Ringo Starr – The No No Song

This week I’ll be posting two posts every day…the second one will be a Thanksgiving post. Some of them will be reruns with added info.

This was a fun novelty song that fit Ringo’s voice and personality. At the time Ringo was living the jet-set life and did his share of drinks and chemicals mentioned in the song.  The No No Song was written by country music singer Hoyt Axton and bass player David Jackson. Hoyt Axton struggled with drug abuse early in his career and was poking fun at himself in the song.

Asked about his most memorable guests in the studio…Ringo: “Hoyt Axton was one of them on the Ringo album. We were doing ‘No No Song’ with the biggest spliff and a large bottle of Jack Daniel’s.”

In 1988 Ringo entered rehab with his wife, Barbara, and got clean. Soon after he would start his Ringo and his All-Star tours that he still does to this day.

This was first released in America as a double A-sided single with “Snookeroo.” Ringo and his record company didn’t think radio stations would play “No No Song” because of the drug references, but they did, pushing the song to #3 and giving Ringo his seventh Top 10 hit Stateside. Unsurprisingly, the flip side, a song celebrating snooker, was largely ignored.

In the UK, “No No Song” wasn’t released as a single for fear that it would get banned. In 1976, it was used as the B-side of “Oh My My.”

The song peaked at #1 in Canada and #3 on the Billboard 100 in 1974. This would be Ringo’s last top 10 song in the Billboard 100.

The song was on his album Goodnight Vienna which was released in 1974. His hits started to dry up after this album. Ringo had a lot of friends helping him on this album including  Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann, Robbie Robertson, Harry Nilsson, and John Lennon who wrote the title track.

The No No Song

A lady that I know just came from Columbia
She smiled because I did not understand
Then she held out some marijuana, ha ha
She said it was the best in all the land

And I said
No, no, no, no, I don’t smoke it no more
I’m tired of waking up on the floor
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze
Then it makes it hard to find the door

A woman that I know just came from Majorca, Spain
She smiled because I did not understand
Then she held out a ten pound bag of cocaine
She said it was the finest in all the land

And I said
“No, no, no, no, I don’t (sniff) it no more
I’m tired of waking up on the floor
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze
And then it makes it hard to find the door”

A man I know just came from Nashville, Tennessee
He smiled because I did not understand
Then he held out some moonshine whiskey, oh ho
He said it was the best in all the land

And I said
No, no, no, no, I don’t drink it no more
I’m tired of waking up on the floor
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze
And then it makes it hard to find the door

Steppenwolf – Snowblind Friend

The last time I posted a Steppenwolf song (Sookie Sookie)…a fellow blogger obbverse reminded me of this one and it had been a long time since I heard it.

Snowblind Friend was written by Hoyt Axton, who first released it on his 1969 album My Griffin Is Gone. The song was written about one of his musician friends who died of a drug overdose. Hoyt did not glamorize drug use in this song. He had his own problems with drug addiction and did what he could to warn of the dangers

Stoned on some new potion he found upon the wall
Of some unholy bathroom in some ungodly hall

Hoyt Axton wrote so many songs…one of them was Joy To The World, he wrote it around the same time as Snowblind Friend. Steppenwolf was offered Joy To The World but they passed. It ended up going to Three Dog Night… who took it to number 1. What I wouldn’t give to hear a Steppenwolf version of Joy to the World!

Songs written by Hoyt Axton | SecondHandSongs

This song introduced the word “snowblind” to the rock music lexicon to describe addiction, specifically to cocaine. The insidiousness of the drug and its grip on the user has never been conveyed so accurately and poignantly.

Steppenwolf 7

Snowblind Friend peaked at #60 in the Billboard 100 and #37 in Canada in 1970. It was on the album Steppenwolf 7 and it peaked at #19 in the Billboard Album Charts and #14 in Canada. This would be Steppenwolf’s last top 20 album in their career. They did have a Greatest Hits album that peaked at #24 the following year.

They are not in the Hall of Fame yet but were nominated in 2017 but didn’t make it. In 2018 the Hall did pick “Born to Be Wild” as one of the first five singles that shaped rock and roll to be inducted into the hall in its history.

Altogether they had 13 studio albums, 5 live albums, and 21 singles. 8 of the albums were in the top 40 and 7 of their singles were in the top 40. In Canada they were very popular…they had two #1’s in Born To Be Wild and Magic Carpet Ride and 11 singles in the top 40.

John Kay: “That song spoke to me because I knew the person that the song was written about. That’s why I decided, as a tribute to this young man, that we would do a version of it on the Steppenwolf 7 album.”

This is a TV special on the Steppenwolf 7 album

Snowblind Friend

You say it was this morning when you last saw your good friend
Lyin’ on the pavement with a misery on his brain
Stoned on some new potion he found upon the wall
Of some unholy bathroom in some ungodly hall
He only had a dollar to live on ’til next Monday
But he spent it on some comfort for his mind
Did you say you think he’s blind?

Someone should call his parents, a sister or a brother
And they’ll come to take him back home on a bus
But he’ll always be a problem to his poor and puzzled mother
Yeah he’ll always be another one of us
He said he wanted Heaven but prayin’ was too slow
So he bought a one way ticket on an airline made of snow
Did you say you saw your good friend flyin’ low?
Flyin’ low
Dyin’ slow

Hoyt Axton – Della And The Dealer

I cannot remember the first time I heard this song but I heard it alot growing up. The imagery of the lyrics is a lot of fun. It’s country but it’s also a little rock and a little blues. It’s hard to classify many of his songs although he was mainly known for being a country singer and songwriter. He also ventured out into garage rock, folk, and hard rock with his songs.

Hoyt Axton:  “I’m one of those fringe dudes: half folkie, half hippie, half Okie. My input has been very eclectic. I was always surrounded by all kinds of music, as my family moved around the country: jazz, classical, gospel, whatever… the influences enter from a lot of directions.”

Hoyt Axton was a talented artist. He was a singer, songwriter, and actor. We all know his songs. Joy To The World, Never Been To Spain, Snowblind Friend, The Pusher, The No, No Song, and When the Morning Comes. He was also in a number of movies, commercials, and tv shows. The movie I remember him most for was Gremlins. Axton always came off as incredibly likable.

Hoyt Axton’s mom could write songs herself…Mae Boren Axton, a songwriter, co-wrote the classic rock “Heartbreak Hotel”, which became a major hit for Elvis and an iconic rock song. Now that is a cool mom.

Axton had his big hits with other people singing his songs. His composition “Joy to the World”, as performed by Three Dog Night, was #1 on the charts for six straight weeks in 1971, making it the top hit of the year. He named his record label Jeremiah after the bullfrog mentioned in the song.

Axton had an addiction problem early in his career. He wrote songs about it like Snowblind Friend, The Pusher, and The No No Song which Ringo covered.

There are a lot of theories about this song. The dog and cat are real people. He is being purposely vague as they were all involved in some shady dealings…hanging out with what is obviously a drug dealer and murderer, but the narrator is no snitch….he’s a “cool cat.” There are a lot of theories about the song…it’s a fun story song regardless.

This song was released in 1979 and peaked at #17 on the Billboard Country Charts. It was on his album A Rusty Old Halo that peaked at #27 in the Billboard Country Charts and #14 in the Canada Album Charts.

Hoyt Axton passed away on October 26, 1999, at the age of 61.

On November 1, 2007, Axton and his mother were both inducted posthumously into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Tomorrow I have another Axton song but not with Hoyt singing.

Della and the Dealer

It was Della and the Dealer and a dog named Jake
And a cat named Kalamazoo.
Left the city in a pick up truck,
Gonna make some dreams come true.

Yea, they rolled out west where the wild sunsets
And the coyote bays at the moon.
Della and the Dealer and a dog named Jake
and a cat named Kalamazoo

If that cat could talk what tales he’d tell
About Della and the Dealer and the dog
as well
But the cat was cool, and he never said a mumblin word.

Down Tucson way there’s a small cafe
Where they play a little cowboy tune.
And the guitar picker was a friend of mine
By the name of Randy Boone.

Yea, Randy played her a sweet love song
And Della got a fire in her eye
The Dealer had a knife and the dog had a gun
and the cat had a shot of Rye.

If that cat could talk what tales he’d tell
About Della and the Dealer and the dog
as well
But the cat was cool, and he never said a mumblin word.

Yea, the dealer was a killer,
He was evil and mean
And he was jealous of the fire in her eyes.

He snorted his coke through a century note
And swore that Boone would die.

The stage was set when the lights went out.
There was death in Tucson town.
Two shadows ran for the bar back door
And one stayed on the ground

If that cat could talk what tales he’d tell
About Della and the Dealer and the dog
as well
But the cat was cool, and he never said a mumblin word.

Two shadows ran from the bar that night
And dog and cat ran too.
And the tires got hot on the pick up truck
As down the road they flew.

It was Della and her lover and a dog named Jake
And a cat named Kalamazoo.
Left Tucson in a pick-up truck
Gonna make some dreams come true.

If that cat could talk what tales he’d tell
About Della and the Dealer and the dog
as well
But the cat was cool, and he never said a mumblin word.