Sunday, June 29, 2014

Zager and Evans -- "Mr. Turnkey" (1970)

Mr. Turnkey, 
You ain't never seen nothing like this before
Mr. Turnkey, 
I nailed my wrist to your wall

The previous 2 or 3 lines featured "In the Year 2525," which was a huge hit for Zager and Evans in 1969.  Click here if you missed it.

After that song spent six weeks at #1 on the Billboard "Hot 100," pop music fans everywhere were shivering with antici- . . . -pation as they eagerly awaited the Nebraska duo's next single.

That next single was "Mr. Turnkey," the lyrics to which leave even a compulsive blabber like me speechless.

Let's go through "Mr. Turnkey" line by line, word by word -- anything less wouldn't do justice to this appalling little ditty.

Mr. Turnkey, 
It's ten p.m. in Wichita Falls 
August 16, 1969, and I'm in some bar
Mr. Turnkey, I need a woman 
And I'm ain't getting far
I never was the kind of man a woman looked for

Why Wichita Falls?  Beats me.  Zager and Evans met when they were students at Nebraska Wesleyan  University in Lincoln, NE.  It's possible one of them hailed from Wichita Falls -- which is in Texas -- but I doubt it.

Zager and Evans
And why August 16, 1969?  That date was the beginning of the last week "In the Year 2525" was #1 on the Billboard "Hot 100," but that's a pretty weak connection.  

August 16, 1969 (which was a Saturday) was also the second day of Woodstock, which doesn't seem like a particularly likely reason for Zager and Evan to mention the date in this song. 

(Here's the lineup of performers that day: Quill, Country Joe and the Fish, Santana, John Sebastian, the Keef Hartley Band, the Incredible String Band, Canned Heat, Mountain, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Sly & the Family Stone, the Who, and the Jefferson Airplane.)  

I should probably mention that "turnkey" is an old slang term for a jailer.  I have a feeling some of younger folks out there have never heard that term.

But Mr Turnkey, she looked at me with flirting eyes
Mr. Turnkey, she was lovelier than oil rights
Mr. Turnkey, she led me on, she led me on,
She knew she wasn't going to let me love her

Most of this verse is pretty straightforward -- except for that "lovelier than oil rights" line. 

Evans and Zager
Oil is kind of a big deal in Texas, and it's not uncommon for farmers and ranchers to sell the rights to extract the oil or other minerals from their property while keeping the land itself.  Oil rights are pretty sweet, but it's very odd to compare a woman's beauty to the ownership of oil rights.

Mr. Turnkey, there's been a rape in Wichita Falls
Mr. Turnkey, I'm sitting here crying in my coveralls
Mr. Turnkey, I don't want to be the man I am

The plot thickens.  The singer goes straight from his rape of the lovely young thing who allegedly led him on to his incarceration -- he skips the arrest, trial, and conviction.

Mr. Turnkey, I'm calling from block number four
Mr. Turnkey, you ain't never seen nothing 
Like this before
Mr. Turnkey, I nailed my wrist to your wall 
I'm going home

Whoa, Nelly . . . you did what?  Nailed your wrist to the wall of your prison cell?

That grisly image may have so discombobulated you that you didn't think to ask this obvious question: "Where the hell did the prisoner get a hammer and nails?"  But 2 or 3 lines did.

Mr. Turnkey, I'm calling from block number four
Mr. Turnkey, I ain't got the strength 
To call once more
Mr. Turnkey, I'm crying, hanging here dying
Tell her I'm sorry

Are we supposed to take from this that the singer is bleeding to death from the hole in his wrist he's made by nailing it to the wall?  Would that be enough to kill you?

Or are we to believe that the singer has done a full-scale self-crucifixion?  I hate to be a doubting Thomas, but how the hell can you do that?  Once you nail one wrist to the wall, wouldn't it be well-nigh impossible to nail the other one to the wall without help?

(I still want to know where the hell he got the hammer and nails.)

"In the Year 2525" might be the worst #1 hit single ever.  But "Mr. Turnkey" might be the worst song ever recorded PERIOD.  Not surprisingly, it did not chart in the United States.

If you don't believe me, here's "Mr. Turnkey" -- listen and decide for yourself:

So am I right, or am I right about that being the worst song ever?  (I'd love to see you top it.)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Zager and Evans -- "In the Year 2525" (1969)

In the year 2525
If man is still alive
If woman can survive

I don't mind the music of "In the Year 2525."  (The ascending key changes -- from Ab minor to A minor to Bb minor -- are a little corny, but don't really bother me.)  The arrangement is pretty good and the performance is perfectly competent. 

But "In the Year 2525" has WITHOUT A DOUBT the most ridiculous lyrics of any hit single I know.

Each of the song's eight verses begins by mentioning a year in the distant future  (2525, 3535, 4545, 5555, 6565, 7510, 8510, and 9595) and then predicting something that will happen in that year.

Here are a few sample verses, each of which is more ridiculous than the last:

In the year 4545
You ain't gonna need your teeth
Won't need your eyes
You won't find a thing to chew
Nobody's gonna look at you

(Saying that you won't need teeth because there's nothing to chew makes sense . . . sort of.  But following up "Won't need your eyes" with "Nobody's gonna look at you" doesn't make sense.  You may need eyes to look at someone else -- but you don't need eyes to be looked at by someone else.)

Zager and Evans
In the year 5555
Your arms hangin' limp
At your sides
Your legs got nothing to do
Some machine's doing that for you

(Doing what, exactly?  Walking?  Dancing?  Riding a bike?  Playing the drums?  All of the above?)

In the year 6565
Ain't gonna need no husband
Won't need no wife
You'll pick your son, pick your daughter too
From the bottom of a long glass tube

(It's all rather Brave New World-ish, isn't it?)

If you used the lyrics of this song as the inspiration for a science-fiction novel, it would be the lamest science-fiction novel ever.

But somehow, that didn't stop "In the Year 2525" from becoming the #1 song in the U.S. for six weeks in the summer of 1969.  (It was preceded by Henry Mancini's "Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet" and succeeded by the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women," which may be the two most dissimilar #1 hits in history.)

For what it's worth, "In the Year 2525" was the #1 song in the U.S. when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon on July 20, 1969.  It sold over four million in the year after its release.

Rick Evans originally wrote the song in 1964.  He and his fellow Nebraskan, Denny Zager, recorded it in 1968.  The full name of the song is actually "In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)."  Exordium means beginning, and terminus means end.

Zager and Evans are perhaps the ultimate one-hit wonders.  After the huge success of "In the Year 2525," they never had another chart single.

That's not surprising, given that their follow-up to "In the Year 2525" was a single titled "Mr. Turnkey."  That song was such a stinker that I can't resist featuring it in the next 2 or 3 lines.

Today, Denny Zager is a custom guitar maker -- click here to learn about his "EZ-Play" guitars.

Here's a brief video featuring a testimonial from a satisfied Denny Zager customer:

I'm not sure how Rick Evans is earning his bread these days, but he seems to be spending a fair part of his time monitoring the Internet and correcting all the misinformation about "In the Year 2525" that's out there.

For example, one of the videos of that song that's on YouTube was posted by Zager, who slapped a graphic of the URL for his website ( on it.  Click here to see what I mean.

Rick Evans wants you and me to know that he -- not Denny Zager -- wrote "In the Year 2525":

The Zagers desecrate everything their name is associated with, especially this song.  To wit: their unauthorized logo across the bottom of this video. Their guitars?  Buy a banjo. "In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) was written exclusively, music & lyrics, and is owned by Richard (Rick) S. Evans, U.S. ©1968 with renewal ©1996.  On the video: Evans (goatee) sings lead, Zager sings a four-word harmony part.  That is all.  Copyright infringement in advertising.

So don't hold your breath waiting for a Zager and Evans reunion tour.  I don't expect there to be one until at least the year 2525.  Or when hell freezes over.  (Whichever comes first.)

Here's "In the Year 2525."  You'll never see less convincing lip-synching.

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Yes -- "Long Distance Runaround" (1971)

Did we really tell lies?
Letting in the sunshine
Did we really count to one hundred?

"I've suffered the tortures of the damned, sir -- the tortures of the damned."  

Those words are uttered by Alex -- the narrator and anti-hero of the 1971 film, Clockwork Orange -- after a government program intended to cure him of his violent tendencies goes very, very wrong.  Alex is attempting to portray himself as a victim rather than the sociopathic criminal that he is.

Alex suffers the tortures of the damned
I'm not a sociopathic criminal.  I'm not even an anti-hero, as much as I would like to be one.  (One of my favorite memories is of a female friend of mine seeing a photo of me taken late in my senior year of college -- complete with shoulder-length hair, horseshoe mustache, and thousand-yard stare -- and saying, "You looked dangerous!")

But I did suffer the tortures of the damned, sir, when I was trying to get back home last month from my annual Memorial Day trip to Cape Cod.

The day after Memorial Day -- the last of my extended weekend on the Cape -- started off innocently enough.  You regular readers of 2 or 3 lines know that I hopped in my hurting Chevrolet Sonic rental car (shout-out to the good people at Hertz -- thanks SO much, folks!), fired up the satellite radio, and drove to Falmouth, MA, for one final vacation bike ride.

The Cowsills
The proprietor of the bike store I patronized -- who was listening to the same channel on his satellite radio -- turned out to be a wounded Vietnam vet who had attended the Newport Folk Festival with his girlfriend (who was reputed to be a Providence gangster's daughter) and was good friends in high school with Billy Cowsill, the senior male member of the great pop group, the Cowsills.

I rented a bike, rode most of the length of the Shining Sea Bikeway (which ends in Woods Hole), and then returned to the bike store.  I hopped back in my car, left Cape Cod via the Bourne Bridge, and set my course for the Providence airport, where I would board an 8:20 pm flight to the Baltimore-Washington International airport.  If all went well, I would arrive at my home around 11:00 pm.

The Bourne Bridge
But all did NOT go well, boys and girls.  All did not go well AT ALL.

Shortly after crossing the bridge, my airline sent me a text to tell me that my flight had been delayed by two hours.  That meant arriving home around 1:00 am.  That's not what I would have chosen, but I'm sort of a night owl -- so I could live with it.

I stopped at Gene's Famous Seafood in Fairhaven, MA, my favorite place to stop for a farewell dinner after my Memorial Day jaunts to the Cape.

Gene's did not disappoint.  The whole friend clams were as delicious as ever.  And the Narragansett was ice-cold:

The Narragansett Brewing Company was founded in 1890 in Cranston, RI.  It's flagship Narragansett lager was for many years the best-selling beer in New England.  

Narragansett was purchased by the Falstaff Brewing Company in 1965.  (The government attacked the merger as anticompetitive in one of the silliest antitrust cases ever prosecuted, but which was not finally resolved in Falstaff's favor until 1974.)  

Both brands fell on hard times after they merged.  The Narragansett brewery was closed in 1981, and the last of Falstaff's ten regional breweries was shuttered in 1990.

Pabst Brewing licensed the Falstaff brand, but discontinued production after sales fell to only 1468 barrels in 2004.  (Total beer production in the U.S. in 2012 was 196 million barrels.)

But Narragansett has made something of a comeback.  The brand was bought in 2005 by a group of Rhode Island investors, and sales have been on the upswing ever since.  The readers of give it a higher rating than its biggest competitors (e.g., Budweiser, Miller, Coors, and Pabst Blue Ribbon).

Today, Narragansett promotes its lager as "The Official Beer of the Clam":

That's a cute attempt to tie Narragansett to a famous local food, but I think they've taken things a bit far:

Note the slogan on the Narragansett can:

I think "Made on honor, sold on merit" is a relatively new slogan -- I don't see any evidence of it in the photos of older Narragansett cans and bottles I've found online.  (If any of you knows better, please let me know.)

After quaffing my Narragansett, I hit the road again.  Given the two-hour delay in my flight's scheduled departure, there seemed to be no particular reason to hurry to Providence.

Where the hell is my airplane?
GUESS AGAIN!  When I checked in for my flight, I learned that the previous Providence-Baltimore flight had been delayed sufficiently that I could have made it if I had gotten to the airport a little earlier.  (Live and learn, I guess.)

The Providence airport was almost deserted when I arrived at 7:30 pm.  There wasn't a single restaurant or bar still open.  And the only newsstand/snack store that was open was about to close.

I bought a Dr. Pepper and a Snickers bar and settled down for a long summer's wait:

Which was about to become longer.  My airline pushed back my departure time another two hours.  We were now scheduled to depart at 12:20 am.  Good grief, Charlie Brown!

Good ol' Southwest Airlines showed what a big heart it has by rolling out the snacked and soft drinks for all us weary travelers.  I snagged a free ginger ale (ice included!) and some Ritz peanut-butter crackers and made myself comfortable.

Not as comfortable as some of my fellow passengers made themselves:

By the time midnight rolled around, the departure lounge was only sparsely occupied -- most of the passengers who lived in Providence had gone home hours earlier, preferring to sleep in their own beds than to arrive in Baltimore at 1:30 am (which was far too late to connect to their final destination).

After collecting my luggage and climbing aboard the bus that took me to my parking garage, I arrived home around 3:00 am.  Ugh.

Here's "Long Distance Runaround," which was released in 1971 on Fragile, the fourth studio album by Yes.  I heard this album a lot in college -- along with Days of Future Passed by the Moody Blues, King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King, and Emerson Lake & Palmer's eponymous debut album.  It was the heyday of progressive rock, much of which was unadulterated crap . . . but I'm a sentimental guy, and often succumb to nostalgia for the music of my youth.

By the way, note that the vocals and guitars in this song are playing in common 4/4 time, while the drummer is accenting every fifth beat.  

Here's "Long Distance Runaround" -- plus the succeeding track from Fragile, "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus), an instrumental that follows "Long Distance Runaround" without a break.  (Schindler's fish -- the correct scientific name is Schindleria praematura -- is a species native to the southern Pacific Ocean.  It is only about an inch long, and is one of the smaller vertebrates in the animal kingdom.)

Click below to buy "Long Distance Runaround" from Amazon: 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Canned Heat -- "On the Road Again"

I didn't have no fairo
Not even no place to go

Those lyrics from Canned Heat's "On the Road Again" pretty much sum up the life of a solitary man on a solitary bike ride, who then writes about that solitary bike ride on his solitary blog.

(If that doesn't make any sense to you, click here to read the previous 2 or 3 lines.  Then it will make at least a teensy-weensy bit of sense to you.  Which is better than making no sense at all . . . right?)

I bet "fairo" is a word you haven't seen before.  Am I right?  Or am I right?

Legendary Delta blues singer Tommy Johnson
"Fairo" (which is sometimes spelled "faro") is a word that appears in a number of old blues songs -- including Delta blues legend Tommy Johnson's "Cool Drink of Water Blues," which he recorded in 1928.  (By the way, Canned Heat took its name from Johnson's "Canned Heat Blues.")  

According to the 1982 tome, Big Road Blues: Tradition and Creativity in Folk Blues, which was written by musicologist David Evans, "fairo" means "sweetheart."  

The etymology of the word is uncertain.  Evans speculates that it might be derived from "fair," or from the Scottish word fere (which means "mate" or "consort"), or from "farrow," which is a term for a young pig -- "as in the expression 'pigmeat' for a young woman." 

(I don't know about you, but I've never called a young woman "pigmeat."  God knows I've had enough trouble over the years attracting young women without referring to them as "pigmeat.")

"On the Road Again" popped up on the Sirius XM radio of my Chevrolet Sonic rental car while I was on Cape Cod last month.

The Shining Sea Bikeway (Falmouth, MA)
It was the day after Memorial Day, and I was on the road again myself.  I was heading to Falmouth to rent a bike and ride the ten-mile-long Shining Sea Bikeway, which runs from North Falmouth to Woods Hole -- which is the departure point for the Steamship Authority's Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket ferries:

Ferry leaving Woods Hole
The Shining Sea Bikeway has plenty of twists and turns to challenge even the most experienced cyclist:

You see some interesting sights along the trail, like this array of brightly-colored Adirondack chairs:

There were several Memorial Day tributes along the trail:

I saw this "War Dog Memorial" near the northern end of the bike trail:

The tribute to military dogs was only part of a much larger artistic display.  Here are photos of a few details of that display, the purpose of which eluded me:

I'm hopeful that some train aficionado will leave a comment explaining the function of this artifact, which was left behind when the old railroad right-of-way was converted to a bike trail:

"On the Road Again" was released in 1968 on the Boogie With Canned Heat album.  It went all the way to #16 on the Billboard "Hot 100."  

I can't imagine a song like this one climbing that high on the charts today.  It's a very odd song -- more performance art than blues record.

I love the late Alan Wilson's falsetto singing, but I'm sure it annoys the hell out of a lot of people.

Here's a video featuring Canned Heat lip-synching to an abbreviated version of "On the Road Again":

Here's the album version of "On the Road Again":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Neil Diamond -- "Solitary Man" (1966)

I'll be what I am
A solitary man

When I was young -- which was a long, long time ago -- I had this fantasy about living a solitary life that went something like this:

I'd bum a ride, and then I'd bum another one, and another one, and another one, and in a few days I'd be somewhere out west where it was very pretty and sunny and where nobody'd know me and I'd get a job.  I figured I could get a job at a filling station somewhere, putting gas and oil in people's cars.  I didn't care what kind of a job it was, though.  Just so people didn't know me and I didn't know anybody.  

I'd build a little cabin with the money I made and live there for the rest of my life.  I'd build it right near the woods, but not right in them, because I'd want it to be sunny all the time.  I'd cook all my own food.

If you've read the late J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye recently, you'll recognize that I stole that fantasy from the book's protagonist, Holden Caulfield.

Caulfield spends a lot of time complaining about phonies.  As I recall, his character really resonated with me and my friends when we read the book in high school.  But when I read Catcher in the Rye recently, Salinger struck me as being as big a phony as anyone in his book.

I think we're supposed to feel sympathetic toward Caulfield because a lot of the students and teachers and headmasters at the various boarding schools he's attended are phonies, and because Caulfield is devoted to his little sister, cherishes the memories of his dead little brother, and wants his older brother to stop writing movie scripts in Hollywood and devote himself to writing real literature -- like The Great Gatsby and Return of the Native and Romeo and Juliet, which Caulfield much prefers to dumb movies.

J. D. Salinger
But Caulfield just bored me, to tell the truth.  Also, he struck me as a major f*ck-up.  I have no patience for f*ck-ups.  Holden Caulfield needed to get his sh*t together and apply himself instead of being a tiresome little whiner wearing a stupid hunting cap.

Catcher in the Rye is a pretty easy read.  It's not like Richard Fariña's Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me, another novel that was a great favorite of self-styled intellectuals like me back in the sixties.

I tried to re-read Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me a couple of years ago and had to quit about halfway through -- it was an incoherent mess.  

I'm planning to re-read Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, which I thought it was the greatest novel ever written when I read it in college.  But I have a feeling I'm going to find it even more unreadable.

Holden Caulfield's stupid cap
Catcher in the Rye is not unreadable -- not at all.  It's just pointless and very dated.  I couldn't work up much interest in Caulfield's plight.  Get over yourself, Holden.

Like Holden Caulfield, I am something of a solitary man -- especially when I'm riding my bike on Cape Cod.

How can you tell I'm a solitary man at heart?  Just look at the pictures I post.

There are pictures of the buildings I see on my rides:

Brooks Academy (Harwich, MA)
There are pictures of the trails I ride on:

Cape Cod Rail Trail (Wellfleet, MA)
There are pictures of the lakes and ponds I ride by, and even pictures of the bikes I ride:

Seymour Pond (Brewster, MA)
But there are no people in any of the pictures, are there?

Neil Diamond was a songwriter before he was a singer-songwriter.  "Solitary Man" was his first hit as a recording artist.  It stalled out at #55 on the Billboard "Hot 100" when it was first released in 1966.  It did better when it was re-released in 1970, climbing to #21.  

Here's "Solitary Man":

Click below to buy this song from Amazon:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Freddie and the Dreamers -- "Do the Freddie" (1965)

It’s the thing to do 
Kids will envy you
So do the Freddie

In an earlier 2 or 3 lines, I told you about making a reservation with Hertz for a car to drive during my annual Memorial Day visit to Cape Cod and ending up with a Chevrolet Sonic.  (You can click here if you missed that post.)

I have feeling I was given a Sonic to punish me for saying "No thanks" when the guy at the Hertz counter in the Providence airport offered to upgrade me to a Volvo for only $15 extra per day.

Chevrolet Sonic
You might say that Chevrolet Sonic was not my favorite rental car of all time.   Actually, THAT'S SOMETHING OF AN UNDERSTATEMENT.  It's what you might call hypobole, which is the opposite of hyperbole . . . like hypotension is the opposite of hypertension.  (I've never seen the word "hypobole" in print.  As far as I know, I just made it up -- although it's such a perfect word that I bet someone else made it up before I did.)     

But that humble little Chevrolet Sonic did have one feature that almost made up for all that it lacked.  To wit, it had a Sirius XM satellite radio.  (To quote H.M.S. Pinafore -- not to mention The Ren & Stimpy Show -- "Oh joy!  Oh rapture unforeseen!")

Imagine my surprise when I was tooling down Route 6A one morning on the way to my favorite bike rental store, minding my own business, and this song pops up on the '60s on 6 channel:

As you can see, the satellite radio in my dog of a rental car wasn't fancy enough to display all the song-related information that the good folks at Sirius XM beamed down from one of their nine geosynchronous satellites, some of which are geostationary to boot (which is not exactly the same thing as geosynchronous, but is close enough for government work).

The radio displayed songs with short names performed by groups with short names in their entirety:

Sometimes the display abbreviated the song title by a only a letter or two, which means you have a good chance of figuring out the complete title even if you're unfamiliar with the record:

Other times, one or more entire words was lopped off:

That wasn't a big problem for famous songs with distinctive titles, like "Mother's Little Helper."

This one isn't much of a challenge either:

On occasion the truncated display caused even a pop-music expert like yours truly to scratch yours truly's wise old head -- at least for a moment:

Be honest -- could you identify that song without having to resort to a little quick Googling?

And do you know the complete title of this Clash song?

(If you correctly guessed "The Magnificent Seven," I bet you did so only because you know the classic Western movie and figured you might as well give it a shot.)  

By the way, if you're wondering how I took these pictures while driving alone in my rental car, how do you know I wasn't accompanied by one of the many 2 or 3 lines go-fers I keep around for just such an occasion?  And how do you know I didn't pull into a parking lot and come to a complete stop before taking these photos?  

And even if I didn't, don't I get any credit for not taking these pictures while driving much faster than the posted speed limit and all liquored up?

If you're not une femme (or un homme) d'un certain âge, you probably looked at the first photo above and thought that "Do the Freddie" was recorded by Freddie and the Doctor.

Freddie Garrity
But as someone who was a teenager in the sixties, I vividly remember Freddie and the Dreamers, a briefly popular "British Invasion" group whose "I'm Telling You Now" was a #1 hit in the U.S. in the spring of 1965.

I also vividly remember the group's second-biggest hit, "Do the Freddie."  The group lead singer, the 5-foot-3-inch-tall Freddie Garrity, performed the dance with gusto when the group performed the song in concert or on television.

I can assert with no fear of contradiction that the Freddie was the most spastic and retarded dance of the sixties, and that's no hyperbole:

I blush to admit that I danced the Freddie on more than one occasion when I was 13 years old or thereabouts.  

Thankfully, there is no photographic evidence of me doing the Freddie, and very little photographic evidence of me as a 13-year-old, which is just as well.  Sooner or later, all the people who have personal knowledge of how I looked as a 13-year-old will either die or lose their minds, and that day can't come too soon to satisfy me.  (I hope my friends from junior high don't take that statement personally.)

I have a feeling I danced the Freddie because I was terribly self-conscious when it came to dancing (also just plain terrible), and doing a farcical dance like the Freddie that no one took seriously enabled me to avoid attempting and failing to execute a real dance.

Lester Bangs
The famous rock critic Lester Bangs had this to say about Freddie and the Dreamers:

Freddie and the Dreamers [had] no masterpiece but a plentitude [sic] of talentless idiocy and enough persistence to get four albums and one film soundtrack released. . . . Freddie and the Dreamers represented a triumph of rock as cretinous swill, and as such should be not only respected, but given their place in history.

(Thumper, the delightful rabbit character in the Disney classic, Bambi, lived by this maxim: "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all."  Lester Bangs's mommy must not have taken him to see Bambi when he was a child.)

The producer who signed Freddie and the Dreamers to the Capitol label was Dave Dexter, Jr., who had signed Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and many other well-known artists to that label.

Capitol had the right of first refusal to release in the U.S. any records that EMI released in the UK, but Dexter turned down the first four Beatles singles that were offered to Capitol.

Record producer Dave Dexter, Jr. 
Dexter also took a pass on records by the Dave Clark Five, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and the Yardbirds -- but jumped on the chance to release Freddie and the Dreamers' first American singles.

Freddie Garrity was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2001, and died some five years later.  My daughter Sarah's first job as an adult was with the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, a nonprofit group that supports and advocates on behalf of pulmonary hypertension sufferers.  

Pulmonary hypertension -- high blood pressure in the lungs -- is a terrible disease.  Progress is being made in the treatment of the disease, but many people with pulmonary hypertension live only a few years. 

Here's "Do the Freddie":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon: