WootBot


quality posts: 15 Private Messages WootBot

Staff


Happy Music Monday! Everybody's had that moment when they hear a strange lyric and say "Did I REALLY hear that right?" Well, today Scott's sorted out five of his very favorite "How did that actually get on the freakin' radio?" songs to share with you, and after the jump, he'll be expecting you to share with him! If you don't already get the idea, here's an example:

Live - Lightning Crashes

 

"The placenta falls to the floor." Let's just say that again, in case you didn't catch it: "The placenta falls to the floor." That having been said, you've gotta give it to Live. Lots of songs cover the heart, a few songs might mention the brain, maybe one or two touch on the stomach and lungs, but nobody else in rock history has EVER talked about placentas. Point to you, Ed Kowalczyk. Bet that song goes over real well with the folks on next fall's The Mark McGrath & Friends Cruise.

Four more, plus last week's Spotify playlist, comin' up inside.

Remember our new Spotify playlist is, even now, featuring a great selection from last week's Music Monday comments. The theme of the mix this time is Romeo/Love Songs and it'll set your heart all a-flutter. But before you start reminiscing...

Mr. Mister - Kyrie

 

Now, there's nothing really wrong with this sweeping mid-'80s ballad if you take it at face value. But the "Kyrie eleison" of the chorus is actually Greek, and part of the Christian mass. How many other times have Greek prayers reached the top of the charts?

Enigma - Sadeness

 

But Latin? Sure! The world of monastic chant got a huge boost when production team Enigma decided to take dance-pop in a new direction. Naturally, the video and song were banned here and there (Dancing monks? Blasphemy!) but Enigma kept on going, even turning to Tawainese chants to spice up later releases. We're not sure how they convinced executives to take a chance on their weird hybrid of new and old, but it surely paid off big.

Terry Jacks - Seasons In The Sun

 

Closely tied with Billy Don't Be A Hero, this hit's from a weird period of rock history that balanced "Always be radio friendly!" with "Always have a serious message!" Sadly, this story of a pre-death farewell isn't really anything but whiny and dispassionate. And as proof, I give you the original.

Richard Harris - MacArthur Park.

 

Seven minutes long. Recorded by a guy who wasn't known for being a rock star. Includes a metaphor about pressing pants that has to be mispronounced in order to make it fit. Actually has the singer mispronounce the song's title in the song itself. Tries to create drama about that thrice-damnned cake. So bad that the people who recorded Windy turned this song down. That's the juggernaut of wretched that is MacArthur Park, a song that could have been improved by literally picking random words out of a hat. The only good thing to come from this song is the SCTV parody. And I'll never ever know how MacArthur Park got any radio play at all … twice.

Now it's your turn to let us know what famous radio-friendly songs YOU can't understand. Go on, nothing's sacred. Take 'em all down a peg! Then feel free to visit our Turntable.fm room for the regular Music Monday enjoyment. Also, let us just remind you: some images come from the corresponding Wikipedia page and are here under fair use.



Quality Posts


dugjohnson


quality posts: 2 Private Messages dugjohnson

MacArthur Park was huge in part because of its length (see, size does matter). That was the same year that Classical Gas came out. LPs (get it? Long Play) were becoming more common and popular, rather than the 45s that had dominated radio and home play for the decade before. And it was hip to have all that classical stuff. Hell, Moody Blues happened then.
It made sense at the time, believe me...I was there.

optia


quality posts: 10 Private Messages optia

Gordon Lightfoot's "Edmund Fitzgerald"

I mean, seriously, song about a ship going down, sung like Rex Harrison (half of it's really talking), lines don't really scan to fit the meter or the melody. Ship fails, everybody dies--and this thing was a hit?

My mother played this thing over and over and over.

Slydon


quality posts: 18 Private Messages Slydon

Staff

dugjohnson wrote:It made sense at the time, believe me...I was there.



I like long songs too, but you will never ever EVER convince me "like a stripe-ed pair of pants" can be justified.

Hi, I'm one of the writers. My powers are limited but I'll do what I can.

mossygreen


quality posts: 75 Private Messages mossygreen
Slydon wrote:I like long songs too, but you will never ever EVER convince me "like a stripe-ed pair of pants" can be justified.



Acceptable use because of Daniel Striped Tiger.

CowboyDann


quality posts: 716 Private Messages CowboyDann

I'll come back later with something a little more creative and in lines with the topic but it always blew my mind that The Who managed to get a "who the F*** are you" on the radio with the song 'Who Are You?'

I'm pretty sure my local radio station censored it for a few years after janet jacksons nipslip but last time i heard it on the radio it was uncensored

mossygreen


quality posts: 75 Private Messages mossygreen

Everything I could think of was Steely Dan, because, obviously, so here is Hey Nineteen with lyrics. That song probably gets the most airplay as far their more obviously inappropriate content goes (I mean, you could conceivably not know that Kid Charlemagne is about a guy making illegal drugs, AND it doesn't get as much airplay as this song). Sure, it's about aging and the generation gap, but it's also explicitly about getting drunk and snorting cocaine with a teenager. And not in a particularly cool, celebratory way.

As far as less obvious songs go, I'll stake my claim on Get it On (Bang a Gong) because 1) every list needs more T. Rex, generally speaking, and 2) "a cloak full of eagles?" Is there another hit song that uses, well, any eagle-related metaphor at all, let alone having a cloak full of them? I mean, "hub cap diamond star halo" kind of makes sense, but that cloak full of eagles always knocks me out. It makes me so happy whenever I hear it.

Edited to add: yes, "Fly Like an Eagle" does have an eagle. But not a full cloak of them. Also, it is not a 3 minute song about sex.

Listen2Reason


quality posts: 4 Private Messages Listen2Reason
Slydon wrote:I like long songs too, but you will never ever EVER convince me "like a stripe-ed pair of pants" can be justified.



I think he was going for an archaic, almost Shakespearean sort of thing. You know, "stripèd".

Me, I love Macarthur Park. I love listening to it, and not even "ironically". It's just so earnest that it's fun. Or, maybe I just have a weakness for overelaborate orchestrations...

By the way, if you're going to mention parodies, you have to mention Jurassic Park.

sleepyheadkc


quality posts: 2 Private Messages sleepyheadkc

Terry Jacks should get a double-mention. The B-side of "Seasons in the Sun" was an awful novelty song called "Put The Bone In".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_pX1-IxRBY

Slydon


quality posts: 18 Private Messages Slydon

Staff

mossygreen wrote:Acceptable use because of Daniel Striped Tiger.



I REFUSE TO MAKE PANTS OUT OF DANIEL STRIPED TIGER

Hi, I'm one of the writers. My powers are limited but I'll do what I can.

mossygreen


quality posts: 75 Private Messages mossygreen
Slydon wrote:I REFUSE TO MAKE PANTS OUT OF DANIEL STRIPED TIGER



Be honest: would they fit?

daughterjudy


quality posts: 2 Private Messages daughterjudy

I've Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates, You've Got a Brand New Key?

Explain???

agingdragqueen


quality posts: 135 Private Messages agingdragqueen

Staff



Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind. That song is about DRUGS and OTHER STUFF, GASP.



Give it to You - Jordan Knight. I was about 12 and singing this song enthusiastically. I bet my mom felt really awkward about that.



All My Life - Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl has been more explicit in what it means in later years, but here's a hint.

pooflady


quality posts: 20 Private Messages pooflady
daughterjudy wrote:I've Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates, You've Got a Brand New Key?

Explain???



Might not be old enough to remember roller skates had keys to attach the skates to shoes.



The biggest lie that I tell myself daily..."I don't need to write that down, I'll remember it."

pooflady


quality posts: 20 Private Messages pooflady

In '71 there was a song named "Timothy." Banned by some stations but reached the Top 40. A little cannibalism.



The biggest lie that I tell myself daily..."I don't need to write that down, I'll remember it."

tjamil


quality posts: 26 Private Messages tjamil

How about something more recent:

Whistle by Flo Rida. Song was getting major airplay, kids were whistling along, and he isn't talking about blowing whistles.

cbrett42


quality posts: 8 Private Messages cbrett42

I love the song, but I have to nominate Sloop John B by The Beach Boys. I did a double take the first time I paid attention to the lyrics. Specifically: "The poor cook he caught the fits/ And threw away all my grits/ And then he took and he ate up all of my corn"

klynb


quality posts: 13 Private Messages klynb
daughterjudy wrote:I've Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates, You've Got a Brand New Key?

Explain???



Insert the key into the keyhole. They tried to avoid explicit sex talk in early 70s songs.

jai151


quality posts: 8 Private Messages jai151

I'm going to preface this by saying these are all some of my favorite songs/groups.

Okay, let's start with pretty much any song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I swear to god they write songs with a dartboard, a blindfold, and a rhyming dictionary.

Speaking of rhyming dictionaries, let's move on to Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction." I swear it was written on a bet to see just how many polysyllabic rhymes they could fit into a song. The man rhymed "coagulatin'" for god's sake!

And now we'll salute Alice in Chains and their ability to get "Man in the Box" played uncensored for a good 15 years before someone realized they were dropping the S-bomb. Twice.

But they lose out to Disturbed and "Stupefy," who managed to get the F-bomb dropped uncensored (and repeatedly) by screaming it unintelligibly.

LINKS:

RHCP ("Can't Stop," the most blatant example I could think of): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfOdWSiyWoc

Eve of Destruction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I98KeKV_F9g

AiC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAqZb52sgpU

Disturbed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVcY--XzeIc

tslothrop


quality posts: 12 Private Messages tslothrop

I suppose you had to be there, but MacArthur Park was and is a great song. Not for (actually, in spite of) the Richard Harris part, but for the Larry Knechtel parts. I decided to learn to play the piano because of this song (and that other great Knechtel riff, from some song about a bridge).

g2w7s


quality posts: 0 Private Messages g2w7s
Listen2Reason wrote:
By the way, if you're going to mention parodies, you have to mention Jurassic Park.



I'm glad someone else remembered this one! I never knew what the Weird Al version was spoofing until I read this list. Thank you, once again, Woot, for enriching my everyday knowledge.

Moueska


quality posts: 54 Private Messages Moueska

Nobody's mentioned "Thrift Shop" yet?!

I heard it uncensored the first three or four weeks it was on the air- and before that I saw it uncensored online. XD It's really a tame song about shopping for vintage when you get down to it.

Actually, while we're talking about catchy, incomprehensible songs that made it to the radio - how about "Blue Da Ba Dee" and "Gangnam Style".

CatCK


quality posts: 52 Private Messages CatCK
pooflady wrote:In '71 there was a song named "Timothy." Banned by some stations but reached the Top 40. A little cannibalism.



I love that song. As this video says, the record company tried to convince people that Timothy was their mule, but we all knew better.





LarryLars


quality posts: 67 Private Messages LarryLars
CowboyDann wrote:... but it always blew my mind that The Who managed to get a "who the F*** are you" on the radio with the song 'Who Are You?' ...



In the same vulgar vein, I give you:

"Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones ("you make a dead man come")

"Hot Legs" by Rod Stewart ("Hot legs now your p*ssy's whipped")

Ha, if I spell it out, the woot filter changes it as so:
("Hot legs now your pencil sharpener's whipped")

Since these lines are near the end of their respective songs, the radio censors would sometimes cut the song short so you won't hear those words.

!
Have you checked your Private Messages lately?

mossygreen


quality posts: 75 Private Messages mossygreen
LarryLars wrote:
Since these lines are near the end of their respective songs, the radio censors would sometimes cut the song short so you won't hear those words.



Ah, like the horrifyingly stupid line "You're making me sing for your sweet, sweet thing" at the end of "Hot Blooded," that is ALWAYS faded out/spoken over by radio DJs. Either horrifying or stupid would be fine, but both together is tooth-grindingly awful.

maxrfb


quality posts: 8 Private Messages maxrfb
strawhousepig wrote:Aerosmith Big Ten Inch Record (Lyrics) - YouTube

ZZ Top - Pearl Necklace - YouTube
ZZ Top - Tube Snake Boogie - YouTube

Not my bag, baby, but deserves to be mentioned. Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Relax (Don't Do It) - YouTube



And along with the "sneaking bad words onto the airwaves", ZZ Top's Legs snuck in a S*bomb near the end as well with "I want her, Snit I have to have her, the girl is all right"

wow. I actually bought a Robot Elvis.
What was I thinking?

knavekid


quality posts: 1 Private Messages knavekid

While I never heard this on the radio, it did catch me by surprise the first time I heard it. John Cougar Mellencamp's "Cry Baby", on "Nothin' Matters and What if it Did". The lyrics in this short song aren't hard to figure out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESpG68FsVyA