Author: The Hinoeuma
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Six pick.
Moving into 1986… My first introduction to R.E.M. wasn’t the radio or MTV. It was an odd video channel on Cablevision in the early 80s in my NC hometown (my mom only had basic cable…no MTV). I’ve talked at great length with Max (Powerpop Blogger) about this obscure video channel. I remember two VJs, one named “Dr. John” (not the musician) that wore blue scrubs and one named “Carrot Top” (not the comedian), that, of course, was a red-headed dude. I have no idea where this channel broadcast from but, it was a seriously stripped down operation. It was just rotating VJs, sitting at a desk, talking into a camera…and playing music videos. The first video I recall seeing was Radio Free Europe, the Murmur version, not the Hib-Tone single (I later found out). I was immediately hooked but, totally missed who the band was. (Interestingly, the Hib-Tone version was recorded at Drive-In Studios in Winston-Salem, NC and the Murmur version was recorded at Reflection Studios in Charlotte, NC.) Fast forward to the end of my senior year of high school and I see some of So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry) on MTV. I had no idea that this was the same band. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college, when Driver 8 came out (another one I like), that a buddy of mine told me who R.E.M. was…a college band out of the University of Georgia (Bulldogs). Every piece of music of theirs that I was lucky enough to catch, I loved. Finally, in 1987, The One I Love broke thru to #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and they seemed to be everywhere. Their highest charting hit was Losing My Religion, getting to #4 in 1991. Out of their entire catalog, which is gi-hugic, Fall On Me wound up being my favorite, with my introductory piece, Radio Free Europe, coming in second. I wish I had seen them live.
Bit of odd trivia…five strange degrees of separation. R.E.M. had a manager by the name of Jefferson Holt. He was with them until 1996 when they got rid of him for sexual harassment. Jefferson Holt is from Chapel Hill and his mother is named Bertha “B” Holt. She was an NC State Rep. from 1975 to 1994, representing my home county (and another one). She was quite the pioneer, advocating for the ERA and married rape victims (which is ironic as hell considering her son’s behavior). My paternal grandmother was in Democratic politics in the 60s, 70s & 80s, running for local office, herself (and on first-names basis with several governors). She campaigned heavily for her favorites and “Bee” Holt was one of them. I met Bee Holt several times as a kid and remember all of her “Bee” 🐝 paraphernalia all over my grandmother’s house.
I guess this makes me closer to R.E.M. than Kevin Bacon! 😉 😊 ~Vic
Released 0n August 11, 1986, it was the third track from the album Lifes Rich Pageant. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #96 the weekend of October 4, peaking at #94 on October 11 before finally disappearing from the chart on October 25. It did better on the Album Rock Tracks, making it to #5 for one week on September 6.
“Of the genuinely new songs, Peter Buck’s basic music track for Fall On Me dated back to July of 1985, when Stipe had written a lyric about acid rain [but], the song had been virtually re-written, melody and lyrics, by the time it came to be recorded. Stipe, who declared in 1991 that “…this may be my favourite song in the R.E.M. catalogue…”, has described the final version as “…pretty much a song about oppression.” Trainspotters might like to know that the counter-melody used in the second verse is actually the song’s original tune.
Johnny Black (2004)
Reveal: The Story of R.E.M.
His Favorite Song
Yep. New heading. What is a thumbnut? From Merriam-Webster:
What is a good definition of wing nut? From the Urban Dictionary:
A [piece] of metal that can be easily turned with the fingers used to anchor screws into wood or other material…[OR]
From Wikipedia: [A] pejorative American political term referring to a person who holds extreme, and often, irrational, political views.
President Biden has decided to go hard on the virus. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Sadly for him, those tiny little pathogens don’t pay taxes, don’t vote, don’t have Social Security numbers, can’t be drafted and don’t answer phone calls from poll takers, which is to say that he, and his agencies, cannot really control them. That must be frustrating, poor man. Instead his plan is to control what he can control: people and, most immediately, federal workers and the employees of large regulated companies. For him, the key to crushing the virus is the vaccine. Not enough people are obeying his demand for near-universal vaccination.
In a maniacal move of wild desperation, or as an excuse to try out the most extreme powers of his office, he is using every weapon that he believes he has to assure compliance with his dream of injecting as many arms as possible. Only then will we crush the virus, all thanks to his leadership…all the complaints about “freedom” be damned…and never mind that the realization of his dream did not work in Israel or the UK.
What are the immediate problems here? At least five:
 The Biden mandate pretends that the only immunity is injected, not natural […] even though all science for at least a year…actually, you can say centuries…contradicts that. Indeed, we’ve known about natural immunity since 400 B.C when Thucydides first wrote of the great Athens plague that revealed that “they knew the course of the disease and were themselves free from apprehension.” Biden’s mandate could affect 80 million people but, far more than that have likely been exposed and gained robust immunity regardless of vaccination status.
 This natural immunity is long-lasting, and broad, and we’ve known that since last year when the first studies revealed it. You can say that the addition of a vaccine provides even more but, it’s new, and untested, relative to most drugs approved by regulators. [Many] people are concerned about possible side effects of this vaccine, that was approved much faster than any drug in my lifetime, and there is not one living human being in a position to say with certainty that these skeptics are wrong.
 The mandate presumes that everyone is equally susceptible to severe outcomes from getting exposed to the virus, which we’ve known is not true since at least February 2020. In this entire 18-month fiasco, we’ve not seen any serious high-level communication about the huge range of demographic gradients in infection based on both age and overall health. This ignorance is a consequence of poor public-health messaging and is grossly irresponsible. The aggregated mandate from the Biden administration ignores this completely, as did the models that suggested lock-downs in the event of a virus from the Spring of 2020.
 Biden seems still of the belief that vaccines stop infection (he claimed this many times) and spread but, we know with certainty that this is not the case. [Even] the CDC admits it. The best guess at this point is that it can help in preventing hospitalization and death but, this experiment is still in its early stages. [The] relationship between cause and effect in human affairs is not as easy as throwing around two data sets and saying one caused the other. Most cases in the developed world, now, are occurring among the vaccinated…and we all know this because we have vaccinated friends who got Covid anyway. Some have died. We are not idiots, contrary to what the Biden administration believes, [nor] do any of us have all the knowledge and answers. [It] is precisely because science is uncertain that the decisions surrounding it need to be decentralized, depoliticized and open to correction rather than being imposed by top-down mandates.
 Biden’s order flies in the face of basic human freedoms and rights. There is no other way to put it. [It] is this fact that is the most prescient for the multitudes who are, right now, seething in anger that one man, who happens to hold power, can make health decisions for the whole population regardless of their perfectly rational judgements. When the needle filled with liquid is forced into the arms of people who either have natural immunities or do not fear exposure to the pathogen, it gets personal. [People] get really mad, especially after they are still forced into masks and denied other essential rights.
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Five pick.
Pulling myself out of 1978, I am moving into the 1980s. ~Vic
John Mellencamp‘s Scarecrow album was released on August 5, 1985, 25 days prior to my 19th birthday and six weeks before I started my sophomore year of college. God, what an album. This was Mellencamp’s version of Born In The USA (I own both albums). Roots rock/Heartland rock was the music in the background of my graduation from high school and subsequent foray into college. Minutes To Memories was not an official release from the album but, it managed to make it to #14 on the Top Rock Tracks for one week as a non-single album track. It spoke volumes to me…
“You are young and you are the future
So, suck it up, tough it out
Be the best you can.”
Written by Mellencamp and his childhoon friend George M. Green, it is the #4 track on the album and Mimi Mapes sang backing vocals. Scarecrow made it to #2 on the Billboard 200 chart the week of November 16, 1985 (coming underneath Born In The USA, twice) and stayed for a couple of weeks, stuck behind the Miami Vice Soundtrack.
“I wrote a song called [You’ve Got To] Stand For Something,” [Mellencamp] explains, “but, I never did say what you should stand for…except your own truth. That song was supposed to be funny, too and, I hope people got that. But, I think that’s the key to the whole LP…suggesting that each person come to grips with their own individual truth […] and try to like themselves a little bit more. Find out what you as a person are […] and don’t let the world drag you down. People should have respect for and believe in themselves.”
A deeply felt sense of responsibility and an equally motivating need to atone for past missteps seem to define Scarecrow. On the midtempo Minutes to Memories, Mellencamp tells the story of a young boy riding home to Indiana after a trip to the South. In the next seat on the bus is a seventy-seven-year-old retired steelworker lecturing the child on how to live, backing his advice with experience. “My family and friends are the best things I’ve known,” he instructs, and the child, a budding rebel, chuckles to himself at how out of touch the old dog is.
Easing into the final verse, Mellencamp hushes his band. In a voice just above a whisper, he suddenly shifts the tale from third to first person. He’s the kid on the Greyhound and, his inability to comprehend, let alone act on, the wisdom he was given then, still haunts him… “Now that I’m older I can see he was right.” [T]hen Mellencamp reveals that he’s telling this story to his own son. He knows he’s being silently scoffed at as surely as his travel companion was two decades earlier. Still, he accepts it and the band rocks out.
There is no official video of this song but, the below is one guy’s idea.
Generations of reference books once included this term, including the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, dated 1771 […]
James Murray, the famous editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, found that the original word was bycoket, which was indeed a form of headgear, a cap or headdress with a peak both in front and behind, whose name he thought derived from an Old French term for a small castle crowning a hill. He declared abacot to be a ghost word and wrote in an article in [T]he Athenaeum in February 1882:
“There is not, never was, such a word.”
His entry for abacot in the first edition of the OED read in its entirity [sic] “a spurious word found in many dictionaries, originating in a misprint of bycoket.” In the bycoket entry, he told the story:
Through a remarkable series of blunders and ignorant reproductions of error, this word appears in modern dictionaries as abacot. In Hall’s Chronicles a bicocket appears to have been misprinted abococket, which was copied by Grafton, altered by Holinshed to abococke, and finally “improved” by Abraham Fleming to abacot (perhaps through an intermediate abacoc) […]
One may instead argue that since the word has — albeit rarely — been used, then it exists and ought to be treated as such. There is, after all, no shortage of words that have been grossly altered through popular error. The revision of its entry in the Oxford English Dictionary in December 2011 takes this view […]
You want to know what an abacot/bycoket is? Think Robin Hood. ~Vic
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Four pick.
I nearly abandoned the rest of the 1970s for the 1980s until Quinn’s pick. Listening, again, to Tears for Fears reminded me of how much I love a saxophone in rock music. I think I might stay in 1978 for a little while. It was a good year, musically…for me, anyway. I can remember buying this 45 at a Woolworths in my hometown’s only mall. I also remember playing it on my little suitcase record player. I was eleven at the time. There’s not much that Gerry Rafferty put out that I didn’t like. ~Vic
A Scotsman (I am from Clan MacPherson), Rafferty’s first band was The Humblebums (founded in 1965), joining comic Billy Connolly and Tam Harvey in 1969. Harvey departed shortly afterwards and, in 1971, Rafferty recorded his first solo album when he and Connolly parted company. In 1972, he joined with Joe Egan to form Stealers Wheel, their biggest hit being Stuck In The Middle With You from their first, self-titled album. After disbanding in 1975, legal issues over Stealers Wheel prevented him from releasing new material for three years.
Baker Street, the second track from the album City To City, was released February 3, 1978 or, possibly, January 20, 1978, depending and entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of April 22, 1978. It made it to #2 the week of June 24, 1978 and stayed there, stuck behind Andy Gibb‘s Shadow Dancing, for six weeks (as a side note, my paternal aunt gave me the Shadow Dancing 8-track album for my twelfth birthday and it was shoved into a brand new stereo system from my parents):
“…Baker Street was a smash and it allegedly took some serious chart chicanery to keep it out of the #1 spot. [It] stalled out at #2 right as […] Gibb’s Shadow Dancing was in the midst of its seven-week run at #1. According to legend, the chart tabulators at Billboard had actually figured out that Baker Street had finally ascended to the #1 spot in one of those [seven] weeks and they’d called the new chart into the producers at Casey Kasem’s radio show, America’s Top 40 [sic]. But, because of a last-minute correction, Kasem had to re-record the end of that week’s show, putting Shadow Dancing back on top.
According to rumor, Bill Wardlow, Billboard chart director, made the call to keep Shadow Dancing at #1. Wardlow had supposedly gone to dinner with Andy Gibb’s managers and he’d mentioned that Baker Street had knocked Shadow Dancing out of the #1 spot. Gibb had been scheduled to perform at a Billboard-sponsored show in New York and his label threatened to pull him from the bill if Billboard didn’t keep Shadow Dancing on top…so that’s why Baker Street never got to #1. This is all pure speculation and hearsay but, it’s a good story. Record labels have been doing everything in their power to game the Billboard charts ever since those charts began and it certainly seems possible that Baker Street could’ve been a casualty of all that.
“While doing a bit of research the other day, I found myself poking around the edition of Billboard dated February 17, 1973 (PDF), as one does.
Here’s some of what’s inside:
Willis “Bill” Wardlow has been named associate publisher of Billboard. Over the next several years, Wardlow would be responsible for occasionally jiggering the Billboard charts to reward or punish record labels and to do favors for industry friends. As we learned a few years ago, his manipulations led to Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” spending only 12 hours at #1.”
40 Years Later: Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street ~ The Most Controversial No. 2 Song Ever? (DJ Rob Blog/04-17-2018)
Baker Street: The Mystery of Rock’s Greatest Sax Riff (The Atlantic/Adam Chandler/12-17-2015)
Scott Paton: Billboard Insider Comment (The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ Website/AT40 From The Inside/09-16-2013)
Smoking The Bible
Twenty years ago, today, the animated series The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy or just Billy & Mandy premiered on the Cartoon Network. Created by Maxwell Atoms, the story line follows a ditzy, kind-hearted boy and, a sinister, cynical girl, that have the Grim Reaper as a personal slave after he lost a wager in a limbo match. They use the Reaper’s supernatural powers to visit the underworld and other weird locations for twisted adventures. They encounter creatures such as Dracula, the Wolfman and the Bogeyman.
♥ Billy (Richard Steven Horvitz)
♥ Mandy (Grey DeLisle Griffin)
♥ Grim Reaper (Greg Eagles)
♥ Irwin (Vanessa Marshall)
♥ Harold (Richard Steven Horvitz)
♥ Gladys (Jennifer Hale)
♥ Dick (Phil LaMarr)
♥ Grandmama (Phil LaMarr)
♥ Mindy (Rachael MacFarlane)
♥ Sperg (Greg Eagles)
♥ Phil (Dee Bradley Baker)
♥ Claire (Vanessa Marshall)
♥ General Skarr (Armin Shimerman)
♥ Pud’n (Jane Carr)
♥ Hoss Delgado (Diedrich Bader)
♥ Jeff the Spider (Maxwell Atoms)
♥ Nergal (David Warner)
♥ Nergal, Jr. (Debi Derryberry)
♥ Bogeyman (Fred Willard)
♦ The spooky droning gibberish played in the end credits in a creepy voice is Maxwell Atoms talking backwards, saying: “No, no. This is the end of the show. You’re watching it backwards!”
♦ Originally, Maxwell Atoms wanted Grim to speak in a “British” accent and had Jonathan Harris in mind to voice him. When Greg Eagles auditioned, and spoke in a Jamaican accent, he was impressed and had him retooled.
♦ Tom Kenny was originally considered to voice Billy in the show, but he declined.