Singers Who Wear Wigs

Posted in Library of Congress, Music, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on March 6, 2018









If you go to google, and type in “singers that wear wigs”, the first name to appear is Mary J. Blige. PG does not follow her closely, but went to youtube and found a video. This is probably not her real hair.

Dolly Parton is known for a lot of things, at least two of which are real. The hair is not. If you ask her “How long does it take to do your hair?”, she says “I don’t know, I’m never there”

If anyone is known for enhancing her natural attributes, it would be Cher. Her fondness for plastic surgery is well known, as is the way her head fits in a hairpiece. In this number, Mrs. Bono talks about some of her favorite people.

Grace Slick is basically retired these days. In her hey day, she never appeared in public in her real hair. PG saw her at the Omni once, and was horrified by her wig. (Grace sells her paintings these days. Her white hair is cut short. The wigs are in a museum.)

RuPaul is not really blonde. That is a part of her wardrobe. In this video, she co stars with Martha Wash, in a remake of “It’s Raining Men”. The original title for this video was Piggly Wiggly.

It is a bit of show business wisdom that you put the horses at the end of a parade. Deaundra Peek fills this important role today. Last year it was a remake of “Supermodel”, which has copyright issues. Today, it is a cooking lesson. The last three characters of the Youtube code are M2M.
This is a repost. Pictures, from The Library of Congress, model “Inter-city beauties, Atlantic City Pageant, 1927.” As a bonus to our reader(s), we will explore the issue, Does Lady Gaga wear a wig? The answers are a bit contradictory, which is somehow fitting. One page says she does not wear a wig, but does wear extensions in some videos. Another answer is that dying her hair is damaging to the hair, if she went to a salon the paparazzi would see her, so yes, she does wear a wig.


















Billie Holiday Stories

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music, Race by chamblee54 on February 24, 2018

How ‘Strange Fruit’ Killed Billie Holiday turned up in a facebook feed yesterday. The article states that Harry Jacob Anslinger “the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics,” ordered Billie Holiday to quit performing “Strange Fruit.” When the chanteuse declined, Mr. Anslinger had her arrested for heroin possession. Later, Mr. Anslinger was allegedly responsible for busting Miss Holiday on her deathbed.

The Hunting of Billie Holiday was the source given for the claim about Mr. Anslinger and “Strange Fruit.” The Politico article does not say that Mr. Anslinger ordered Miss Holiday to quit singing “Strange Fruit.” It does say that Louis McKay, one of the many no-good men in Miss Holiday’s life, narked her out. The bust was in 1947, after she had been performing “Strange Fruit” for several years.

Politico had one comment that set off the bs detector. “One day, Harry Anslinger was told that there were also white women, just as famous as Billie, who had drug problems—but he responded to them rather differently. He called Judy Garland, another heroin addict, in to see him.” Frances Gumm was well known for having substance abuse issues. The heroin business was news to a lot of people.

Johann Hari was the author of the politico article. At the time, he was promoting a book, Chasing the Scream, about the war on drugs. Johann Hari has a spotted reputation. “The author used to be the Independent’s star columnist, a prolific polemicist and darling of the left, until his career imploded in disgrace when it emerged in 2011 that many of his articles contained quotes apparently said to him but in fact lifted from his interviewees’ books, or from previous interviews by other journalists.”

The final bust, as Miss Holiday lay dying in the hospital, is part of the legend. A google search does not show what agency was responsible. Harry Anslinger may have been involved, and it may have been someone else. By this time, Elanora Fagan was in bad, bad shape. Years of drinking, and hard drugs, had worn her out. While the hospital bust may have hastened her demise, it is a bit of a stretch to say the Harry Anslinger killed Billie Holiday, because she sang “Strange Fruit.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Jesus Gets A New Nickname

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Music, Poem, Religion by chamblee54 on February 14, 2018







There is a video making the rounds now. The title involves Jesus, and a certain racial slur, delicately known as the N word. The video is embedded above. You can feel the magic for yourself.

Here is a story about the song, with the edgy language bleeped. “One pastor is trying to spread the word of God with an edgy rap song. The rapping pastor and his wife claim they have “Christian swag” while tossing around the n-word. … The video of the rapping pastor was recently uploaded to YouTube but it’s not clear when it was filmed. It was taken at a church in Iowa which closed in 2004.” Another helpful interneter has the lyrics.

In case you didn’t know, Pastor Jim Colerick, and Mrs Mary-Sue Colerick, are melanin deficient. They are, as Bette Midler once said about Karen Carpenter, so white they are invisible. It is not considered good manners for Caucasians to use this word, with or without salvation.

There is another angle to this equation. Many Jesus worshipers see not using cusswords as a sign of righteousness. As a result, many Jesus worshipers use the words G-d, and Jesus Christ, as tools of their anger. This violates the third commandment. Now, this use of a sacred name, as profanity, is being extended to using a sacred name as a racial slur. Someone is always ready to manipulate language to serve an agenda.

When you call a book “the word of G-d”, you give certain words too much power. When you designate the lazy way of saying black as a super duper naughty word, you give those six letters way too much power. Now, we see the convergence of these two taboos. Let the party begin.

This is a repost. Pictures of Pastor and Mrs. Colerick are taken from the video. The other images are from The Library of Congress. Jack Delano was the photographer in December 1942.







Gloomy Sunday

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on February 11, 2018







Billie Holiday had a hit with Gloomy Sunday in 1941. The legend is that people would listen to the song, and kill themselves. As a result, the song was banned from the radio. Or was it?
Gloomy Sunday was written in 1933 by Rezső Seress. Additional lyrics were later written by László Jávor. It became known as the “Hungarian Suicide Song”, and was reportedly banned in Hungary. An English translation (which is said to not do justice to the original Hungarian) was rendered.

Gloomy Sunday has a melancholy sound, even as an instrumental. The story is about a person…it is not gender specific…who decides to join a loved one who has died. A third verse was added, to the english version, where the singer says it was all a dream.

Gloomy Sunday became popular in the United States. And the suicide stories started to spread, along with rumors that the song had been banned from the radio. (It was indeed banned by the BBC.) There are indications that these rumors were part of a publicity campaign.

The urban legend busters snopes. calls the story “undetermined”. Legends like this get a life of their own. A grieving person hearing this song on a dreary Sunday is not going to be uplifted. One thing is known for sure…the original composer did take his own life. Rezső Seress jumped off a tall building in Budapest in 1968. The legend is he had never had another hit song after writing “Gloomy Sunday”. This repost has pictures from The Library of Congress.







Frank Zappa

Posted in Library of Congress, Music, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on February 10, 2018

The first time PG saw the word Zappa, it was on an item at the Poster Hut. It showed a man sitting on a commode, with the words Phi Zappa Krappa rendered above. The poser, Frank Zappa, later said “I’m probably more famous for sitting on the toilet than for anything else that I do.”

It was 1969, give or take a bit. FZ was already well known in some hip circles. His band, the Mothers of Invention, played at something called the Cosmic Carnival at Atlanta Stadium, where the music lovers were actually allowed onto the field. PG paid $1.98 for a copy of We’re Only in It for the Money at the Woolco on Buford Hiway. Years later, he would pay $16.00 for a CD of this piece of work.

The records started to come out like clockwork, with or without the Mothers. FZ started to become a star, with an appeal to druggies who fancied themselves intellectual. It should be noted that FZ was notoriously anti drug. His music made fun of the establishment and counterculture with equal glee. FZ was also a capitalist, known to be tight fisted when it came to paying hired hands. He stayed with his second wife, Gail, until his death, and produced four children… Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen.

The concerts came to town every year or so, and people liked them. A show at the Fox Theater in 1974 may have caught FZ at his peak. PG heard the raves about this show until he bought a ticket for his next show. This was in 1975, at the Municipal Auditorium. PG brought a half pint in with him, and didn’t remember a lot later, except some song about the Illinois Eneman Bandit.

Life goes on. Nine years later, FZ was in legal hell with a former manager, and could only make money by touring. One night, a friend had an extra ticket to a show. PG arrived after the band had started, and FZ was playing a fine guitar solo. This was going to be good.

Only it wasn’t. The rest of the show was social commentary. The man had opinions on everything, and was generous with them. At one point, the band started to sing “He’s so gay”, while a double headed dildo was lowered from the ceiling. PG thinks he heard FZ sing “one day you might be gay too”, but by then it really didn’t matter.

Frank Zappa was many things to many people. He had lots of opinions, which were dutifully recorded by the press. Here are a few .

Rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, in order to provide articles for people who can’t read. // I think that if a person doesn’t feel cynical then they’re out of phase with the 20th century. Being cynical is the only way to deal with modern civilization, you can’t just swallow it whole. // When God created Republicans, he gave up on everything else. // Let’s not be too rough on our own ignorance; it’s what makes America great! // The U.S. is a mere pup tent of a civilization. We’ve got two hundred years of stupidity behind us and we think we’re right up there with everyone else who’s been doing it for thousands of years. // Beauty is a pair of shoes that makes you wanna die. // After all, he wrote this book here, and in the book it says he made us all to be just like him! So if we’re dumb, then God is dumb — and maybe even a little ugly on the side. // Remember there’s a big difference between kneeling down and bending over. // Do you think you are protecting somebody by taking away seven words? // For the record, folks; I never took a shit on stage and the closest I ever came to eating shit anywhere was at a Holiday Inn buffet in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973. // If you wind up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest or some guy on TV telling you how to do your shit, then YOU DESERVE IT. // There is no hell. There is only France. // The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced. // Children are naïve — they trust everyone. School is bad enough, but, if you put a child anywhere in the vicinity of a church, you’re asking for trouble. // People make a lot of fuss about my kids having such supposedly ‘strange names’, but the fact is that no matter what first names I might have given them, it is the last name that is going to get them in trouble. //

The reviews at Amazon sometimes have insights into the truth about an artist. Here are a few one star reviews of We’re Only in It for the Money.

I just don’t get this October 11, 2010 By Neomorphus “Neomorphus” (Superior, Colorado)
This is unlistenable. I could only get half way through before giving up. Too clever for me.

Put the kettle on June 7, 2006 By Noddy Box (New York)
This high-pitched snit fit might rouse the odd smirk if all you’ve consumed is a cup of tea and a Digestive biscuit but on no account listen to it under the influence of anything stronger because then you’re liable to prang right into a hectoring bore who comes off like some renegade member of the school debating team rehearsing his–fnarr fnarr–naughty rhyming rebuttals. Farting around in Edgar Varese’s old corduroys is all well and good but this breathtakingly condescending harangue sounds depressingly like–dear oh dear–social commentary. Jacobs Cream Crackers but is there anything more tedious than windy social commentary set to popular music? And the exhortation to read Kafka in the liner notes? Please Frank, rock stars should never mix their drinks, or at least not so the stitches show. Zappa is much more bearable when he takes his own advice, shuts his cakehole and plays guitar. Like on Hot Rats, where the only vocal is the sublime Beefy on Willie the Pimp and Frank in the kitchen the whole time cooking up a kettle of wordless aural gumbo–a movie for the ears I think he called it, something like that anyway, it’s right there on the sleeve, good description at any rate of one of the authentically crunchy Zappa records. Well he did release over sixty of them after all, I mean he was bound to get it right once or twice, wasn’t he? So toss this turkey on the fire and get yourself out onna porch of the Lido Hotel.

This is a repost. one, two, three, four posts are used. Your archive is your friend.

Former Dunwoody resident Aquarium Drunkard weighs in today with a nifty video. It is Frank Zappa, appearing on a TV show discussing censorship. FZ more than holds his own, and makes many good points about the nature of language and censorship. His contention is that censorship is about words, and that words in and of themselves are powerless. Wikipedia contributes this quote:
“What do you make of a society that is so primitive that it clings to the belief that certain words in its language are so powerful that they could corrupt you the moment you hear them?” FZ had a way with words… “Rock journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read. ”
I was in high school when I first heard about Frank Zappa. It was in the original Poster Hut, a ramshackle building on Cheshire Bridge Road that is vacant 38 years later. There was a poster, with the words
PHI ZAPPA KRAPPA Below the saying was a picture of Frank Zappa on a commode. To compare that image of FZ on the throne to the sight of him on a TV show surrounded by windbags…he is seated both times.
I did not get that poster of PZK, but I did get a dayglo poster of Janis Joplin. I didn’t notice the exposed nipple on the drawing. When Mom saw it, she was horrified.
” I trusted you!” In my shame, I took a magic marker and covered over the fluorescent fuchsia mammary.
Back to FZ on CNN. The guitar picker made a lot of sense. One of the pundits threw the founding fathers at FZ, who replied that the FF were slave owners and that Ben Franklin was a wildman. FZ said we were heading to a fascist theocracy. Are we there yet? One whiner mentioned that his band was called the Mothers of Invention. FZ did not mention that the original name had been the mothers, and a record label made them add “of invention”.Finally, the four man part of the show was over. The two primary whiners agreed that rock music had some gnarly words, but did we really trust the government to intervene.
Frank Zappa was a parent. His four children are Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva … Al Capp, born Alfred Gerald Caplin, was a piece of work. Mr. Capp did not keep his opinions to himself. When PG was a kid, he heard Mr. Capp appearing on an NBC radio show, Monitor. This was about the time he called Joan Baez “Joanie Phonie,” and got some bad press.

At the age of nine, a trolly accident cost Mr. troll Capp his left leg. Years later, an urban legend arose. “in a televised face-off, either Capp (on the Dick Cavett Show) or (more commonly) conservative talk show host Joe Pyne (on his own show) is supposed to have taunted iconoclastic musician Frank Zappa about his long hair, asking Zappa if he thought he was a girl. Zappa is said to have replied, “You have a wooden leg; does that make you a table?” (Both Capp and Pyne had wooden legs.)









Recently, the world of flaky internet quotes has discovered Frank Zappa. The “sexually incontinent rock innovator” died December 4, 1993. (His wife Gail passed away October 7, 2025.) Recently, some alleged quotes have hit the ether. Some people need to get out more. This is a repost.

This item was recently featured in chamblee54. @SlavojTweezek “”Communism doesn’t work,” Frank Zappa said, “because people like to own stuff.” Idiot. What do people’s likes have to do with communism?” This quote is plausible. Frank Zappa was a capitalist. He liked owning stuff, especially his own music. It should be easy to find a source. However, the best google can come up with is a compilation, “Quotes of Zappa,” in W. C. Privy’s Original Bathroom Companion.”

This morning, facebook had a meme. It had a picture of FZ, with the quote “Politics is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.” In the time that it takes to say Camarillo Brillo, Mr. Google turned up a reddit commentary.

“While the quote is frequently listed as, ““Government is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex,” I could find no primary source. It appears to contradict the actual quote from a 1987 interview with Keyboard magazine where he is decidedly pro-government but anti-bullshit politics.” (FZ did say “art in the service of politics usually makes for boring art.” Why do people make up quotes for memes, when the real thing is better?)

Speculating what a dead man would say is a tricky business. FZ was known for strong opinions, and a finely tuned BS detector. (That is bovine excrement, not Bernie Sanders.) FZ died while the internet was just getting started, and years before some of today’s permutations and perversions. It is easy to imagine FZ making rude comments about people misquoting dead guitar heroes.

Speaking of politics and cynical guitar cadavers, the current poster boi for trendy privilege is Bernie Sanders. If you “feel the Bern,” you might want to skip over the rest of this post, and look at the pictures. (These pictures are from The Library of Congress.) While BS is arguably less evil than Hitlery, he still leaves a great deal to be desired. BS is making extravagant promises that he will be totally unable to keep. BS is taking the concept of telling people what they want to hear to new depths. Yes, this is part of what FZ meant when saying rude things about politicians.

Today, PG saw a fundraising appeal for BS. Against his better judgment, PG made the comment “Bernie $anders.” The fun started almost immediately.

This campaign is for monthly recurring contributions. And Luther, campaigning requires money. The alternative to grassroots support is a country run by wealthy interests. Which would you prefer? ~
I realize that campaigning for political office requires money. My comment was a bit of recreational $nark. B$ can take a joke. … “The alternative to grassroots support is a country run by wealthy interests.” I am not sure about that comparison. Hitlery can make more in one corporate blowjob than BS can in a month of grass roots support. BHO did not get a billion dollars for his reelection from five dollar contributions. While the concept of grassroots support is uplifting, the sordid reality is that we live in a bribe-ocracy. ~ Your cynicism is less than accurate and certainly less than appealing. ~ Luther, just don’t vote and stay out of discussions about voting. OK?

















The current WTF Podcast features Moon Zappa. At no time does she say grody, gag me with a spoon, or boofoos. Today, she is the divorced mother of an eight year old, and buys quality apple butter.

Moon is the daughter of the late Frank Zappa. FZ did not do drugs, smoked Winston cigarettes, and spent all his time working on music. The four children, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva, called the parents Frank and Gail. Mrs. Zappa stays busy these days selling her husbands music.

Once, Moon broke a finger in school. She called Gail, and waited. Eventually, the family Rolls Royce pulled up. Gail was driving, with Frank in the passenger seat. Frank quit driving when his first drivers license expired. Before taking Moon to the ER, they stopped to get Frank a burrito.

Gail and Moon were walking to the store one day, when Moon was very little. A car stopped, and tried to pick up Gail. Moon screamed “Fuck off pervert.”

Captain Beefheart was at the Zappa house one time. He had made a hole in the side of his nose with a pencil. When a finger was put over the other nostril, the nose became a whistle.

While listening to this show, PG was editing pictures from The Library of Congress. Some of these images appear with this feature.









The Georgian Terrace Ballroom

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Music by chamblee54 on February 9, 2018

The Georgian Terrace hotel used to have an adjacent ballroom. The building opened as the “Lucky Strike”, featuring “Duck Pin” bowling. At some time, it became a 1300 seat ballroom. It was not the grand ballroom, where events for the premiere of “Gone With The Wind” were held. As time moved on, the ballroom became a music performance hall. PG saw shows there under four different business names. After the Agora Ballroom closed, the building was vacant, until a fire August 30, 1987. The site of the ballroom is now occupied by an annex of the Georgian Terrace Hotel.

The first show PG saw at this facility was in 1972. The name of the business is forgotten, as is the act that performed. A band, comprised of people PG went to high school with, played before he got there.

In 1974, “Big Time” promoter Alex Cooley opened “Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom”. (Alex Cooley died December 1, 2015.) The first show that PG saw was Dr. John The Night Tripper. A few months later, Capricorn artists Cowboy played, with a vulgar New York band named Mercury opening. Gato Barbieri played, with PG wondering how people could dance to that type of music.

Several major acts appeared at the Ballroom, mostly without PG in the audience. KISS played there in 1974, and photographs from backstage are in the embedded video. In April of 1974, Steely Dan was across from the Fox. In the summer of 1974, The Tubes played a week at the ballroom, with another heavily hyped show. On January 23, 1976, The Patti Smith Group played at the ballroom.

In 1975, Bruce Springsteen was on the covers of Time and Newsweek, and was receiving a promotional push unlike anything seen before. He played a show at the ballroom that summer, with a generous press party in the balcony. (At one unforgettable show Alex was caught off guard by a Bruce Springsteen request. “He asked if we could shut down the cash registers because they were making too much noise!… That’s the only time I ever did that.” Alex admits.)

PG attended two shows in 1975. Mckendree Spring opened for Fanny, while PG drank too many bourbon and cokes. In November of 1975, Juice Newton opened for Hot Tuna. Miss Newton seemed to be a bit pale, and performed “Get drunk and screw”. Hot Tuna was amazing. They went on stage at 10:55, and played, without a break, until 2:50. The drummer wore a shirt, mother fucking hot tuna. Few would argue that night.

In autumn of 1977, some brave soul opened a place called “The Ballroom” in the space on Peachtree Street. One night, PG went with some friends to see an act, Happy the Man. There seemed to be a bit of chaos in the management of the facility. The Great Southeast Music Hall loaned a few microphones for the show. When the show was over, PG walked out to a car, whose motor was running, with the driver asleep inside.

In the summer of 1978, the ballroom opened as The Agora Ballroom. Apparently, there is a music hall in Cleveland with that name, and they opened branch facilities around the country. There were some shows that PG did not attend. Todd Rundgren opened the facility August 19, 1978. On October 2, 1979, The Clash played. Pictures from the crowd appeared on an album by the band. On December 2, 1981, U2 made their Atlanta debut.

A few weeks after the opening, PG won tickets to an all Texas show. Marcia Ball opened, and a bored PG went to a neighborhood bar to drink beer. PG returned later, and stayed long enough for the singer with Asleep at the Wheel to ask the crowd, Are you stoned?

In November of 1978, PG called a radio station, and asked to be put on the guest list for Talking Heads . (For Talking Heads, and three links in the following paragraphs, the link is for a previous Chamblee 54 post about the show.) The first six people he called were busy, but the last one agreed to go. On the bus going home, a group of black men started to make unfriendly comments. At the next stop, a black friend of PG got on the bus, and went to talk to him.

A few weeks later, Tim Curry made his United States debut. Some record company invested a lot of money in him, and supplied him with an outstanding band. PG was wandering around the balcony after the first show, and saw Tom Waits sitting at a table. The bodyguard said no, that’s not Tom Waits, it is just someone that looks like him. At a bar, after the show, PG was raving about what he had seen, when a lady came up to him. What color are your eyes? They are brown, because you are full of shit. Soon, the 23 Oglethorpe was taking him home.

Somewhere in the haze of 78 and 79, Ultravox brought their synthetics to the Agora. A local band, First Blood, was more entertaining as the opener. PG drank a very large can of Foster’s beer, and floated through the proceedings. After the show, PG was invited to a party in Candler Park. On the way there, there was a horrific car crash on Ponce de Leon. At the party, friends of First Blood dissected their performance, between lines of coke.

One night, PG was enjoying drink specials at a neighborhood bar. He took a break, walked over to the Agora, and saw a few minutes of a show by Freddie Hubbard.

In early 1979, the B 52s were on the verge of stardom. (Here is a nifty feature about the Atlanta local music scene in those days.) The opener for the 52s was The Brains , yet another talented band that never made it big. At the table next to PG, a lady wore a dynamite World War Two army uniform.

Later in 1979, Ted Turner had an idea for a TV show, “Live at the Agora”. The first show was filmed in Atlanta, and featured Graham Parker and the Rumor. If they ever show that film again, and you see a crowd shot, that is PG wearing a white T shirt, with a white Agora iron on logo. Parker was a great musician, who had the misfortune to look like Big Bird’s nerdy little brother. If Graham Parker looked like Bruce Springsteen, he would have been a superstar.

In March of 1980, Lene Lovich came to the Agora. About a year later, Spirit played on Peachtree Street. The show was sponsored by a radio station, and tickets were $2.96. Despite the low price, and high musical quality, the balcony was closed, and only about a hundred people were at the show. PG thought this was odd, but little surprised him by this time.

The last show that PG caught at the Agora was The Ramones. Joey and the pinheads were past their prime, with only two original members playing. It was an all ages show, with alcohol served in the balcony. Downstairs was a festive party, with costumes and enthusiastic high school kids. The balcony was the same rock and roll drunks you had seen for years. The Ramones would have made a great oldies band, if they could have quit dying. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

One Diamond Two Believers Four Monkees

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Music by chamblee54 on January 20, 2018







JoemyG-d has been running videos of number one hits lately. Today, the numero uno is from 1966. It is by the Monkees, called “I’m a Believer”.

PG always liked the Monkees. They were the twelve year old’s band when he was twelve years old. There was an article in the Saturday Evening Post about the “Pre Fab Four”, and a classmate of PG said that he was disillusioned. Certainly no one was confused about the made for tv nature of the band. The rumors…which turned out to be true…said that the Monkees did not play the instruments on their debut album. Still, a seventh grader is easily amused, and the show was fun to watch.

“I’m a Believer” was written by Neil Diamond, aka the Jewish Elvis. Mr. Diamond played guitar on the Monkees version of IAB. (Michael Nesmith does a convincing imitation in the video. It is not known if he was wearing the green hat.)

IAB is part of the rock tradition of misunderstood lyrics. PG thought that Mickey said he “needed sunshine on my brain”. PG did not learn the truth for many years. One afternoon, he heard a band on the radio do IAB, and the lyrics were understood. What the song really said was, “when I needed sunshine I got rain. “

This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. The video in the original post is no longer on youtube, but there was no shortage of replacements. The video used today is one PG remembers from the TV show.

The other video, with unfortunate sound, is from the second year of “The Monkees”. PG did not like Mickey Dolenz with frizzy hair, and quit watching the show. 13 is a year older than 12. The fall of 1967 found PG as an eighth grader, or “subbie”, at a grungy high school. This was the first year after Lynwood Park High School closed. A few people were not happy about integration.

The other video has the word believer in the title. (The middle of the word believer is LIE.) One afternoon, the disc jockey at WQXI said he was tired of playing that stupid song by the Monkees. Before long, the Monkees were replaced by the Partridge Family.







The Number One Hit When I Was Born

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on January 16, 2018

This post went up for the first time on May 28, 2008. The meme of looking up the number one hit on your date of birth is making the rounds again. It is a good excuse for something to post on a slow day. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

There is a man known as XWinger. He sells Celtic music, promotes DimSum groups, and has a blog.

Once at his place I saw a link to a site that tells you what the Number One song was on that day. The arbiter of number oneness is Billboard Magazine.

The List goes back to 1892. On January 1, 1892, the #1 hit was “Drill, Ye Terriers, Drill” by George J. Gaskin. I imagine that before a certain date this would refer to sheet music, or maybe player piano thingies. Other big hits from the Gay Nineties include “The Fatal Wedding” (1894, George J. Gaskin), “Little Alabama Coon” (1895. Len Spencer) and ” A Hot Time in the Old Town”(1897, Dan Quinn).

When my daddy was born in 1916, the top hit was “M-O-T-H-E-R (A Word that Means So Much to Me) by Henry Burr. When my mother was born in 1922, the top of the billboard charts was “Stumbling” by Paul Whiteman.

In October 1929, the stock market crashed to “Am I Blue” by Ethel Waters. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the big song was “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by Glenn Miller. Mr. Miller joined the Army after the start of the War, and toured with a band to entertain troops. On December 15, 1944, his plane disappeared in France. The number one hit that day was “I’m Making Believe” by the Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald. The Ink Spots played at the Domino Lounge downtown when I was a kid. I heard people say, “the Ink Spots have been around for a while”.

In 1954, this reporter was born. The number one hit that day was “Wanted” by Perry Como. Two years later, my brother was born to the sounds of “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley.

One way to track the hits through the years is to pick a date and follow it. It should be noted that Billboard is the essence of “commercial”. On my tenth birthday, the big sound was “Hello Dolly” by Louis Armstrong. On the verge of the summer of Love, the big hit was “Something Stupid” by Nancy Sinatra and Frank Sinatra. At no time did the Beatles have a number one hit on my birthday. This attitude improved in 1969 with “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by the Fifth Dimension.

The seventies continued the commercial tradition with “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night. This was in 1971, the year they played a big show at Atlanta Stadium. The disco monster raised its glittering hand with “Night Fever”, by the Bee Gees in 1978.

As the eighties rolled in, I got a job and apartment, and music became less familiar. The first big May hit of the eighties was “Call Me” by Blondie. It was from a movie starring Richard Gere. The movie did not feature gerbils. The decade was not a total loss, as 1983 featured “Beat It” by Michael Jackson.

Moving into the nineties and oughts, my old fogey decrepitude is near total. Or is that the wasteland of pop music? By this time top 40 is all but extinct, am radio given over to all talk stations, and fm music so spread out that no one style of music is dominant. The number one hit on my birthday, one recent year, is “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis.

Of course, the leaders of our country don’t always listen. On May 28, 1915, the biggest song was “I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier” by the Peerless Quartet. And, on May 28, 1964, the number one hit was “Love Me Do” by the Beatles.

Growing Up With Joni Mitchell

Posted in Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on January 13, 2018












A facebook friend went on a Joni Mitchell kick. First it was a link to an interview. Then it was a quote from The Last Time I Saw Richard. A lady said Blue was her favorite album all all time, and a man enthusiastically agreed. This is a repost.

Given the apples and oranges quality of her catalog, it would be tough to pick one album as a favorite. PG then realized that fbf was going to be thirty soon. PG is sixty. These are two different perspectives on the craft of Joni Mitchell. One has driven through the storm, not knowing what was next. The other is presented with an almost complete body of recorded work.

PG has known about Joni since high school, and been a devoted fan since 1976. Joni’s most popular album, Court And Spark, came out in 1974, eleven years before fbf was born. Who would be the equivalent female musical force from 1943, when PG was minus eleven? The answer is nobody. (Coincidentally Roberta Joan Anderson was born on November 7, 1943.)

ms mitchell After the comment about Blue, PG listened to For The Roses. Joni’s craft is like a cluster bomb… there are lines that you never fully felt, bomblets waiting to explode in your gut. Let The Wind Carry Me has one of those hidden threats. Mama thinks she spoilt me, Papa knows somehow he set me free, Mama thinks she spoilt me rotten, She blames herself, But papa he blesses me.

The first thing PG heard by Joni was Big Yellow Taxi. It was on The Big Ball, a 1970 mail order sampler from Warner Brothers. This was when Joni shacked up with Graham Nash. The next year saw Blue, followed by For The Roses, and Court And Spark. PG always thought Joni was someone he should like, but somehow didn’t. It wasn’t until 1976 that PG broke through the barrier, and became a Joni Mitchell fan. Seeing her in concert did not hurt.

On February 3, 1976, PG took a study break. (He scored 100 on the test the next day) Joni Mitchell was playing at the UGA coliseum a few blocks away, and the door was not watched after the show started. PG found a place to stand, on the first level of the stands. The LA express was her band that night, and created a tight, jazzy sound, even in the UGA coliseum. Tom Scott pointed at Joni, said she was crazy, and drew circles around his left ear. The one line PG remembers is “chicken scratching my way to immortality” from Hejira.

The Hissing of Summer Lawns might not be her best album, but it is certainly her bravest. Court And Spark was a commercial success. Instead of producing a bestselling followup, Joni took a ninety degree turn. Summer Lawns, for all its eccentric sparkle, confused the record buying public. The gravy train took off in another direction.

In those days, 96rock played a new album at midnight, which people were known to tape. On the night of the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash, the album was Hejira. This was followed by Mingus, another curve ball. Finally, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter appeared, and did not make a good impression.

The eighties, nineties, and aughts appeared. PG, and Joni, lived their lives. 1996 saw a frightening interview in Details magazine. It was startling to see that for all her granola glory, Joni Mitchell might not be a very nice person. In a pot and kettle moment, David Crosby said “Joni’s about as humble as Mussolini.” Music is a tough way to make easy money.

More recently, there was a long interview on Canadian television. She is not mellowing with age. The cigarettes have not killed her, even if her voice is not what it once was. The recent albums that PG heard are strong. There seem to be more on the way. Maybe the facebook friend will have have the “what is she going to do next” experience after all. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.













What Is Dirty About Louie Louie?

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on January 12, 2018









The sixties were a great time to be a kid. As long as you were too young for a Vietnam Vacation, there were kicks to be had.

One of the more enduring legends was the dirty lyrics to “Louie Louie”. Recorded by an obscure band called the Kingsmen, the song was a massive hit in 1963 (It never was Number One). When WQXI put out lists of the greatest songs of all time, “Louie Louie” was at the top of the list. This is despite, or because of, the raucous sound. The song was recorded in one take, when the band thought they were playing a rehearsal. The vocals are difficult to make sense of, and rumored to be obscene. No one was ever quite sure why. With the garbled sound on the record, the listener could hear almost anything they wanted to.

The Governor of Indiana, Matthew Welsh, banned radio stations from playing the song in that state. On February 7, 1964, Attorney General Robert Kennedy got a letter from an outraged parent about the lyrics to “Louie Louie”. An F.B.I. investigation followed. After thirty months of investigation, the Bureau concluded that they could not make sense of the lyrics.

PG had a neighbor named Carol. A tomboy who could whip most of the boys, she had a pet skunk named Napoleon. Carol claimed to have heard a band at Lenox Square play “Louie Louie”. “He said the words real slow so you could understand them. I can’t repeat what he said, but it was dirty”.

Louie, Louie Oh no, me gotta go.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, said, ah
Louie, Louie Oh, baby, me gotta go
A fine little girl she waits for me Me
catch a ship for cross the sea.
Me sail that ship all alone Me never think how I make it home.
Ah, Louie, Louie No, no, no, no, me gotta go.
Oh, no. Said, Louie, Louie Oh, baby, said we gotta go.
Three nights and days I sail the sea Think of girl, oh, constantly.
Ah, on that ship I dream she there
I smell the rose, ah, in her hair.
Ah, Louie, Louie Oh, no, sayin’ we gotta go.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
but, ah, Louie, Louie Oh, baby, said, we gotta go.
[Yelled] Okay, let’s give it to ‘em right now! [instrumental]
Me see Jamaica, ah, moon above.
It won’t be long, me see me love.
Take her in my arms again, I got her; I’ll never leave again.
Ah, Louie, Louie Oh, no, sayin’ me gotta go.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
But, ah, Louie, Louie Oh, baby, said, ah, we gotta go.
I said we gotta go now, Let’s get on outta here.
[Yelled] Let’s go.

Transcribed by David Spector Sept. 2000 Public Domain. If anyone reading this can explain what was so dirty about this song, please leave a comment. Thank you Wikipedia for your help in assembling this. This is a repost. Pictures by The Library of Congress










Judy Roasting On An Open Fire

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Music by chamblee54 on December 12, 2017









SFFILK (Not his real name) passes along a story about Mel Tormé. It seems like Mr.Tormé was eating a leisurely breakfast at a food court in Los Angeles, and a quartet appeared singing Christmas songs. They wound up performing “The Christmas Song” for co- author Tormé … and the singers had no idea who he was. It is a good story, better told in the link. (The link no longer works.) This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

According to the inerrant Wikipedia, Mr. Tormé collaborated with Robert Wells, until they had a falling out. One afternoon, on the hottest day of July in 1945, Mr.Tormé went to visit Mr.Wells, and saw the first four lines of “The Christmas Song” (including “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose”). The lines were on a note pad, and the two agreed to beat the heat of summer by completing the song. Supposedly, Mr. Tormé did not like the song very much. After three divorces, he probably didn’t see many of the royalties.

Mel Tormé was the music director of the ill fated “Judy Garland Show” in the early sixties. He wrote a book about it… The Other Side of the Rainbow: With Judy Garland on the Dawn Patrol . The story is that Miss Garland would get blasted, call Mr.Tormé in the middle of the night, and pour out her troubles. (This review is much less sympathetic towards Mr. Tormé.) While the show did not last longer, there are some great youtube clips left over.









Posted in Holidays, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on December 7, 2017

The story below is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. There is an appearance by Gerald Rudolph Ford, and his women. Betty was a merry soul.

Someone posted a bit of revisionism about a holiday classic. As he sees it, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is about racism.

In a bit of yuletime synchronicity, the urban mythbusters at Snopes posted a piece about Rudolph the same day. It seems as though the Rudolph story was originally written for the Montgomery Ward Stores. The idea was to print a Christmas booklet to give to customers. A staff writer named Robert L. May was picked for the job.

Originally, there were concerns about the red nose, and the connection to heavy drinking. At the time, the original meaning of “merry christmas” had been forgotten. Merry meant intoxicated, and a merry christmas was a drunken one. The booklet was released. It was a big hit with shoppers.

Mr. May had a brother in law named Johnny Marks, who was musically gifted. Mr. Marks wrote the song, and somehow or another Gene Autry came to sing it. A story (which PG heard once, but cannot find a source for) had Mr. Autry doing a recording session. The session went very smoothly, and the sides scheduled to be recorded were finished early. There was a half hour of studio time paid for. Someone produced copies of “Rudolph”, gave them to the musicians, and the recording was knocked out. It became a very big hit.

Gene Autry had a radio show, “Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch”. He created the “cowboy code”. Number five gets our attention today. Under this code, the cowboy must:

1. never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage. 2. never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him. 3. always tell the truth. 4. be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
5. not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas. 6. help people in distress. 7. be a good worker. 8. keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits. 9. respect women, parents and his nation’s laws. 10. be a patriot.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” has become a beloved standard, without the troubling religious implications of many holiday songs. It is the second biggest selling record of all time. The only song to sell more is “White Christmas”.