Five Man Electrical Band – Signs

I remember this song when I was a young fellow. The Five Man Electrical Band was a rock band from Ottawa, Ontario. They started out as The Staccatos in 1963 and had success in the Canadian Charts between 1965-1975. In 1969 is when they changed their name to The Five Man Electrical Band. They had 8 top twenty hits and 4 top ten hits in Canada. 

In America though they were known mostly  for Signs but they did have a top 40 song called Absolutely Right. Signs was the B-Side to Absolutely Right.

This was written by the lead singer Les Emmerson. Emmerson wrote the song after taking a road trip on Route 66 in California, where he noticed many billboards that obscured the beautiful scenery. This posed a question: Who is allowed to put up signs that interfere with nature? This led to another query: Who gets to make the rules that appear on so many signs?

“Signs” was included on their second album in 1970, but not considered single-worthy by their record label, as it didn’t fit a standard pop format.

In 1970, it was issued as the B-side to the single “Hello Melinda Goodbye,” which peaked at #55 on the Canadian chart. Disk jockeys preferred the flip side, however, and started playing “Signs,” which was then released as an A-side in 1971.

It peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100 and #4 in Canada in 1971.

The follow-up, “Absolutely Right,” also did well in America, peaking at #26 in the Billboard 100 and #3 in Canada. 

From Songfacts

The song gave voice to those without power or property rights, which in many cases were young people.

This song starts with a line that became one of the most memorable in rock: “And the sign said, ‘Long-haired freaky people need not apply.'”

By starting with the word “And,” we feel that we are picking up a story, and it’s clear that the singer has put a lot of thought into this. The first verse is a classic tale of how looks can be deceiving, as the difference between an “upstanding man” and a hippie can be something as superficial as hair.

The next verse finds the singer looking at a “no trespassing” sign and questioning its authority. This resonates with anyone who has seen beautiful beaches, vistas, and other points of nature marked as private property, often with nobody there to enjoy it.

We then enter a private club with a strict dress code, and we hear the line most willful wanderers have been confronted with: “You ain’t supposed to be here.”

Finally, we end up in church, which brings God into our story. If ever there is something that is open to all, it it God, but even in church, a donation is called for. At this point, our hero turns the tables and makes his own sign, thanking God for the wonder of life.

Tesla revived this song in 1990 when they recorded a live, acoustic version for their album Five Man Acoustical Jam, which was recorded at the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia on July 2, 1990.

The band was on tour with Mötley Crüe, opening for the rockers on the Dr. Feelgood tour. July 2 was an off-day, so Tesla booked the acoustic show and had each band member pick a cover song to perform. Lead singer Jeff Keith picked “Signs,” a song he grew up listening to in Oklahoma. His bandmates, however, didn’t know the song, so Jeff had to round up a copy so they could learn it.

The song was the highlight of the performance, and the set was so well-received that it was released as an album, which they titled Five Man Acoustical Jam as an allusion to the original artist. Released as a single ahead of the album, the song made #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart, but didn’t crack the Hot 100. When the album started selling and MTV began airing the video, the song was re-released, making #8 on the Hot 100 in April 1991.

Tesla’s version was one of the first acoustic hit songs of the ’90s and helped launch the “Unplugged” trend. MTV ramped up their series of Unplugged concerts shortly after Tesla’s cover became a hit.

The line, “If God was here he’d tell you to your face, Man, you’re some kinda sinner” has a double-meaning, as “Man” could be just a throwaway expression, but could also be about man as a species.

In Tesla’s unedited version they replace the phrase “Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind” with “F–kin’ up the scenery, breakin’ my mind.”

Signs

And the sign said “Long-haired freaky people need not apply”
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said “You look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you’ll do”
So I took off my hat, I said “Imagine that. Huh! Me workin’ for you!”
Whoa-oh-oh

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

And the sign said anybody caught trespassin’ would be shot on sight
So I jumped on the fence and-a yelled at the house, “Hey! What gives you
the
right?”
“To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in”
“If God was here he’d tell you to your face, Man, you’re some kinda sinner”

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

Now, hey you, mister, can’t you read?
You’ve got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
You can’t even watch, no you can’t eat
You ain’t supposed to be here
The sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside
Ugh!

And the sign said, “Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray”
But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, I didn’t have a
penny to pay
So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign
I said, “Thank you, Lord, for thinkin’ ’bout me. I’m alive and doin’ fine.”
Wooo!

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Sign
Sign, sign

Black Sabbath – War Pigs

I really like the sound they had at that time…it was dirty and raw.

For this song they got the idea from war stories they heard when they did a show at an American Air Force base during a tour of Europe. The four members wrote the song when they were in a grim deserted place in Zurich where they were playing for a small sum of money to an even smaller audience.

The band wanted to use this as the title of the album, but the record company thought it was too controversial and made them use “Paranoid,” another song on the album, instead. The album art, however, is a literal interpretation of a “War Pig,” showing a war “pig” with a sword and shield.

It was originally titled ‘Walpurgis’, an anniversary associated with witches and Satanists, but was changed on the recommendation of Black Sabbath’s record company. Ozzy released the original version on his 1997 album The Ozzman Cometh… the song though as the finish product was…just talk about the nightmare of War.

Geezer Butler : “Britain was on the verge of being brought into it, there was protests in the street, all kinds of anti -Vietnam things going on. War is the real Satanism. Politicians are the real Satanists. That’s what I was trying to say.”

Songfacts

This is one of many Black Sabbath songs that is often misinterpreted as evil. The song speaks out against the horrors of war.

On the US albums, this is listed as “War Pigs/Luke’s Wall.” “Luke’s Wall” is another name for the end of the song.

On the 1994 Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity In Black, Faith No More contributed a live cover version. Faith No More also covered this on their 1989 album The Real Thing

War Pigs has been used as the name of various Black Sabbath tribute bands. We found one in Australia and another in Long Island, NY.

Ozzy’s former guitarist Zakk Wylde did a cover of this song after he went solo. Other artists who did covers: Slaves on Dope, Pig, Ether, Faith No More, Weezer, Boss Tweed, Red House Painters, Members Only, Badlands, Soulfly, Vital Remains, Ween, Sheavy, Gov’t Mule, Phish, Sacred Reich, Alice Donut, Flores Secas, Banda Arie, and Flores Secas. 

This song is used for an encore in the video game Guitar Hero II for Playstation 2 and Xbox 360. 

When the Sacramento band Tesla recorded this in 2007, lead guitarist Frank Hannon added a peace of Jimi Hendrix flavored “The Star Spangled Banner” to start the song.” It is the final track on Tesla’s Real To Reel 2-disk cover album, which is a tribute to Tesla’s mentors. 

The song starts with the lyric, “Generals gathered in their masses. Just like witches at black masses.” Bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler was asked during a 2013 interview with Spin magazine why he used “masses” twice rather than coming up with a different word. “I just couldn’t think of anything else to rhyme with it,” he admitted. “And a lot of the old Victorian poets used to do stuff like that – rhyming the same word together. It didn’t really bother me. It wasn’t a lesson in poetry or anything.”

The song soundtracked a TV spot previewing the 2014 movie, 300: Rise Of An Empire.

War Pigs

Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of death’s construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds
Oh lord yeah!

Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor

Yeah

Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait ’till their judgment day comes
Yeah!

Now in darkness world stops turning
Ashes where the bodies burning
No more war pigs have the power
Hand of God has struck the hour
Day of judgment, God is calling
On their knees the war pig’s crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan laughing spreads his wings
Oh lord yeah!

Allman Brothers – In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed

This song and Jessica are their two most well known instrumentals.

The Allman Brothers…much like the Grateful Dead could deliver live. They constantly toured early in their careers and played free concerts in parks all over to grow their audience. They released one of the best live albums of all time with At Fillmore East.

This song was originally on their second album Idlewild South in 1970 and later on their live album At Fillmore East.

Allmans guitarist Dickey Betts wrote this song for a girl, but not the one in the title. Elizabeth Reed Napier (b. November 9, 1845) is buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia, where Betts would often write.

In memory of Elizabeth Reed : allmanbrothers

He used the name from her headstone as the title because he did not want to reveal who the song was really about: a girl he had an affair with who was Boz Scaggs’ girlfriend.

Duane Allman and Berry Oakley are buried in the same cemetery as Elizabeth Reed Napier.

From Songfacts

This was the first original instrumental song by The Allman Brothers.

Betts wrote this is based on Miles Davis’ “All Blues.” While Davis had been incorporating elements of rock into his jazz, Betts used pieces of jazz for this rock instrumental. Jazz rhythms make excellent use of the two-drummer format the Allmans use.

This is one of their live favorites. It usually evolves into a lengthy jam.

At concerts, this was a showcase for Allman’s drummers Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, who performed a drum solo at the end.

The live version on At Fillmore East takes up almost a whole side. Because of the extended jams, it became a double album, but the band insisted it be priced close to a single album.

The earliest known recordings of this song are from the band’s Fillmore East performances on February 11, 13 and 14, 1970. The Allman Brothers were on a bill with the Grateful Dead and Love; the Dead’s soundman Owsley “Bear” Stanley kept tape rolling and got the recordings, which were compiled into his “Sonic Journal” project and released in 2018 as Allman Brothers Band Fillmore East February 1970.

In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed

Bon: The Last Highway…by Jessie Fink

This book covers the last three years of Bon Scott, the lead singer of AC/DC.

Bon: The Last Highway is a fun read. It gives you more than just a look at Bon Scott. It gives you a peek in the world of Rock and Roll in the 1970s. It was a much more of a loose time then compared to now to say the least…both good and bad. The music business was a completely different ballgame than now.

Although this just covers the last three years of his life…you get to know Bon pretty well. I knew nothing about the guy until I read the book. He seemed to be well read, likeable, and a basically good guy to his friends and fans. O f course he did  have substance abuse  problems that haunted him.

There are a lot of stories about fans coming up to him and starting friendships. Fink interviewed other bands and most if not all had great things to say about Scott. He did find people who never have been interviewed and got stories that never have been published.

The working relationship between Bon and the Young brothers surprised me the most. Bon wrote the lyrics and they would censor what he wrote. Nothing political or controversial. They didn’t want the formula to be messed with. Offstage they didn’t tend to hang out as much with each other.

I never knew how popular Scott was in Australia even now. His grave site has become a cultural landmark; more than 28 years after Scott’s death, the National Trust of Australia declared his grave important enough to be included on the list of classified heritage places. It is reportedly the most visited grave in Australia.

The two things that author Jesse Fink concentrates on is how Bon died and if Bon did write some or most of the lyrics to the Back In Black album that was released after his death.

As far as the way the man died…Fink has some theories and they center around heroin. He interviewed some that has never been interviewed and got their story around Bon and the ones around him that night. The coroner’s report lists “acute alcohol poisoning” as the cause of death, classified under “death by misadventure.” Fink talked with people with him when he died on February 19, 1980.

The Young Brothers  have denied they ever used any of his lyrics on Back in Black…but AC/DC did cut a deal with the Scott family for a share of royalties on the album. In interviews they have denied it but did contradict themselves in others.

Below is an excerpt from the book  where more was said about the subject than any other time.

Then in 1998 Elissa Blake of Australian Rolling Stone caught him napping.

BLAKE: Have you ever thought about quitting?

ANGUS: The only time was when Bon died. We were in doubt about what to do but we had songs that he had written and wanted to finish the songs. We thought it would be our tribute to Bon and that album became Back In Black. We didn’t even know if people would even accept it. But it was probably one of our biggest albums and the success of that kept it going. We were on the road with that album for about two years so it was like therapy for the band after Bon’s death.

Bizarrely, before and since, Angus went with an altogether different story.

1981: “Some things we can’t do, you know, that was strictly Bon’s songs, and things.”

1996: “No, we were gonna start working on the lyrics with him the next week [after he died].”

1998: “The week he died, we had just worked out the music and he was going to come in and start writing lyrics.”

2000: “Bon was just about to come and start working with us writing lyrics just before he died.”

2005: “There was nothing [on Back In Black] from Bon’s notebook.”

It’s a line the band now doggedly sticks to despite mounting evidence that Bon’s lyrics were used. As Ian Jeffery admitted to me, cagily: “Not totally certain about Back In Black but I seem to remember a couple of words, lines [of Bon’s being on there]. Maybe not.”

Fink talked to Scott’s ex girlfriends and friends in his life and many claim that he did write many of the lyrics to You Shook Me All Night Long as well as other songs. Others say he had said some of the lines in letters. He basically gives you what he found and lets you make up your mind.

I would recommend this book to rock fans…and to AC/DC fans who mostly only know Brian Johnson as the lead singer.

Famous Rock Guitars Part 6

This is the 6th edition of this series. In Part 1, Part2, Part 3,  Part 4,  and Part 5. We covered Brian May’s Red Special, Willie Nelson’s Trigger, George Harrison’s Rocky, Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrat, Bruce Springsteen’s guitar, Neil Young’s Old Black guitar, John Lennon’s Casino + a Bonus, Keith Richards Telecaster, Paul McCartney’s Bass, and Eric Clapton’s Blackie.

Today it’s Jimmy Page’s Gipson EDS -1275 Guitar and Jerry Garcia’s Alligator

Jimmy Page’s Gibson EDS-1275 Double Neck Guitar

Jimmy Page on the 'Swagger' of Led Zeppelin's 'Physical Graffiti' - Rolling  Stone

This guitar was born out of necessity for Page. They had just recorded Stairway to Heaven and Jimmy played a  12-string in the song after the intro. To play the song live without a 12-string would not work. He was the only guitar player in the band so to replicate that part they either needed another guitar player or a way for Jimmy to switch to the 12 string while playing the song.

The solution came in the shape of a Gibson double-neck. A 6-string and a 12-string on the same guitar. Jimmy had seen pictures of American guitarists with a double neck guitar… Grady Martin with a Bigsby double-neck, Joe Maphis with a Mosrite. He also saw a strange band named Family with a guitar player  named Charlie Whitney with a double neck guitar.

Gibson first introduced the doubleneck guitar in 1958 with the EDS-1275’s forerunner the “Double 12”. The body and hardware specifications for the EDS-1275 include a solid mahogany SG-style body, a dark cherry finish with walnut filler, chrome hardware, a chrome ABR Bridge with chrome tumblewheels, Schaller strap locks, a five-play pickguard, two volume and tone control knobs, a three-way pickup-selector switch and a three-way neck selector switch.

Jimmy played Les Pauls and wanted to get another Gipson. By the time Page wanted an EDS-1275, they were no longer in production so he ordered a custom-made cherry guitar.

Page’s EDS-1275 has a slightly different body shape from that of the then current model. Page’s also has one-piece mahogany necks rather than the current three-piece maple, and has tailpieces positioned near the bottom of the body, reportedly increasing sustain, and Patent No. or T-Top humbucking pickups.

Jimmy’s EDS-1275 made its live debut in March 1971, allowing him to play 12-string and six-string parts without swapping guitars and it certainly did become iconic.

Page recently donated a later model EDS-1275 for charity, but it was not the famous one he used with Led Zeppelin. That guitar remains firmly in his possession.

Jimmy Page: “I asked to get one from Gibson, because I knew it was the only way,” “I knew I couldn’t do Stairway…, but it was essential to do it. So it became iconic, didn’t it? If a little tough on the left shoulder…Yeah, though I’ve got heavier guitars! But nevertheless, it was pretty weighty.”

Jerry Garcia’s Alligator

Jerry Garcia's “Alligator” '50s Strat Will Be Up For Auction – Rock Pasta

Graham Nash gave this 1957 Strat to Jerry Garcia as a gift in 1970. Nash  purchased the guitar in 1970 from a pawnshop in Phoenix. Graham wanted to show his appreciation for Jerry’s guitar work on his solo album “Songs for Beginners.”

Roadie Steve Parish recalled a night in Buffalo on Garcia’s first tour outside the band, where “it was so cold that when Jerry stepped out on stage and strummed his ‘Alligator’ the face plate on the guitar broke and the guts popped out. That’s how the show began.” Alligator got patched up with gaffer’s tape, and a new brass plate affixed at the tour’s end.

The Dead helped start an instrument and gear-building auxiliary company called Alembic. Alembic was found by the Dead’s sound man and chemist Owsley Stanley.  Garcia’s Strat found itself on the Alembic workbench numerous times.

In 1972, Garcia would add a number of stickers to the body, including a grinning cartoon alligator on the pickguard that gave the guitar its name. But by then nearly every other bit of the instrument had been overhauled in a series of refinements by Alembic technician Frank Fuller.

Jerry Garcia Alligator Guitar #deadhead | Guitar, Famous guitars,  Stratocaster guitar

The guitar got new Schaller tuning pegs and gears, a series of bridges (Gibson ABR-1 Tune-o-Matic and an Alembic custom), a new control plate (hammered brass), taller frets, and an in-board post-volume “blaster”. “Each pickup cover had its own individually grounded wire.”

Technicians Frank Fuller and Rick Turner of Alembic Guitars modified the guitar regularly, so much so that they referred to it as a “Frankenstein” guitar. Jerry played this guitar on the Dead’s famous first full European tour in 1972 and their two great albums Working Man’s Dead and American Beauty. Alligator played its last show on Garcia’s 30th birthday…August 1st, 1973 in Jersey City, NJ.

The show was recorded by Deadheads, Alligator was sent off properly with a long version of “Dark Star.”

Jerry would play  more custom built guitars through his career.  Wolf (73-93), Tiger (79-95), Lighting Bolt (93-95), Rosebud (90-95), and Top Hat (95). My favorite remains Alligator.

Graham originally bought the guitar for $250 dollars…the guitar was sold at an auction in 2019 for $420,000 dollars.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_EDS-1275#:~:text=The%20EDS%2D1275%20was%20mostly,verse%2C%20then%20switched%20to%20the

https://jerrygarcia.com/guitars/

Famous Rock Guitars Part 5

Back as promised…I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea so to speak but I hope you enjoy it. This is obviously the 5th edition of this series. In Part 1, Part2, Part 3, and Part 4. We covered Brian May’s Red Special, Willie Nelson’s Trigger, George Harrison’s Rocky, Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrat, Bruce Springsteen’s guitar, Neil Young’s Old Black guitar, John Lennon’s Casino + a Bonus, and Keith Richards Telecaster.

Today will we look at:

Paul McCartney’s Hofner Bass and Eric Clapton’s Blackie.

Paul McCartney’s Hofner Bass and the MISSING Hofner Bass

paul mccartney hofner bass | Tumblr | Paul mccartney, Beatles john, Beatles  photos

Paul’s bass is maybe the most iconic guitar/bass of all time in rock music. You see this bass and you think Beatles. I see the attraction to this bass. I have a Hofner copy and I’ve played a Hofner a few times. They are ultra light and have a nice feel to them. The Hofner is really easy to play.

Lets start with the Hofner he bought in Hamburg in 1961…we will call it The Cavern Bass or Hofner#1.  It was played on some iconic Beatles recordings including their very first studio outing in June 1961 in Hamburg, their first single Love Me Do in 1962 and their first two albums, Please Please Me and With The Beatles in 1963. It’s the one you hear on “She Loves You, “Twist and Shout”, it was played in Hamburg, at The Cavern Club, and at Abbey Road.

In 1965 he sent it in to get it worked on…it was  sprayed with a darker sunburst and the pickup guard removed.

It was last seen in the 1969 footage from Twickenham Studios, where the Beatles were filming “Let It Be.” Soon afterward, it was stolen, most likely from a closet at EMI’s Abbey Road studio, along with Harrison’s Gretsch Tennessean and second Ric 360-12. People are still looking for that bass guitar.

These two pictures show the same Bass…the Cavern Bass…notice the different colors and the removed pick guard…but same bass.

Pin on Men and their guitarsPin by Lynne Jones on THE BEATLES | Paul mccartney beatles, Lennon and  mccartney, Paul mccartney

In 1963 Paul bought another Hofner bass that he used as his primary bass and played it from then on and still does. We will call it Hofner #2. He didn’t retire the Cavern Bass but just used it as a back up to Hofner #2.

Here are the two basses labeled…the #1 is the lost/stolen Cavern bass and the #2 is the 1963 bass he used throughout the Beatles. Paul is still looking for the Cavern Bass and the Hofner company has a webpage describing the bass and trying to get it back for Paul.

The Daily Beatle has moved!: The Höfner setlist

I have to wonder who has this bass. Odds are they don’t know what they have… if it survives. I hope Paul gets it back… he loves instruments and still has many of the instruments he used with The Beatles… Hey…lets go out and find this bass…that would be one way to meet him!

***From the  mid-sixties on he would use a Rickenbacker bass which produced brighter and clearer bass sound. He famously used one on Sgt Pepper. He used both basses through the years.

Paul McCartney on the set of Magical Mystery Tour in 1967 playing his  painted Rickenbacker 4001S bass. | Paul mccartney, The beatles, Lennon and  mccartney

Eric Clapton’s Blackie

The Guitar Center Puts Eric Clapton's Legendary Stratocaster on Display -  Bloomberg

Eric built this guitar in around 1970 from different Fender Strats…here is Eric telling the story.

Eric Clapton: “I was in Nashville and I went into this shop called Sho-Bud where they had stacks of Fender Strats going for virtually nothing because they were so unfashionable and unwanted,” 

“I bought a big pile of them all for a song – they were really cheap, like $300 or $400 each – and I took them home and gave them out. I gave Steve Winwood one, I gave Pete Townshend one, I gave George Harrison one and I kept a few, and I made Blackie out of a group of them. I took the pickups out of one, the scratchplate off another, the neck off another and I made my own guitar, like a hybrid guitar that had all the best bits from all these Strats.”

Blackie would be the main guitar used on every one of Eric’s albums for 15 years. During that time, Eric and Blackie would rack up an impressive number of hits, including “Cocaine,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Wonderful Tonight,” and “Lay Down Sally.”

in 2004, Eric worked with Christie’s to auction the legendary guitar off. The winner paid $959,000 for Blackie, with most of the proceeds again supporting Eric’s Crossroads Center.

Eric Clapton's Blackie: History of the Great Fender Stratocaster |  Guitarriego

AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

This song is about as sleazy as you can get but I like it.

AC/DC lead guitarist Angus Young got the song title from the 1962 animated cartoon series Beany and Cecil. The Show first aired on ABC Television and only ran for one season until the 26 episodes shown were cast as repeats for the next five years until it was recreated in 1968.

The specific inspiration for the song name was the cartoon’s main villain, “Dishonest John,” who would carry around a business card that said, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Holidays, Sundays, and Special Rates.”

Norman and Marilyn White, a couple from Libertyville, Illinois, sued the band for invasion of privacy after they were inundated with calls due to this song. Apparently, many AC/DC fans in the area dialed 3-6-2-4-3-6-8 (thinking the “hey!” as “eight”), which was their phone number. The couple claimed they received hundreds of “lewd, suggestive and threatening” phone calls, asking for various dirty deeds at low, low prices. The Whites asked for $250,000 in damages and demanded that the band re-record the song, but a judge ruled against them. The people with the bad luck to have 867-5309 had the same problem but they only had inquiries about Jenny.

The song was written by Bon Scott, Angus, and Malcolm Young.  The album was released in Australia and in Europe in 1976. The album was released in America in 1981 after Scott’s death and after the popular Back in Black. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Hits and #47 in the UK.

Lesley Gore, known for ’60s hits like “It’s My Party,” recorded this for the 2002 compilation album When Pigs Fly: Songs You Never Thought You’d Hear. Her version was produced by Mauro DeSantis, who worked with Cevin Soling on the track… I couldn’t find it on Youtube but click on that link. Lesley Gore channels her inner Bon Scott on this one…I didn’t like the music part as much but her singing was spot on.

From Songfacts

This song epitomizes AC/DC’s dangerous and mean sound, with Angus Young’s heavy guitar and Bon Scott’s leering, vocals that would have scared the living daylights out of any unsuspecting teenage Pop fans when this song first hit the airwaves (they did it on a national TV show in Australia called Countdown, which was usually frequented by acts like ABBA and Bucks Fizz).

This was recorded at Alberts Studios in Sydney, Australia in 1976 soon after the sessions that produced the Australian version of their TNT album.

Regarding the lyrics, “Just ring: 3-6-2-4-3-6,” this was an actual phone number in Australia at the time, and it also could describe the measurements of a very shapely woman: 36-24-36. A year later, the Commodores used the same measurements to describe a woman in their song “Brick House.” Sir Mix-a-Lot, however, scoffed at these measurements in his 1992 hit “Baby Got Back,” where he says: “36-24-36? Only if she’s 5’3.”

The ending is one of the most famous screams in rock history. For those wondering, it’s spelled: “Yaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrggghhhhhh!” 

This was used in the Norm MacDonald movie Dirty Work. It is played while Norm’s character Mitch and his friend Sam are wrecking a building in an attempt to get it condemned. 

On a 2008 episode of The Simpsons where they team up on a stakeout, we learn that Homer Simpson and the pious Ned Flanders have some common ground in their musical tastes. Homer likes AC/DC, and Ned likes their Christian tribute band: AD/BC, and their version of this song, “Kindly Deeds Done For Free.”

The song about murder for hire enjoyed a sales spike following drummer Phil Rudd being charged with trying to procure a murder in November 2014. The charge was soon dropped.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

If you’re havin’ trouble with the high school head
He’s givin’ you the blues
You want to graduate but not in ‘is bed
Here’s what you gotta do
Pick up the phone
I’m always home
Call me any time
Just ring
36 24 36 hey
I lead a life of crime

Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap
Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap
Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap
Dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap
Dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap

You got problems in your life of love
You got a broken heart
He’s double dealin’ with your best friend
That’s when the teardrops start, fella
Pick up the phone
I’m here alone
Or make a social call
Come right in
Forget about him
We’ll have ourselves a ball

Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap
Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap
Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap
Dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap
Dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap

If you got a lady and you want her gone
But you ain’t got the guts
She keeps naggin’ at you night and day
Enough to drive ya nuts
Pick up the phone
Leave her alone
It’s time you made a stand
For a fee
I’m happy to be
Your back door man

Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap
Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap
Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap
Dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap yeah
Dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap

Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT
Done dirt cheap
Neckties, contracts, high voltage
Done dirt cheap

Dirty deeds
Do anything you wanna do
Done dirty cheap
Dirty deeds
Dirty deeds
Dirty deeds
Done dirt cheap

Little Feat – Willin’

Little Feat guitarist/singer Lowell George wrote “Willin'” before the group was even formed. They never had mass commercial appeal but their music was so down to earth and the musicians in that band were great.

The song is about a truck driver in the American southwest who makes some extra cash smuggling cigarettes and transporting illegals across the border from Mexico. If you give him “weed, whites and wine,” he’s willin’ to do the job.

Lowell had cut his hand on a model airplane and he was heavily bandaged up while playing the solo. The keyboard player Bill Payne said George was bleeding all over his guitar when playing this. Lowell George and Ry Cooder are playing slide guitar on this song. They found Ry Cooder recording his debut album at the same studio that Little Feat were recording this song.

Little Feat’s producer Russ Titelman asked Cooder to come and play on some tracks. There was a lot of tension between Cooder and George, but that competitive streak was channeled into the song.

Little Feat were never very successful on the charts but many music fans love them. Along with music fans…many musicians from Led Zeppelin to Bonnie Raitt.

This originally appeared on Little Feat’s debut album (with Ry Cooder), but the version that has become famous was recorded for the follow-up, Sailin’ Shoes, in 1972. The original version has a faster tempo.

From Songfacts

The opening line, in which the narrator describes himself as being “warped by the rain,” originated in a conversation between George and drummer Richie Hayward. Hayward had used it to describe a rocking chair.

It’s likely that when George brought “Willin song was a reason for his departure, due to its drug references in the chorus. It is known that his leaving had something to do with his drug use, which Zappa heavily frowned upon. “I think Frank was both impressed and put off by the song because of the drug reference,” Bill Payne told Bud Scoppa. “He was somewhat conservative on certain levels. He was afraid of the very thing that bit the hippie movement in the ass, which was the craziness of what would happen to people when they got fried on drugs – like Charles Manson.”

More likely, it was George’s drug use that led to the parting.

Although the band never had a charting single, “Willin'” is arguably their best-known song. Their first two albums, which both included the track, flopped, but they found their stride with their third, Dixie Chicken, their first as a six-piece jazz-funk outfit (they were previously a country-rock quartet). They developed a reputation as a great live band, and “Willin'” was a concert favorite. As more people discovered the band, the song grew in popularity and even earned some airplay.

Little Feat split up in 1979 just months before Lowell George passed away. When they re-formed in 1987, guitarist Paul Barrere took the lead vocals on “Willin’.” He died in 2019.

Linda Ronstadt recorded this on her 1975 album Heart Like A Wheel. While Ronstadt is certainly versatile, it’s hard to imagine her at the wheel of a rig hauling freight (or contraband) across state lines.

Original version with Ry Cooder

Willin’

I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
I’m drunk and dirty don’t ya know, and I’m still, willin’
And I was out on the road late at night
I’d seen my pretty Alice in every head light
Alice, Dallas Alice

I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me weed, whites and wine
And you show me a sign
I’ll be willin’, to be movin’

Well I’ve been kicked by the wind, robbed by the sleet
Had my head stoved in, but I’m still on my feet and I’m still, willin’
Now I smuggled some smokes and folks from Mexico
Baked by the sun, every time I go to Mexico, and I’m still

And I been from Tucson to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me weed, whites and wine
And you show me a sign
I’ll be willin’, to be movin’

Jimmy Buffett – Margaritaville

Yes it’s wore out but I still love it. One of my favorite lyrics comes from this song. I blew out my flip flop, Stepped on a pop top, Cut my heel had to cruise on back home. I don’t know why but I just love that line.  When Buffett wrote this he wrote his career. He had hits before but this one changed everything.

I’ve seen Jimmy Buffett twice and it’s like going to a giant beach party. If you ever get a chance it’s a fun concert to go to. I’ve only owned one album by Buffett. “Songs You Know By Heart” a greatest hits collection released in 1985. It has everything I like except one song…Door Number 3.

Buffett wrote this song in Key West, Florida, after he finished a tour with his group, the Coral Reefer Band. They had just toured Texas, and Buffett spent some time drinking margaritas in a Mexican restaurant with a friend before going back to Key West. When he got there, he sat at the Old Anchor Inn watching a traffic jam on the roads and used it as inspiration as he composed the song.

Buffett recorded this song at Criteria Studios in Miami with producer Norbert Putnam.

The song peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100 and #4 in Canada in 1977.

Producer Norbert Putnam: “One day in the studio, he comes in and starts telling me about a day he had in Key West. He was coming home from a bar and he lost one of his flip-flops and he stepped on a beer can top and he couldn’t find the salt for his Margarita. He says he’s writing lyrics to it and I say ‘That’s a terrible idea for a song.’ He comes back in a few days later with ‘Wasted Away Again In Margaritaville’ and plays it and right then everyone knows it’s a hit song. Hell, it wasn’t a song – it was a movie.”

From Songfacts

Regarding the success of this song, Buffett said: “I was lucky enough to get my thumb on the pulse beat of what people perceived the tropics to be.”

“Margaritaville” has come to symbolize a carefree Caribbean lifestyle – what some in Key West call “Keys disease.” For many, the only time they experience this way of living is on vacations or at Jimmy Buffett concerts. Buffett has a lot of fans who work very hard, make a lot of money, and use his music as an escape.

Buffett was born in Mississippi and raised in Alabama. He didn’t come to Key West, Florida, until 1971, when he was 24 years old. As a transplant, he had a perspective on the area that natives don’t, which helped him capture the ethos in this song.

Buffett has always loved sailing, and when this song became a hit, he was thrilled because he could buy his own boat. He has said that even if he was a one-hit wonder, he would have been happy with his boat sailing around the islands.

When Buffett sings about how he “Stepped on a pop-top” and cut his heel, requiring a cruise back home to enjoy a margarita, he’s referring to pull-off tops from soda and beer cans that caused a litany of minor injuries as they were often thrown on the ground and then stepped on by poor souls who blew out their flip-flops. In the late ’70s, the pop-tops were replaced with much safer non-removable round “pop-down/pop-in” tabs. 

Buffett owns Margaritaville stores in Key West, New Orleans, Jamaica, Charleston, and Orlando. They sell clothing and other items inspired by the song.

Former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar covered this for his 2013 Sammy Hagar & Friends album. His version is a duet with Toby Keith. He told Rolling Stone that it took him a long time to figure out that the country star would be a good fit for his version. “He’s like my closest friend,” said Hagar, “in country, for sure, and one of the most typical Cabo Wabo heads. We’ve sat in Cabo Wabo and played ‘Margaritaville’ there 35 times, if not more. And to not realize until after I cut ‘Margaritaville’ that I should get Toby to do the duet on it?”

This cover is also included as a bonus track on the Deluxe version of Toby Keith’s Drinks After Work album.

Prior to this Top 10 hit, Buffett’s highest-charting single on the Hot 100 was “Come Monday,” which peaked at #30 in 1974. “Margaritaville” also landed at #13 on the Country tally.

In 2016, this was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

This is referenced in Blake Shelton’s 2004 hit “Some Beach,” which finds Shelton “Singing ‘Margaritaville’ and minding my own.”

In 1999, Buffett joined Alan Jackson in a recording of this for Jackson’s album Under The Influence. In Buffett’s original version, he knows wasting away in Margaritaville is his own fault, but in Jackson’s version the singers blame each other before they finally admit “it’s our own damn fault.”

In The Simpsons episode “Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious” (1997), this is sung by the nanny Shary Bobbins and Barney Gumble.

It was also used in these TV shows:

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (“Zoey’s Extraordinary Neighbor” – 2020)
9-1-1 (“Triggers” – 2019)
Hawaii Five-0 (“Make Me Kai” – 2017)

And in these movies:

The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019)
The Beach Bum (2019)
Anger Management (2003)

Margaritaville

Nibblin’ on sponge cake
Watchin’ the sun bake
All of those tourists covered with oil
Strummin’ my six string on my front porch swing
Smell those shrimp they’re beginnin’ to boil

Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
Searchin’ for my long lost shaker of salt
Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
But I know it’s nobody’s fault

Don’t know the reason
Stayed here all season
Nothing to show but this brand new tattoo
But it’s a real beauty
A Mexican cutie
How it got here I haven’t a clue

Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt
Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
Now I think hell it could be my fault

I blew out my flip flop
Stepped on a pop top
Cut my heel had to cruise on back home
But there’s booze in the blender
And soon it will render
That frozen concoction that helps me hang on

Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt
Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
But I know it’s my own damn fault
Yes and some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
And I know it’s my own damn fault

Rolling Stones – 2000 Man

This is my 2000th post. I am amazed I made it to 25…much less 2000. So let the bells ring and the chorus sing! So…lets see if I can make it to 2001!

The song was on Their Satanic Majesties Request a psychedelic album released in the Summer of Love in 1967. It’s an album…one of many that was inspired by the Beatles Sgt Peppers album. The album was not critically praised when it was released. It still gets mixed reviews now. I do think it is much better than it got credit for back in 1967. They did the right thing though by continuing on with blues/rock. They would never experiment this much again in the studio.

The cover art was something new. After The Beatles raised the bar with the cover of Sgt Pepper…the Stones used Michael Cooper (who worked on the Sgt Pepper cover)to make a 3d cover. If you look closely you can see The Beatles faces on the album. The Stones were returning the favor…the Beatles had a doll wearing a shirt that said “Welcome the Rolling Stones Good Guys” on the Sgt Peppers album.

Fun Fact: The Beatles' faces are on the cover of the Rolling Stones' album  "Their Satanic Majesty's Request" : beatles

The doll on the Sgt Pepper Cover

Welcome The Rolling Stones" on the front cover of Sgt. Pepper : beatles

The song has some different melodies melded together. The album had two 2000 songs…2000 Man and 2000 Light Years From Home. It fit in with the futuristic psychedelic vision.

2000 Man’ was covered by  Kiss on their 1979 record Dynasty. Kiss did a good job on the cover. Personally I like both versions. Kiss did a straight ahead rock version but I also like the nuances that the Stones included on the original.

Mick Jagger: There’s a lot of rubbish on Satanic Majesties. Just too much time on our hands, too many drugs, no producer to tell us, “Enough already, thank you very much, now can we just get on with this song?” Anyone let loose in the studio will produce stuff like that. There was simply too much hanging around. It’s like believing everything you do is great and not having any editing.

It’s really like sort of got-together chaos. Because we all panicked a little, even as soon as a month before the release date that we had planned, we really hadn’t got anything put together. We had all these great things that we’d done, but we couldn’t possibly put it out as an album. And so we just got them together, and did a little bit of editing here and there.

2000 Man

Well, my name is a number
A piece of plastic film
And I’m growin’ funny flowers
In my little window sill
Dont you know I’m a 2,000 man
And my kids, they just don’t understand me at all
Well my wife still respects me
I really misused her
I am having an affair
With the Random computer
Don’t you know I’m a 2,000 man
And my kids, they just don’t understand me at all
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy, proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy. proud of your sun
Oh daddy, your brain’s still flashin
Like it did when you were young
Or do you come down crashin’
Seeing all the things you’d done
All was a big put on
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy. proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy. proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy. proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy. proud of your sun
And you know who’s the 2000 man
And your kids they just won’t understand you at all

John Lennon – Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

Merry Christmas everyone…this is a repost from last year but I have updated it another year older…and a new one just begun.

My favorite Christmas song hands down. Yea I’m biased because I am a Beatles fan but this one is great.

I think of High School when I hear this song. Our school had a Christmas poster contest and a buddy and I made a poster as a joke and wrote “So this is Christmas and what have you done another year over, and a new one just begun” and won first prize…with an assist from John.

John’s voice goes so well with this song. The song peaked at #2 in the UK charts in 1971….the song did peak at #42 in the Billboard 100 in 2019.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote this in their New York City hotel room and recorded it during the evening of October 28 and into the morning of the 29th, 1971 at the Record Plant in New York. It was released in the US for Christmas but didn’t chart. The next year, it was released in the UK, where it did much better, charting at #2. Eventually, the song became a Christmas classic in America, but it took a while.

Lennon originally wrote this as a protest song about the Vietnam War, and the idea “that we’re just as responsible as the man who pushes the button. As long as people imagine that somebody’s doing it to them and that they have no control, then they have no control.”

The children’s voices are the Harlem Community Choir, who were brought in to sing on this track. They are credited on the single along with Yoko and The Plastic Ono Band.

From Songfacts.

John and Yoko spent a lot of time in the late ’60s and early ’70s working to promote peace. In 1969, they put up billboards in major cities around the world that said, “War is over! (If you want it).” Two years later this slogan became the basis for this song when Lennon decided to make a Christmas record with an anti-war message. John also claimed another inspiration for writing the song: he said he was “sick of ‘White Christmas.'”

Lennon and Ono produced this with the help of Phil Spector. Spector had worked on some of the later Beatles songs and also produced Lennon’s “Instant Karma.” It was not Spector’s first foray into Christmas music: he and his famous session stars (including a 17-year-old Cher) spent six weeks in the summer of 1963 putting together A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, featuring artists like The Ronettes and Darlene Love. Unfortunately, the album was released on November 22, 1963, which was the same day US president John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The album sold poorly as America was focused on news of the killing.

This was originally released on clear green vinyl with Yoko Ono’s “Listen, The Snow Is Falling” as the B-side.

At the beginning of the song, two whispers can be heard. Yoko whispers: “Happy Christmas, Kyoko” (Kyoko Chan Cox is Yoko’s daughter with Anthony Cox) and John whispers: “Happy Christmas, Julian” (John’s son with Cynthia). >>

This being a Phil Spector production, four guitarists were brought in to play acoustic guitars: Hugh McCracken (who had recently played on the Paul McCartney album Ram), Chris Osbourne, Stu Scharf and Teddy Irwin. According to Richard Williams, who was reporting on the session for Uncut, when Lennon taught them the song, he asked them to “pretend it’s Christmas.” When one of the guitarists said he was Jewish, John told him, “Well, pretend it’s your birthday then.”

As for the other personnel, Jim Keltner played drums and sleigh bells, Nicky Hopkins played chimes and glockenspiel. Keltner and Hopkins were part of Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, and a third member, Klaus Voorman, was supposed to play bass on this track, but got stuck on a flight from Germany. One of the guitarists brought in for the session covered the bass – which one nobody seems to remember.

John Lennon was shot and killed less than three weeks before Christmas in 1980. The song was re-released in the UK on December 20 of that year, reaching #2 (held off the top spot by “There’s No One Quite Like Grandma” by St. Winifred’s School Choir). It made the UK Top 40 again in 1981 (#28), 2003 (#32) and 2007 (#40). Also in 2003, a version sung by the finalists of the singing competition Pop Idol reached #5.

The Fray were the first to chart with this song in America, reaching #50 in 2006; Sarah McLachlan’s version went to #107 that same year. Other artists to cover it include The Alarm, The Cranes, The December People, and Melissa Etheridge (in a medley with “Give Peace a Chance”). 

The Australian artist Delta Goodrem also covered it in 2003, taking it to #1 in her native country as a double-A-side single with “Predictable.” 

This didn’t appear on an album until 1975, when it was included on Lennon’s Shaved Fish singles compilation. Most Christmas songs are compiled with other songs of the season, but Shaved Fish listeners got to hear it year round.

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

(Happy Christmas Kyoko)
(Happy Christmas Julian)

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now

Happy Christmas

Big Star – Jesus Christ

A Christmas power pop song that I wish I heard more of than some of the others. It has a strange 20 second intro but after that the guitar starts and then it’s pure Alex Chilton.

The song is on the Third/Sister Lovers album. The album was recorded in 1974-1975 but wasn’t released until 1978. The album has no theme…it’s all over the map with different style of songs. This song…considered a Christmas song didn’t really stand out on the non-Christmas album because it’s so eclectic. 

Guitarist Alex Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens were the only original two left during this album but they had musicians to fill in. This song was written by Alex Chilton.

Today I will be posting some Christmas shows throughout the day…from here until Christmas…powerpop will be completely Christmas programming.

Jesus Christ

Angels from the realms of glory
Stars shone bright above
Royal David’s city
Was bathed in light of love

Jesus Christ was born today
Jesus Christ was born
Jesus Christ was born today
Jesus Christ was born

Lo, they did rejoice
Fine and pure of voice
And the wrong shall fail
And the right prevail

Jesus Christ was born today
Jesus Christ was born
Jesus Christ was born today
Jesus Christ was born
And we’re gonna get born now

Band – Christmas Must Be Tonight

Robbie Robertson’s Christmas gift to his new son Sebastian during the sessions for Northern Lights-Southern Cross album it never became a seasonal favorite but it should have been. It wasn’t released until the bands Islands album in 1977.

Rick Danko sings this song from a Shepherds point of view. It’s pure and down to earth like only the Band can be. No sleigh bells or other Christmas trappings…just pure music. Maybe that is the reason it never got picked up.

Robbie Robertson re-recorded this song after he left the group. And he did for the soundtrack of Bill Murray’s Scrooged. That version is very good but I still like The Bands version much more…it’s hard to beat Rick Danko.

Christmas Must Be Tonight

Come down to the manger, see the little stranger
Wrapped in swaddling clothes, the prince of peace
Wheels start turning, torches start burning
And the old wise men journey from the East

How a little baby boy bring the people so much joy
Son of a carpenter, Mary carried the light
This must be Christmas, must be tonight

A shepherd on a hillside, where over my flock I bide
Oh a cold winter night a band of angels sing
In a dream I heard a voice saying “fear not, come rejoice
It’s the end of the beginning, praise the new born king”

I saw it with my own eyes, written up in the skies
But why a simple herdsmen such as I
And then it came to pass, he was born at last
Right below the star that shines on high

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Don’t Ask Me No Questions

This is a very commercial sounding rock song by Lynyrd Skynyrd. The record company picked this one as the lead off single from their album Second Helping. Personally I like this song but it was the second single they should have picked first…that one was Sweet Home Alabama which ended up being their biggest hit.

This song was a message to the people who wanted a piece of the band when they became famous. They were largely ignored for about 6 years while they were struggling, but when their first album was a hit in 1973, they faced huge demands on their time.

The album did well…it peaked at #9 in the Billboard Album Chart and #12 in Canada in 1974. Pete Townshend heard the band through Al Kooper a few months before this album was released and was impressed enough to have Lynyrd Skynyrd open up for them on their Quadrophenia tour.

The one thing the band was…was extremely tight. They were always well rehearsed and built a huge reputation as a live band.

From Songfacts

The world of agents, managers, and record companies was a strange one for Lynyrd Skynyrd. They were just working-class guys who liked making music.

Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Gary Rossington wrote this one day while they were fishing. Gary played his guitar while Ronnie came up with the lyrics about how they wanted to be left alone.

This was released as a single before the album came out. It didn’t chart, but their next one, “Sweet Home Alabama,” was a huge hit.

Don’t Ask Me No Questions

Well, every time that I come home
Nobody wants to let me be
It seems that all the friends I’ve got
Just got to come interrogate me
I appreciate your feelings
And I don’t want to pass you by
But I don’t ask you ’bout your business
Don’t ask me about mine

Well it’s true I love the money
And I love my brand new car
I like drinkin’ the best of whiskey
And playin’ in a honk-tonk bar
But when I come off the road
I just gotta have my time
‘Cause I got to find a break in this action
Or else I’m gonna lose my mind

So don’t ask me no questions
And I won’t tell you no lies
So don’t ask me ’bout my business
And I won’t tell you goodbye

Well, what’s your favorite color
And do you dig the brothers, is drivin’ me up a wall
And every time I think I can sleep
Some fool has got to call
Well, don’t you think that when I come home
I just want a little piece of mind?
If you want to talk about the business
Buddy you’re just wasting time

So don’t ask me no questions
And I won’t tell you no lies
So don’t ask me ’bout my business
And I won’t tell you goodbye

I said don’t ask no stupid questions
And I won’t send you away
If you want to talk fishin’
Well, I guess that’ll be OK

Slade – Merry Christmas Everybody

Merry Christmas Everybody… for all of the UK readers…I know I know…you are so tired of it. I’ve only heard it for the past two years or so. One of the comments from the past … (NO not that song again!)… there are a few Christmas songs along with Alices Restaurant that I reblog every year…and this is one of them.

This is fast becoming my favorite rock Christmas song second only to John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

This is a great Christmas song that was released in 1973 and ever since it re-enters the charts every December in the UK. The song never hit in America but it went to #1 in the UK Charts. I first heard it on a Doctor Who episode in the mid-2000s and have liked it ever since.

This went straight in at #1 in the UK, selling over 300,000 copies on the day of its release, making it at the time the fastest ever selling record in Britain. It eventually became Slade’s best-ever selling single in the UK, selling over a million copies.

In the UK this has become a standard, and it is usually reissued in its original form each Christmas. On several occasions, the song has re-entered the Top 40.

UK copyright collection society and performance rights organization PRS For Music estimated in 2009 that 42 percent of the earth’s population has heard this tune.

The song was written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea of Slade. It was produced by Chas Chandler formerly of the Animals.

From Songfacts.

This was based on a psychedelic song, “My Rocking Chair,” which Noddy Holder wrote in 1967. In 1973 the Slade vocalist decided to convert it into a Christmas song after a night out drinking at a local pub. He and the band’s bass player and co-writer Jimmy Lea camped out at Noddy’s mother’s house and got down to changing the lyrics to make them more Christmassy. Jimmy Lea incorporated into the verse parts of another song which he was then writing and Noddy re-wrote the words incorporating different aspects of the Christmas holiday season as they came to mind.

When Noddy Holder wrote the line “Look to the future now, it’s only just begun,” he had in mind the strikes that were blighting Britain at the time. He told the Daily Mail On Sunday November 10, 2007: “We’d decided to write a Christmas song and I wanted to make it reflect a British family Christmas. Economically, the country was up the creek. The miners had been on strike, along with the gravediggers, the bakers and almost everybody else. I think people wanted something to cheer them up – and so did I. That’s why I came up with the line.”

The harmonium used on this is the same one that John Lennon used on his Mind Games album, which was being recorded at the studio next door.

This was recorded at the Record Plant studios in New York while the band were on a tour of the States in the summer of 1973. When they recorded the vocals, they sang the chorus on the stairs in order to achieve the echo that they required. Guitarist Jimmy Lea recalled to Uncut magazine in 2012: “All these Americans were walking past in their suits thinking we were off our rockers singing about Christmas in the summer.”

Producer Chas Chandler opened the song with a howl recorded during some of Noddy Holder’s vocal exercises.

A few months before Slade recorded this song, drummer Don Powell was badly injured in a car crash. Though his physical recovery was quick, the mental scars took longer to heal. Noddy Holder explained to The Daily Mail December 18, 2009: “The doctors told us to get him playing drums again as soon as possible to boost his confidence. But he was suffering from short-term memory loss – he could remember our old songs, but not the new ones. So, instead of recording live, we built up Merry Xmas Everybody layer by layer. That gave it a more poignant, restrained sound. It was something new for us. But the fates were with us and it became our biggest hit.”

Noddy Holder explained to Q magazine January 2013 how the song was originally inspired by The Beatles: “I wrote the original verse with the lyrics, ‘Buy me a rocking chair, I’ll watch the world go by. Bring me a mirror, I’ll look you in the eye,’ in 1967 in the aftermath of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper,” he said. I was being psychedelic. Dave (Hill) wrote another part to the song but it didn’t work so we put it away. Then in 1973 he remembered my verse one day when we were trying to write a Christmas single. We changed the words to, ‘Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall?’ and the rest fell into place.”

Noddy Holder’s earliest childhood memory served as inspiration for one of the song’s lines. He recalled to the Mail On Sunday’s Live magazine: “As a lad we used to knock sleds with old orange boxes and go tobogganing down this big old quarry in the snow at Christmas. It was the inspiration for the line ‘are you hoping that the snow will start to fall.’”

I want that hat he starts off with… in this video…very subtle.

Merry Christmas Everybody

Are you hanging up a stocking on your wall?
It’s the time that every Santa has a ball
Does he ride a red nosed reindeer?
Does a ‘ton up’ on his sleigh
Do the fairies keep him sober for a day?

Chorus:
So here it is merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
It’s only just begun

Are you waiting for the family to arrive?
Are you sure you got the room to spare inside?
Does your granny always tell ya that the old are the best?
Then she’s up and rock ‘n’ rollin’ with the rest

Chorus:
So here it is merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
It’s only just begun

What will your daddy do
When he sees your Mama kissin’ Santa Claus?
Ah ah

Are you hanging up a stocking on your wall?
Are you hoping that the snow will start to fall?
Do you ride on down the hillside in a buggy you have made?
When you land upon your head then you’ve been slayed

Chorus (4x)
So here it is merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
It’s only just begun