Bruce Springsteen – Cadillac Ranch

This song is a great little rocker off of The River. This is one of many early Springsteen songs featuring cars. Some others were “Thunder Road,” “Backstreets,” and “Racing In The Street.” Bruce used the Cadillac image again in 1984 on “Pink Cadillac.”

The album The River peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100 in 1980.

Springsteen used Cadillac Ranch as a metaphor for the coming of death.

There is a real Cadillac Ranch.

In 1974 along Route 66 west of Amarillo, Texas, Cadillac Ranch was invented and built by a group of art-hippies from San Francisco. They called themselves The Ant Farm, and their silent partner was Amarillo billionaire Stanley Marsh 3. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals, and the hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin. Ten Caddies were driven into one of Stanley Marsh 3’s fields, then half-buried, nose-down, in the dirt

From Songfacts

The Cadillac Ranch is a collection of 10 Cadillacs buried hood-first in a wheat field near Amarillo, Texas. Visitors are allowed to add graffiti to the cars, which are considered works of art.

Springsteen wrote this to energize his live shows and balance off the ballads on The River.

A live favorite, it is included on the box set Live 1975-1985.

Junior Johnson is mentioned in the second verse. He was a NASCAR racer in the ’50s and early ’60s before becoming a championship car owner. He won the second Daytona 500 in 1960 and was one of the first people to discover the drafting method of racing at the super speedways. 

Cars were very important growing up in New Jersey. Springsteen’s first car was a ’57 Chevy with orange flames painted on the hood.

A photo in the program for the Born In The U.S.A. tour shows Springsteen at the Cadillac Ranch.

Cadillac Ranch

Well there she sits buddy just a-gleaming in the sun
There to greet a working man when his day is done
I’m gonna pack my pa and I’m gonna pack my aunt
I’m gonna take them down to the Cadillac ranch

Eldorado fins, whitewalls and skirts
Rides just like a little bit of heaven here on earth
Well buddy when I die throw my body in the back
And drive me to the junkyard in my Cadillac

Cadillac, Cadillac
Long and dark shiny and black
Open up your engines let ’em roar
Tearing up the highway like a big old dinosaur

James Dean in that mercury forty-nine
Junior Johnson runnin’ through the woods of Carolina
Even Burt Reynolds in that black Trans Am
All gonna meet down at the Cadillac ranch

Cadillac, Cadillac
Long and dark shiny and black
Open up your engines let ’em roar
Tearing up the highway like a big old dinosaur

Hey little girlie in the blue jeans so tight
Drivin’ alone through the Wisconsin night
You’re my last love, baby you’re my last chance
Don’t let ’em take me to the Cadillac ranch

Cadillac, Cadillac
Long and dark shiny and black
Pulled up to my house today
Came and took my little girl away

Oh baby, come on
Oh baby, come on
Oh
Come on

Lidsville

The show is just plain bizarre…for me, it is the strangest show Sid and Marty Krofft produced….and besides Land of the Lost, it’s my favorite Sid and Marty Krofft show. The show premiered on September 11, 1971.

It has been rumored that the Sid and Marty Krofft were inspired by hallucination drugs such as LSD. The brothers have always denied this claim. The title “Lid” is an old slang term for a hat, but by the 1970s the word “Lid” had taken on an entirely new meaning, namely as slang for an eighth of an ounce of pot. Whether they were or not…the shows they produced were NOT boring…they were very colorful and entertaining.

The show was conceived by Sid Krofft, who had a huge hat collection.  He thought one day…what if all of the hats had different personalities? Sid was also influenced by Lewis Carroll and it is obvious.

The plot is: A boy (Mark), the original Eddie Munster, Butch Patrick falls down a large top hat at an amusement park and ends up in a land of Hats…there was also a genie named Weenie (Billy Hayes)…who played Witchiepoo in HR Pufnstuf. The bad guy was Charles Nelson Reilly the magician and he would go around zapping people. The seventeen episodes they made revolved around Mark’s attempts to return to the real world as Hoo Doo made life miserable for him and the good hat people.

It has a similar plotline as the more famous HR Pufnstuf…I remember the reruns through the seventies and I always hoped Mark would get out of Lidsville and back home…of course not knowing they made only 17 episodes…kinda like wanting Gilligan to get off that island.

Image result for lidsville charactersImage result for lidsville characters

Image result for lidsville characters

Weezer – Island In The Sun —Powerpop Friday

This was the second single from their self-titled Weezer album in 2001, but it almost didn’t make the album producer Ric Ocasek fought for it and the song ended up being a radio hit in the UK. I remember listening to it on an alternative station here in Nashville.

The song peaked at #8 on the Billboard Alternative chart and #31 in the UK.

This is the most-licensed track in the Weezer catalog. Frontman Rivers Cuomo said: “The funny thing is, the song wasn’t a real radio hit. I can only speculate that it’s because the song has a cleaner guitar sound, which makes it easier for a more mainstream audience.”

From Songfacts

Weezer started recording this on January 1, 2001 at Cello Studios in Los Angeles, which used to be a part of Western Studios, where Frank Sinatra, The Mamas And The Papas and The Beach Boys all recorded. Sometime in April 2001, someone stole a copy of the master tapes and leaked the album on the Internet in unfinished form. >>

Two different videos were made for this song. One shows the band playing at a Mexican wedding, and the other, more popular version shows the band cavorting with different wild animals. This version was directed by Spike Jonze.

In 2006, Emma Roberts covered this for the soundtrack of Aquamarine.

In late 2001, the band began playing this in concert with a reworked version of the solo. In 2005, Rivers Cuomo would play this by himself on an acoustic guitar to open their encores. 

Island In The Sun

hip hip
hip hip
hip hip
hip hip

When you’re on a holiday
You can’t find the words to say
All the things that come to you
And I wanna feel it too

On an island in the sun
We’ll be playing and having fun
And it makes me feel so fine
I can’t control my brain

hip hip
hip hip

When you’re on a golden sea
You don’t need no memory
Just a place to call your own
As we drift into the zone

On an island in the sun
We’ll be playing and having fun
And it makes me feel so fine
I can’t control my brain

We’ll run away together
We’ll spend some time forever
We’ll never feel bad anymore

hip hip
hip hip
hip hip

On an island in the sun
We’ll be playing and having fun
And it makes me feel so fine
I can’t control my brain

We’ll run away together
We’ll spend some time forever
We’ll never feel bad any more

Hip hip

We’ll never feel bad anymore
(hip hip)
(hip hip)
No no
(hip hip)
(hip hip)
We’ll never feel bad anymore
(hip hip)
In a island in the sun

Vapors – Turning Japanese —Powerpop Friday

I thought this song charted higher than it did in America…because I heard it constantly back in the 80s. The song peaked at #36 in the Billboard 100 in 1980. It did peak at #3 in the UK, #6 in Canada, #9 in New Zealand and #1 in Australia.

When asked about this song the Vapors explained that it is a love song about someone who lost their girlfriend and was going slowly crazy. Lead singer Dave Fenton said: “Turning Japanese is all the clichés about angst and youth and turning into something you didn’t expect to.” 

The Vapors would be a true one-hit-wonder…this was their only song in the Billboard 100.

From Songfacts

One of the more misinterpreted songs of all time, one rumor was that “Turning Japanese” refers to the Asian facial features people get at the moment of climax during masturbation. 

That recognizable opening riff repeated a few places in the song is actually called “the oriental riff” (example here). It is often used when a Western song wants to invoke the Far East; other popular examples are Carl Douglas’ “Kung Fu Fighting” and Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Hong Kong Garden.”

The Vapors were a British pub-rock group formed by David Fenton (vocals), Edward Bazalgette (guitar), Steve Smith (bass) and Howard Smith (drums). They were discovered and managed by Bruce Foxton of the Jam. Ironically The Vapors enjoyed a bigger hit in America with this song than The Jam would ever have. The Vapors’ did not chart again in the US, however they had a couple of other minor hits in the UK. After releasing another album in 1981 they called it quits. After the band disbanded Fenton retired from creating music and went to work in the music industry as a lawyer. Bazalgette became a television producer at the BBC.

This song turns up in the weirdest places, like in an episode of Bill Nye: The Science Guy where it was Weird-Al’d into a song about electricity. A Dr. Pepper commercial uses the tune, as does a commercial for KFC restaurants where it’s sung on karaoke. The song also featured in the films Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion (1997) and Charlie’s Angels (2000).

This song topped the Australian charts for two weeks. It was also a minor hit in Japan.

A commonly misheard lyric is at the end of the bridge, “Everyone avoids me like a psyched lone ranger.” It is not “Everyone avoids me like a psycho ranger.”

Kirsten Dunst recorded this song for a video that was shown at a 2009 exhibition in London called Pop Life: Art In A Material World. The video was directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels, Terminator Salvation) and shot in Tokyo, where Dunst performs as a Japanese schoolgirl.

Turning Japanese

I’ve got your picture
Of me and you
You wrote “I love you”
I wrote “me too”
I sit there staring and there’s nothing else to do

Oh it’s in color
Your hair is brown
Your eyes are hazel
And soft as clouds
I often kiss you when there’s no one else around

I’ve got your picture, I’ve got your picture
I’d like a million of you all ’round my cell
I want the doctor to take your picture
So I can look at you from inside as well
You’ve got me turning up and turning down, I’m turning in, I’m turning ’round

I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so

I’ve got your picture, I’ve got your picture
I’d like a million of them all ’round my cell
I want a doctor to take your picture
So I can look at you from inside as well
You’ve got me turning up and turning down, I’m turning in, I’m turning ’round

I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so

No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women
No fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it’s dark
Everyone around me is a total stranger
Everyone avoids me like a cyclone ranger
Everyone

That’s why I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so
(Think so think, so think so, think so)
Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so

The Knack – My Sharona —Powerpop Friday

This song launched the Knack into temporary stardom and the song would last much longer than their stardom would. When they first came out I read some articles stating the kiss of death phrase “the next Beatles.” Their second album made it to #15 and after that their popularity declined.

Lead singer Doug Fieger wrote this song about a girl named Sharona Alperin (more of the full story is below in song facts) and they were together for around 4 years. Alperin was with Fieger the last week of his life; he died of cancer on February 14, 2010.

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #6 in the UK, #1 in Canada and #3 in New Zealand… in 1979…. The album Get The Knack also peaked at #1 in 1979.

From Songfacts

The Knack lead singer Doug Fieger wrote the lyrics to this song, which is about a girl he fancied. Doug was in a long-term relationship when he walked into the clothing store where a high school student named Sharona Alperin (who had a boyfriend), was working. The age difference (he was about eight years older) and relationship status didn’t deter Fieger, who was immediately lovestruck. With his girlfriend looking on, he invited Sharona to a show. Not long after, he broke up with the girlfriend and professed his love for Sharona, creating a weird dynamic where he would come on to her even though she had a boyfriend who often attended Knack concerts with her. It got pretty heavy when Fieger started writing songs about her – they weren’t together when he composed “My Sharona.”

About a year after they first met, Sharona gave in and they started dating. She joined the band on tour and watched as the song Fieger wrote about her elevated them to stardom. The couple were together for about four years (and engaged at one point) before the rock and roll lifestyle and Fieger’s alcoholism became too much for Sharona, and they called it off. In the aftermath, Sharona answered questions about the breakup by saying that she needed to become her own Sharona, not someone else’s.

After a cooling-off period, Alperin and Fieger became friends.

In the US, this was the best-selling single of 1979.

Sharona Alperin became a high-end real estate agent in California, specializing in celebrity clientele. After the passing of Fieger, Alperin wrote on her website: “From the time Doug and I first met, both of our lives changed forever. It’s very rare for two people to have such an impact on each other. The bond we shared is something that I will treasure as long as I live, he will always have a special place in my heart.”

Doug Fieger wrote this song with Knack guitarist Berton Averre, who co-wrote many songs for the band with Fieger.

That’s Sharona Alperin on the cover of the single holding the Get The Knack album. She posed for the art even though she and Doug Fieger weren’t yet dating.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Doug Fieger said: “I was 25 when I wrote the song. But the song was written from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy. It’s just an honest song about a 14-year-old boy.”

The Chicago DJ Steve Dahl (of disco demolition fame) did a parody of this during the Iran hostage crisis, changing Sharona to “Ayatollah.” The single was a hit in Chicago, and The Knack sang it with Dahl at the International Amphitheater in 1980. 

This song returned to the UK singles chart in 2009, peaking at #59 thanks to its use in a TV advert for Oatibix.

This wasn’t the only song on the album that was about Sharona and Fieger’s feelings for her. The songs “That’s What the Little Girls Do” and “(She’s So) Selfish” were also inspired by her.

Sharona is a Hebrew name, which is how Sharona Alperin ended up with it – her parents sent her to Hebrew school. It’s also the name of a small area in Israel.

In America, it’s very uncommon; in the years leading up to the song only about 10 Sharonas were born each year. In 1980 though, about 70 American Sharonas entered the world, a spike attributed to this song.

The album version runs 4:52, but the single version was edited down to 3:58. The victim of this cut was Knack guitarist Berton Averre, whose much-admired solo was chopped.

Doug Fieger of The Knack was the younger brother of famed attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who defended Dr. Jack Kervorkian.

Weird Al Yankovic did a parody of this called “My Bologna.” It was the song that kickstarted his career in song parody and his first single.

Al (before he was “weird”) recorded a few song parodies as a high school student, including a takeoff on “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” called “You Don’t Take Your Showers.” He sent some to the popular syndicated radio host Dr. Demento, who wrote back, informing Al that he had potential.

This potential was realized when Yankovic was a 19-year-old student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he was studying architecture. He was a DJ on the school radio station, where “My Sharona” was the most-requested song. Many of Al’s parodies had to do with food, so he wrote one called “My Bologna” and recorded it in the bathroom across the hall from the station. He sent it to Dr. Demento, who played it on his show to wide acclaim, making #1 on his “Funny Five” countdown for two weeks.

When The Knack played a show at the college, Al went backstage and introduced himself as the man behind “My Bologna.” As Al tells it, Doug Fieger said he loved the song and introduced him to the vice president of The Knack’s label, Capitol Records, who was standing nearby. The Capitol exec signed Al to a deal to release the single, which they did, but with minimal effort: instead of re-recording the song they just issued Al’s bathroom version (in mono) and gave it little promotion. That was the end of Al’s association with Capitol, but he had success on other labels with “I Love Rocky Road” and “Ricky,” and hit paydirt with his Michael Jackson parody, “Eat It.”

“My Bologna” wasn’t the only parody of this Knack song. Others include “Ayatollah” by the radio personality Steve Dahl, and “Babylona” by the parody band ApologetiX.

Quentin Tarantino wanted to use this in Pulp Fiction during the scene where Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames are being set upon by Zed and his brother (and the chained submissive). Fieger ended up nixing the request and the song appeared in the 1994 movie Reality Bites instead. Stacey Sher, a producer who was working on both films, recalled why Fieger chose the gas-station singalong over the basement dungeon with The Gimp. “He loved the notion of this sweet moment commemorating the person that he always loved very much,” she said. >>

The song was produced by Mike Chapman and recorded at MCA Whitney Recording Studios in Glendale, California. Chapman, who had produced Blondie and Suzi Quatro, says he told the band it would be a #1 hit the first time they played it for him.

Run-D.M.C. used the guitar riff for their 1986 song “It’s Tricky.” The Rogue Traders UK #33 hit “Watching You” in 2006 was based around this song’s melody.

My Sharona

Ooh, my little pretty one, my pretty one
When you gonna give me some time, Sharona
Ooh, you make my motor run, my motor run
Got it coming off o’ the line, Sharona

Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up, for the touch of the younger kind
My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Sharona

Come a little closer, huh, a-will ya, huh?
Close enough to look in my eyes, Sharona
Keeping it a mystery, it gets to me
Running down the length of my thigh, Sharona

Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up, for the touch of the younger kind
My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Sharona
M-m-m-my Sharona

When you gonna give to me, a gift to me
Is it just a matter of time, Sharona?
Is it d-d-destiny, d-destiny
Or is it just a game in my mind, Sharona?

Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up, for the touch of the younger kind
My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-m-m-m-m-my, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Sharona
M-m-m-my Sharona
M-m-m-my Sharona
M-m-m-my Sharona

Ooooooo-ohhh, my Sharona
Ooooooo-ohhh, my Sharona
Ooooooo-ohhh, my Sharona

Ramones – I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

I could post a Ramone song every day and be happy. This song was on the Ramone’s first album, the self-titled Ramones album in 1976. Tommy Ramone the drummer wrote this song.

Tommy Ramone:  “I wrote ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend’ because we had all these other songs with ‘I Don’t Wanna’ – ‘I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You,’ ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement.’ The only other positive song we had was ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.’
One thing we all had in common was we were frustrated. We escaped from our anger with humor. A lot of that came from Dee Dee’s sensibility, this Dada sensibility that got squeezed into ‘I Don’t Wanna.'”

The song was released as a single but didn’t chart.

From Songfacts

There were some unusual instruments used on this song, including 12-string guitars, tubular bells and a glockenspiel. Studio musicians were brought in to play them. 

A track from the first Ramones album, this was their second single, following “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Like “I Remember You,” it’s a love song, just a very straightforward one.

Per Gessle of Roxette recorded this for the 2001 Ramones tribute album The Song Ramones the Same. Released as a single in his native Sweden, the song made #44.

I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

Hey, little girl I want to be your boyfriend
Sweet little girl I want to be your boyfriend
Do you love me babe?
What do you say?
Do you love me babe?
What can I say?
Because I want to be your boyfriend

Hey, little girl I want to be your boyfriend
Sweet little girl I want to be your boyfriend
Uuu uuu uuu uuu-au
Because I want to be your boyfriend

Hey, little girl I want to be your boyfriend
Sweet little girl I want to be your boyfriend
Do you love me babe?
What do you say?
Do you love me babe?
What can I say?
Because I want to be your boyfriend

Hey, little girl I want to be your boyfriend
Sweet little girl I want to be your boyfriend
Hey, little girl I want to be your boyfriend

Roger Miller – King of the Road

Trailer for sale or rent
Rooms to let… fifty cent
No phone, no pool, no pets
I ain’t got no cigarettes
Ah, but..two hours of pushin’ broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I’m a man of means by no means
King of the road

I love the lyrics and the feel of this song. This peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the UK, #1 in the Billboard Country Charts, and #1 in Canada in 1965.

The song won 1965 Grammy awards for Best Contemporary Rock ‘N Roll Single, Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Best Country & Western Recording, Best Country Vocal Performance, and Best Country Song.

I remember the song because in Nashville they opened a King Of The Road Hotel…Miller opened two “King of the Road” Motor Inns in the early ’70s – one in Nashville, and another in Valdosta, Georgia. Unlike the cheap digs Miller sings about in his song, however, these Motels were billed as “luxury accommodations” and had a very modern motif. At the Nashville location, a music club on the top floor became a popular spot for many local musicians to perform. Ronnie Milsap played there many times, and Miller would often play as well.

From Songfacts

The title of this song is an allusion to hoboes and tramps, who were known as “knights of the road.” The song tells of the happy hobo lifestyle, with few creature comforts but plenty of freedom.

On Roger Miller’s website, it explains that Miller wrote this song over a 6-week span, beginning on a 1964 Midwest TV tour. He wrote the first verse when he saw a “Trailers for Sale or Rent” sign on the road outside Chicago. A few weeks later, he bought a statuette of a hobo in Boise, Idaho airport gift shop and stared at it until he had completed the song.

Miller has given at least one other explanation for how he came up with the song, however. When he was the co-host on the Mike Douglas Show August 11, 1969, he revealed that the idea for “King Of The Road” came when he was driving in Indiana and saw a sign offering trailers for sale or rent, and it stuck in his mind. Said Miller, “I was doing a show in a place you have probably never heard of called Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, and I saw a statue of a hobo in a cigar shop were I was staying. I purchased it and took it to my room and wrote the song.”

So we know there was a sign and a hobo statue, but where they came from is unclear. Miller would sometimes introduce the song by saying, “Here’s a song I wrote on a rainy night in Boise, Idaho,” which is much more identifiable for American listeners (especially in Nashville) than Kitchener, Ontario. Miller’s widow says that she’s not sure, and the Kitchener story could very well be true.

To further complicate matters, Nashville lore has it that Miller drew inspiration from the “Trailers for sale or rent” sign at Dunn’s Trailer Court, where he lived when he moved from Amarillo to Nashville with his wife and three kids. This was a popular place for aspiring Country singers on tight budgets: Hank Cochran and Willie Nelson both stayed there as well.

MIller’s scribbling of King of the Road now hangs in a shadowbox at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The song won 1965 Grammy awards for Best Contemporary Rock ‘N Roll Single, Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Best Country & Western Recording, Best Country Vocal Performance, and Best Country Song.

This is the most popular song to mention the state of Maine in the lyric (“destination Bangor, Maine”). A contender for #2 is the 2009 hit “Out Last Night” by Kenny Chesney, where he sings:

There were girls from Argentina and Arkansas
Maine, Alabama, and Panama

King Of The Road

Trailer for sale or rent
Rooms to let… fifty cent
No phone, no pool, no pets
I ain’t got no cigarettes
Ah, but..two hours of pushin’ broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I’m a man of means by no means
King of the road

Third boxcar, midnight train
Destination… Bangor, Maine
Old worn out clothes and shoes,
I don’t pay no union dues,
I smoke old stogies I have found
Short, but not too big around
I’m a man of means by no means
King of the road

I know every engineer on every train
All of their children, and all of their names
And every handout in every town
And every lock that ain’t locked
When no one’s around

I sing,
Trailers for sale or rent
Rooms to let, fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets
I ain’t got no cigarettes
Ah, but, two hours of pushin’ broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I’m a man of means by no means
King of the road