Thursday, January 22, 2015

It's Another Edition of Coppock's Topics!

The beauty of Rock' n Roll is that it creates vibrancy, energy,  moods, expressions of feelings and  constant reminders of moments that folks treasure in one form or another.   
It's also a genre that creates constant debate.   

Who is the greatest guitar player of all time: Hendrix, Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, B.B. King … none of the above? Buddy Guy? Keith Richards? 

Anyway so much for the buildup. That leads me to my list of seven songs that should never see the light of day.  

1. Pat Boone, "Tutti Fruitti"  
A pathetic effort by "Mr. White Bucks" to cover  Little Richard's raging hunk of  madness. Boone had about as much soul  as your average wooden Indian.  

2. C.W. McCall, "Convoy."

Fortunately, I was still drinking heavily in the 70's so the ugliness of this junk only busted my spleen instead of my skull.

3. Chuck Berry, "My Ding-A-Ling."
Just why did the St. Louis Tiger, the man who gave us "Johnny B. Goode", "Oh Carol" and "Back in the USA" record this brain cramp? Better yet, just how did the sucker get to #1? Maybe the 70's were a tad overrated?

4.  Rick Dees, "Disco Duck."
Quick! Be honest! What was worse ... that song or leisure suits?   

5. Steve Miller, "Space Cowboy."
Beyond forgettable, horrific. Ex-pro wrestling star, Handsome Jimmy Valiant, used to mimic the song by shouting in his "buildup" interviews, "Mama, you don't like my apples you don't shake my tree."

6. Paul Evans, "Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Backseat - Kissin' and a Huggin' With Fred." 
The first real gimmick song I can recall. It basically tells you how square the world was during the Eisenhower years or how dull Cousin Brucie Morrow remains. Sadly, some guy who owns the publishing to this flawed pinkie ring is still making a buck.

7. (And not a moment too soon.) Rolling Stones, "Miss You."
I can see the eye brows raising, but hold it a second, I can't accept a falsetto recording from the band that gave us "Gimme Shelter", "Bitch" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." In concert, "Miss You" is actually beyond painful.

Chet Coppock
Host: Chicago Blackhawks Heritage Series
Host: Notre Dame football on 89-WLS Radio

An interesting list ... here are some of MY comments before we open this up to the floor ...

1)  It is still my contention that Pat Boone did more to hurt ... and HELP ... rock and roll than any other single individual.  I know we've debated this point before ... but Boone brought rock and roll into the homes of middle class, paranoid, white bread America.  He (lamely most of the time, perhaps, but effectively if only for this reason alone!) covered R&B artists like Little Richard, Fats Domino, The El Dorados, Ivory Joe Hunter and others, making this music "safe" for those who were a little slow to embrace this new "teenage revolution".  Eventually most of the "uneducated" who thought rock and roll was the devil's music came around ... and in the process, his record sales were second only to Elvis himself.  (Funny thing is nobody ever complained about Elvis singing Gospel Music and exploring his roots in the church ... but artists like Boone and TV's "My Little Margie" / girl-next-door Gale Storm made MASSIVE strides in bringing the essence of this music to folks who otherwise may have never even heard it when they covered songs by black artists that hadn't yet crossed over to commercial radio.  It may have been watered-down .. hell, it most definitely WAS watered down ... but I'm pretty certain that every originator of this rhythm and blues / rock and roll beat cashed their royalty checks when they came in the mail.
That being said ... I can't stand to listen to his version of "Tutti Fruitti" either ... but I will NEVER deny the contribution he made to the genre of rock and roll.  I maintain to this day that he is right up near the top of our Deserving And Denied List of worthy artists who have been repeatedly snubbed and ignored by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Give a listen to this one ... with the right material, Pat could still crank out a memorable hit every now and then.  Not only was this one of my First 45's ... but I think Boone rocks out pretty good on this track, even if it was a "novelty" record!

2)  One of the great mysteries of life is how this record EVER got all the way to #1.  Sure, I remember the CB Craze ... my dad may have even dabbled in it a little bit ... but there weren't enough addicts out there to support those kind of sales.  (Besides, who really talked this way?!?!)  Then again, after a week at the top of the charts it was displaced by Barry Manilow's "I Write The Songs" ... so in the long run, which was really better?

3)  I whole-heartedly agree.  What a shame that The Grandfather Of Rock And Roll ... and perhaps the genre's first true tunesmith ... topped the charts for his only time with THIS one!!! (I probably saw Chuck Berry six or seven times in 1972-1973 ... and this one was ALWAYS a crowd pleaser ... but I NEVER expected it to go all the way to #1!!!)
Here's one of my all-time favorites by The Chuckster ...

4)  No doubt about it, they were BOTH awful!!! (But, in a moment of total honesty and full disclosure, I will also secretly admit to all of you, my closest friends out there, that at the time I bought BOTH!!!  And I'll bet that a whole lot of you out there did the same!)  What were we thinking?!?!?  

5)  It's become nearly impossible for me to listen to ANYTHING by Steve Miller anymore ... his music has become SO over-saturated that I turn it off the instant I hear the first or second note ... which is a real shame because I REALLY liked it at the time.  ("Space Cowboy", maybe not so much ... I wasn't all that familiar with it or Miller's music back then ... so the inside joke on "The Joker" was lost on me until years later.)  
I used to play his albums "Fly Like An Eagle" and "Book Of Dreams" non-stop back in the day ... and, surprisingly, if I stick them both in the car and listen to them straight through now (which I did a month or two ago), I can absolutely enjoy and appreciate this music again within that context.  But I'm not kidding you, radio has RUINED these songs for me.  The second one of them comes on, it's button-pushing time for me!  (Sad part is you probably won't find anything better no matter how many times you keep pushing ... so at that point it's either back to Miller ... or pop in a CD!!!)   

6)  OK, I've gotta be REAL careful with this one ... Paul Evans has been a Forgotten Hits list member for several years now ... and he certainly has always had a way with a clever lyric and a catchy melody.  As such, this one doesn't bother me so much (and let's face it, based on today's programming, you're rarely going to hear it anyway.)  I can think of a couple other songs that I find FAR more annoying and obnoxious ... "Playground In My Mind" by Clint Holmes and "Sing" by The Carpenters immediately come to mind.  These recordings were created for the SOLE purpose of eating away your brain cells and filling your head with mindless clutter.
A Paul Evans composition that you don't hear much anymore (yet might find a bit more enjoyable) would be "When" by The Kalin Twins ... let's give THAT one a spin, shall we???

7)  Honestly, I couldn't believe it when The Stones put this record out, trying to cash in on the last phase of disco.  It was about as UN-Rollling Stones sounding record as they could make ... and at the time I thought it was a real sell-out.  But Keith Richards has always had a way with a "reach out and grab you" guitar riff ... his intros are amongst the catchiest ever written.  Even so, this one hasn't aged well for me either ... and I swear I must turn it off at least fifteen times a week.  For SOME crazy reason, it still seems to be in heavy rotation (and there are at least fifty OTHER Rolling Stones songs that outrank this one when listing those deserving a spin!) 
If you can't stand THIS falsetto, give a listen to the long-forgotten "Emotional Rescue" ... an even WEAKER attempt that you virtually NEVER hear anymore.  (You will be my knight in shining armor if you can make it all the way to the end of this track!)

As always, Chet, thanks for your insightful input, sure to spark a controversial comment or two.  Meanwhile, until we meet again, I bid you adieu.  10-4, Good Buddy!  (kk)