depressing subject matter is hidden by the upbeat music. 

There is speculation that the song was written about mourning the loss of Stuart Sutcliffe after he died of a sudden brain hemorrhage. The song was a 50/50 effort by both Lennon and McCartney but started by Lennon as a response to his own mourning process (which he never really got over). The “baby in black” would be photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who dated Sutcliffe before he died.

This is one of several Beatles songs with a dual melody line – “If I Fell” is another. McCartney and Lennon sang into the same microphone, making it hard to distinguish which is the main melody line. Sheet music of the song usually displays both. 

This was the first 50/50 Lennon/McCartney song written since “I Want To Hold Your Hand” a year earlier. They wrote it together sitting practically nose to nose at John’s Kenwood Estate.

Baby’s In Black

Oh dear, what can I do?
Baby’s in black
And I’m feeling blue
Tell me, oh what can I do?
She thinks of him
And so she dresses in black
And though he’ll never come back
She’s dressed in black

Oh dear, what can I do?
Baby’s in black
And I’m feeling blue
Tell me, oh what can I do?
I think of her
But she thinks only of him
And though it’s only a whim
She thinks of him

Oh how long will it take
Till she sees the mistake
She has made?
Dear what can I do?
Baby’s in black
And I’m feeling blue
Tell me, oh what can I do?

Merle Haggard – Are The Good Times Really Over ——— Songs that reference The Beatles

Back before Elvis, before Vietnam war came along, Before the Beatles and Yesterday

I’m wrapping up the songs that reference the Beatles today…I thought  Merle Haggard and Frank Zappa would be a good stopping point. Hope you enjoyed the posts.

This song has staying power because every generation longs for the culture of the ones before it. One could easily insert 21st-century phrasing into his classic hit, interchanging microwaves with iPhones, etc. Every single generation looks for a Golden Age, a time where they could pinpoint that everything was right in the world.

This song peaked at #2 in the Billboard Hot Country Song Charts and #1 in Canada in 1982.

Merle had 38 number one hits, 71 top ten hits, and 101 songs in the top 100 in the country charts. It’s hard to wrap my head around 38 number one songs on any chart.

 

Are The Good Times Really Over (I Wish a Buck Was Still Silver)

I wish a buck was still silver
It was back when the country was strong
Back before Elvis, before Vietnam war came along
Before the Beatles and yesterday
When a man could still work and still would
Is the best of the free life behind us now
And are the good times really over for good?And are we rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell
With no kinda chance for the flag or the liberty bell?
Wish a Ford and a Chevy
Would still last ten years like they should
Is the best of the free life behind us now
And are the good times really over for good?

I wish coke was still cola
And a joint was a bad place to be
It was back before Nixon lied to us all on T.V
Before microwave ovens when a girl could still cook, and still would
Is the best of the free life behind us now
Are the good times really over for good?Are we rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell
With no kinda chance for the flag or the liberty bell
Wish a Ford and a Chevy
Would still last ten years like they should
Is the best of the free life behind us now
And are the good times really over for good?Stop rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell
Stand up for the flag and let’s all ring the liberty bell
Let’s make a Ford and a Chevy
That would still last ten years like they should
‘Cause the best of the free life is still yet to come
And the good times ain’t over for good

Frank Zappa – Joe’s Garage ——- Songs that reference The Beatles

Got matching suits ‘N’ Beatle Boots

Frank didn’t get played on commercial radio often. This is one of the few tracks that did get some airplay.  The album peaked at #27 in the Billboard 100 in 1979.

I’m not familiar with a lot of Zappa’s catalog. The first song I remember liking by him was Catholic Girls off of this album. A friend of mine heavily into Zappa played me this concept album. The triple album came out as a double album and then a single album.

It’s pretty easy to see why it didn’t get radio play as the lyrics were full of profanity. The music is great… Zappa was one of the best guitarists around as well as a great all-around musician and songwriter.

From Songfacts about the album.

Running to 6 minutes 10 seconds, the title track of this triple concept album was obviously written from the heart, even though it is one of the few such songs which does not resort to out and out profanity. The song itself is fairly straightforward, but the uptempo music is both entertaining and witty. At the end, Joe is arrested for the crime of playing music. Zappa never got much airplay, but the few stations that played him often had this song in rotation.

Joe’s Garage is a popular name for real garages, though it remains to be seen if this is out of homage to Zappa or due to a lot of mechanics being Christened Joe! 

In the liner notes to the album, Zappa makes a barely-passing reference to music being censored in Iran, which led some folks to believe the song was inspired by the Iran Hostage Crisis, but the American hostages weren’t taken until months after the album was released.

Zappa was an extremely outspoken enemy of religion, government, commercialism, and just about anything else, so this song and album are right in character. Joe’s Garage has parodies of a broad range of subjects – there’s “L. Ron Hoover” and the “First Church of Appliantology,” the Roman Catholic and Christian churches, lots of references to kinky sex (he also mocked that a lot), the “Central Scrutinizer” is kind of like Orwell’s Big Brother – referencing government censorship, making fun of “dope and LSD” and snorting lines of detergent, the music industry in general… you get the picture.

The ban-on-music thing in the story stems from the government’s “Total Criminalization” policy, where this new philosophy passes the legislation that states that “all humans are inherently criminals” and it’s the government’s job to keep making up laws to give them an excuse to throw everybody in jail.

Bottom line: You can’t narrow the theme of the album down to one thing. If anything, it was more Zappa’s general mockery of the whole capitalist-industrial military-religion complex, and mentioning Iran was just his way of saying “Look what could happen here! It happened there, after all.” Seeing as how this came out before the PMRC targeted Zappa for obscenity in lyrics which led to parental advisory stickers on the album, that kind of makes him a prophet.

Joe’s Garage

A boring old garage in a residential area with a teen-age band
rehearsing in it. JOE (the main character in the CENTRAL
SCRUTINIZER’S Special Presentation) sings to us of the trials and
tribulations of garage-band husbandry.

Central Scrutinizer:
We take you now, to a garage, in Canoga Park.

Frank Zappa:
(It makes it’s own sauce…)

Joe:
It wasn’t very large
There was just enough room to cram the drums
In the corner over by the Dodge
It was a fifty-four
With a mashed up door
And a cheesy little amp
With a sign on the front said “Fender Champ”
And a second hand guitar
It was a Stratocaster with a whammy bar

At this point, LARRY (a guy who will eventually give up music and
earn a respectable living as a roadie for a group called Toad-O)
joins in the song…

Larry:
We could jam in Joe’s Garage
His mama was screamin’
His dad was mad
We was playin’ the same old song
In the afternoon ‘n’ sometimes we would
Play it all night long
It was all we knew, ‘n’ easy too
So we wouldn’t get it wrong
All we did was bend the string like…
Hey!
Down in Joe’s Garage
We didn’t have no dope or LSD
But a coupla quartsa beer
Would fix it so the intonation
Would not offend yer ear
And the same old chords goin’ over ‘n’ over
Became a symphony
We would play it again ‘n’ again ‘n’ again
‘Cause it sounded good to me
ONE MORE TIME!
We could jam in Joe’s Garage
His mama was screamin’,
“TURN IT DOWN!”
We was playing’ the same old song
In the afternoon ‘n’ sometimes we would
Play it all night long
It was all we knew, and easy too
So we wouldn’t get it wrong
Even if you played it on a saxophone
We thought we was pretty good
We talked about keepin’ the band together
‘N’ we figured that we should
‘Cause about this time we was gettin’ the eye
From the girls in the neighborhood
They’d all come over ‘n’ dance around
like…

Twenty teen-age girls dash
in and go STOMP-CLAP,
STOMP-CLAP-CLAP…

So we picked out a stupid name
Had some cards printed up for a coupla bucks
‘N’ we was on our way to fame
Got matching suits ‘N’ Beatle Boots
‘N’ a sign on the back of the car
‘N’ we was ready to work in a GO-GO Bar

ONE TWO THREE FOUR
LET’S SEE IF YOU GOT SOME MORE!

People seemed to like our song
They got up ‘n’ danced ‘n’ made a lotta noise
An’ it wasn’t ‘fore very long
A guy from a company we can’t name
Said we oughta take his pen
‘N’ sign on the line for a real good time
But he didn’t tell us when
These “good times” would be somethin’
That was really happenin’
So the band broke up
An’ it looks like
We will never play again…

Joe:
Guess you only get one chance in life
To play a song that goes like…

(And, as the band plays their little song,
MRS. BORG (who keeps her son SY,
in the closet with the vacuum cleaner)
screams out the window…

Mrs. Borg:
Turn it down!
Turn it DOWN!
I have children sleeping here…
Don’t you boys know any nice songs?

Joe:
(Speculating on the future)
Well the years was rollin’ by, yeah
Heavy Metal ‘n’ Glitter Rock
Had caught the public eye, yeah
Snotty boys with lipstick on
Was really flyin’ high, yeah
‘N’ then they got that Disco thing
‘N’ New Wave came along
‘N’ all of a sudden I thought the time
Had come for that old song
We used to play in “Joe’s Garage”
And if I am not wrong
You will soon be dancin’ to…

Central Scrutinizer:
The WHITE ZONE is
for loading and
unloading only. If you
gotta load or unload,
go to the WHITE
ZONE. You’ll love it…

Joe:
Well the years was rollin’ by (etc.)…

Mrs. Borg:
I’m calling THE POLICE!
I did it! They’ll be here… shortly!

Officer Butzis:
This is the Police…

Mrs. Borg:
I’m not joking around anymore

Officer Butzis:
We have the garage surrounded
If you give yourself up
We will not harm you
Or hurt you neither

Mrs. Borg:
You’ll see them

Officer Butzis:
This is the Police

Mrs. Borg:
There they are, they’re coming!

Officer Butzis:
Give yourself up
We will not harm you

Mrs. Borg:
Listen to that mess, would you?

Officer Butzis:
This is the Police
Give yourself up
We have the garage surrounded

Mrs. Borg:
Everday this goes on around here!

Officer Butzis:
We will not harm you, or maim you
(SWAT Team 4, move in!)

Mrs. Borg:
He used cut my grass…
He was very nice boy…
That’s DISGUSTING!

Central Scrutinizer:
This is the CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER…
That was Joe’s first confrontation with The Law.
Naturally, we were easy on him.
One of our friendly counselors gave him
A do-nut… and told him to
Stick closer to church-oriented social activities.

Ian Hunter – All of the Good Ones Are Taken

In the eighties, I loved this song. Ian Hunter was the former lead singer of Mott The Hoople. This song peaked at #25 in the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs in 1983. I had the album and the cassette that I wore out in my car tape deck.

It’s not a great album…but this song was one of the bright spots. It’s one of those songs I never hear now except maybe at a grocery store and it’s a shame. It was a nice jangly song in the synth-heavy 80’s now pretty much forgotten.