A Novelty Song from the 70s – Wildwood Weed

I usually don’t post novelty songs but I grew up with this one.

This song made me laugh as a kid. It’s about as corny as you can get but fun all the same. Jim Stafford had some novelty hits. His prime was 1973-1974. I had in my possession (from my sister) three of his hits. The Wildwood Weed, Swamp Witch, and his biggest hit “Spiders and Snakes.”

Jim has a sense of humor.

It didn’t take a genius to know what Wildwood Weed was about but the first time I heard it as an eight-year-old, an older neighbor had to tell me about it.

It made it to number 7 on the Billboard charts. It actually made it to #57 on the country charts which surprises me knowing how conservative country was at that time.

The song contains one of my favorite lines of all time. “Take a trip never leave the farm.” It’s about a bunch of country guys living on a farm and discovering pot…

Wildwood Weed
Jim Stafford

The wildwood flower grew wild on the farm,
And we never knowed what it was called.
Some said it was a flower and some said it was weed,
I never gave it much thought ……
One day I was out there talking to my brother,
Reached down for a weed to chew on,
Things got fuzzy and things got blurry,
And then everything was gone!
Didn’t know what happened,
But I knew it beat the hell out of sniffin’ burlap.

I come to and my brother was there,
And he said, What’s wrong with your eyes?
I said, I don’t know, I was chewing on a weed.
He said, Let me give it a try.
We spent the rest of that day and most of that night,
Trying to find my brother, Bill.
Caught up with him, ’bout six o’clock the next morning,
Naked, swinging on the wind mill!
He said he flew up there.
I had to fly up there and bring him down,
He was about half crazy …..

The very next day we picked a bunch of them weeds,
And put ’em in the sun to dry.
Then we mashed ’em up and chopped ’em up,
And put ’em in the corncob pipe.
Smokin’ that wildwood flower got to be a habit,
We didn’t see no harm.
We thought it was kind of handy,
Take a trip and never leave the farm!

All good things gotta come to an end,
And it’s the same with the wildwood weed.
One day this feller from Washington came by,
And he spied it and turned white as a sheet.
Then they dug and they burned,
And they burned and they dug,
And they killed all our cute little weeds.
Then they drove away,
We just smiled and waved ……….
Sittin’ there on that sack of seeds!

Y’all come back now, hear?

Glen Campbell – Rhinestone Cowboy

I remember this song all over the place when I was 8 years old. Probably one of the first songs I remember blanketing radio and TV at the same time. Glen Campbell sang this song written by  Larry Weiss and it was playing on top 40 radio and country alike. It peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the US Billboard Hot Country Singles, #1 in Canada and #4 in the UK.

As big as the song was…I never hear it much now.

From Songfacts

For Campbell, this was a very important song, and one he would call “maybe the best song I’ve ever sung.” It came at a time when his career had gone flat: His popular TV show had been canceled, acting gigs dried up, and he hadn’t had a hit since 1971. The story of the faded star who perseveres in the song held a lot of meaning for Campbell.
This sold over 4 million units and hit #1 on the Hot 100, Country, and Adult Contemporary charts in the summer of 1975, becoming the first song since “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean to reach the apex of all three charts. “Rhinestone Cowboy” gained three Grammy nominations and was the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year for 1976. In 1977, the song earned Weiss the Nashville Songwriters’ Association International’s Songwriter of the Year award.

“Rhinestone Cowboy”

I’ve been walkin’ these streets so long
Singin’ the same old song
I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway
Where hustle’s the name of the game
And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain
There’s been a load of compromisin’
On the road to my horizon
But I’m gonna be where the lights are shinin’ on meLike a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Like a rhinestone cowboy
Getting cards and letters from people I don’t even know
And offers comin’ over the phone

Well, I really don’t mind the rain
And a smile can hide all the pain
But you’re down when you’re ridin’ the train
That’s takin’ the long way
And I dream of the things I’ll do
With a subway token and a dollar tucked inside my shoe
There’ll be a load of compromisin’
On the road to my horizon
But I’m gonna be where the lights are shinin’ on me

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Rhinestone cowboy
Gettin’ cards and letters from people I don’t even know
And offers comin’ over the phone

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Gettin’ cards and letters from people I don’t even know….

Thoughts on Elton John in the 70s

Some people tend to forget how big Elton was back in the early to mid-seventies. The songs just kept coming one after another. I’ve been watching some seventies sitcoms and shows recently and there was Valerie Bertinelli on “One Day at a Time” dressed like Elton John. He was everywhere back then. Some today remember him only by Candle in the Wind…the 1997 version for Lady Diana.

It seemed that everything he touched turned to gold. He covered Pinball Wizard and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and turned them into hits…some people like those versions better than the originals.

Elton John was pop/rock but he had some Liberace elements in showmanship. The sparkling pianos and even a Donald Duck suit. Elton is a very good piano player, songwriter and performer…but I think it’s his voice that sets him apart. It was a combination of all but he had a style all his own.

Bernie Taupin and Elton wrote those great singles that kept coming year after year. He has had 9 number 1 hits, 27 top ten hits, and 67 songs in the top 100. 1971 – 1975 was my favorite period… some of the singles were Your Song, Levon, Tiny Dancer, Honey Cat, Rocket Man, Crocodile Rock, Daniel, Saturday Nights Alright for Fighting, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Candle in the Wind, Bennie and the Jets, Philadelphia Freedom, The Bitch is Back and Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me… this much success could fill up 5 different careers… hard to believe it happened in a four year period.

Bernie Taupin was just as important as Elton. They stopped writing together around 1977 and Elton’s output was not as successful. They started to work together again a little later and still had hits but that stretch in the early seventies would be impossible to match.

I did like some Elton John songs after the mid-seventies but in the eighties, many of his songs just didn’t have the quality of his earlier ones to me. One standout was a song about John Lennon called Empty Garden. It is one of my favorite songs about John Lennon.

I knew Elton by his singles but he released some huge albums. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Honky Château, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, Caribou and the list goes on and on. This is a good piece on some of Elton’s top albums. 

 

 

 

Five Baseball Songs

Since the playoffs are in full swing…thought I would list my 5 favorite baseball songs in no certain order.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game – The classic song of the game written in 1908 and still going strong.

Talking Baseball – Terry Cashman released this in 1981 but it didn’t do much in the charts when it was released but has caught on to be a classic.

Centerfield –  John Fogerty on his “comeback” album of the same name. This is played at every ballpark.

Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen – Based off a true encounter with an ex-classmate that Bruce played little league baseball with when they were young.

Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball – Count Basie

 

 

 

Eddie Cochran 50s Guitar Hero

I got to know Eddie Cochran’s music through The Who. The Who covered Summertime Blues and I wanted to know where that came from…I read about his influence on the Beatles but never heard anything from him until the mid-eighties when I bought one of his compilation albums.

Eddie Cochran was a huge influence for the up and coming British guitar players of the sixties. Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, John Lennon, and Pete Townshend. He was huge in the UK. He was one of the big 50s guitar heroes. He broke through with the song “Summertime Blues” in 1958 that peaked at #8 in the  Billboard 100 and he also did well with C’mon Everybody. He was never really big in America… he was a bigger star in Europe.

He didn’t use his guitar as a prop like some did…he played it and played it well. He also worked as a session musician. He helped bring rock guitar along in more ways than just his playing. He was one of the first to modify his pickups and he did away with the wound G string on the guitar. He replaced it with an unwound string which made it easier to bend. Many future musicians were paying attention, sitting on the front row of his British tour.

His influence can be heard throughout rock and roll…It was because Paul McCartney knew the chords and words to “Twenty Flight Rock” that impressed John Lennon to asked Paul to become a member of the Quarrymen.

During a British tour in 1960, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Sharon Sheeley (Eddie’s fiancé), and tour manager Pat Thompkins were in a taxi. They were leaving a show in Bristol, England to go to the London Airport…the taxi hit a lamp post and Eddie was thrown from the car and suffered a head injury and died in a hospital. He was only 21 years old. Gene Vincent received injuries to his already bad leg and walked with a limp after the crash. Eddie was the only one to die.

Sharon Sheeley was a songwriter. She wrote Ricky Nelson’s first hit “Poor Little Fool” and a couple of songs (Love Again and Cherished Memories) for Cochran.

There are a couple of stories about Eddie’s Gretch guitar. A 13-year-old Marc Feld met Cochran outside the Hackney Empire, a theater in the London borough of Hackney, where Cochran had just played a concert. Cochran allowed the boy to carry his guitar out to his limousine. Later Marc Feld would be known as… Marc Bolan of T Rex.

After the crash the guitar was impounded at a London police station…a young policeman used it to teach himself how to play. That policeman’s name was David Harman, but he would soon change his name to Dave Dee and help start a band called Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich…One of the soon to be British Invasion bands.

eddiecochran.jpg

 

 

 

 

Eric Clapton – I’ve Got a Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart

A very smooth Eric Clapton song. He had a very clean guitar tone on this single. The single was released in 1983 and peaked at #18 in the Billboard 100, #83 in the UK and #17 in Canada. The song was off of Clapton’s Money and Cigarettes album. The song was written by Troy Seals, Eddie Setser, Steve Diamond and produced by Tom Dowds.

This certainly is not the “screaming guitars” of Clapton long ago. I know many Clapton fans that did not like it but it fit in with the times…

I’ve Got A Rock and Roll Heart
I’ve got a feeling we could be serious, girl;
Right at this moment, I could promise you the world.
Before we go crazy, before we explode,
There’s something ’bout me, baby, you got to know,
You got to know.
I get off on ’57 Chevy’s
I get off on screaming guitar.
Like the way it gets me every time it hits me.
I’ve got a rock and roll, I’ve got a rock and roll heart.
Feels like we’re falling into the arms of the night,
So if you’re not ready, don’t be holdin’ me so tight.
I guess there’s nothing left for me to explain
Here’s what you’re gettin’ and I don’t want to change,
I don’t want to change.
I get off on ’57 Chevy’s
I get off on screaming guitar.
Like the way it gets me every time it hits me.
I’ve got a rock and roll, I’ve got a rock and roll heart.
I don’t need to glitter, no Hollywood,
All you got to do is lay it down and you lay it down good.
I get off on ’57 Chevy’s
I get off on screaming guitar.
Like the way it gets me every time it hits me.
I’ve got a rock and roll, I’ve got a rock and roll heart.

Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes

I bought this single right after it was released in 1981. The song was written by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon. Jackie did a version of this in 1974. Kim Carnes was not a one-hit wonder…she had 3 top ten hits but this one was huge going to number 1 for nine straight weeks.

I would love to hear a duet between her and Rod Stewart…or Bonnie Tyler.

This is a cool fact about this song from songfacts.

After this song became a hit single, Bette Davis wrote letters to Kim Carnes and the songwriters to say she was a fan of the song and thank them for making her “a part of modern history.” One of the reasons the legendary actress loved the song is that her granddaughter thought her grandmother was “cool” for having a hit song written about her.

 

Bette Davis Eyes

Her hair is Harlow gold
Her lips are sweet surprise
Her hands are never cold
She got Bette Davis eyes
She’ll turn the music on you
You won’t have to think twice
She’s pure as New York snow
She got Bette Davis eyes

And she’ll tease you, she’ll unease you
All the better just to please you
She’s precocious, and she knows just
What it takes to make a pro blush
She got Greta Garbo’s standoff sighs, she’s got Bette Davis eyes

She’ll let you take her home
It whets her appetite
She’ll lay you on the throne
She got Bette Davis eyes
She’ll take a tumble on you
Roll you like you were dice
Until you come out blue
She’s got Bette Davis eyes

She’ll expose you, when she snows you
Off your feet with the crumbs she throws you
She’s ferocious and she knows just
What it takes to make a pro blush
All the boys think she’s a spy, she’s got Bette Davis eyes

She’ll tease you, she’ll unease you
All the better just to please you
She’s precocious, and she knows just
What it takes to make a pro blush
All the boys think she’s a spy, she’s got Bette Davis eyes

She’ll tease you
She’ll unease you
Just to please you
She’s got Bette Davis eyes
She’ll expose you
When she snows you
‘Cause she knows you, she’s got Bette Davis Eyes