Thursday, July 21, 2011

Weekend Listomania: Special Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding! Audio/Video Edition

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental under-the-counter-cultural ambassador Fah Lo Suee and I will be heading to fabulous Melbourne, Australia, ancestral home of Antipodean Asshat Rupert Murdoch. It is our plan to visit the grave of the Odious Aussie's father Keith, with the intention of consuming a case of Foster's and then pissing on the old man's headstone. Mean-spirited, I'll grant you, but certainly not as reprehensible as junior's minions hacking the cellphone of a murdered girl.

In any case, and because things will doubtless be fairly quiet around here until our return, here's a (hopefully) fun little project to help us all wile away the idle hours:

Best or Worst Parody or Pastiche By (Or Of) a Pop/Rock Artist, Song or Album!!!!

No arbitrary rules, except don't bother nominating Robbie Fulks' "Fountains of Wayne Hotline" as I've already pretty much flogged that one to death lately. And yes, we've done something like this before, but a) I needed an excuse to post that Peter Sellers record yesterday and b) it's been really too damned hot this week so cut me some slack.

And my totally top of my head Top Five is:

5. Stan Freberg -- Heartbreak Hotel

From 1957, still the funniest Elvis take-off ever. Freberg, of course, was a jazzbo hepster, and probably didn't much care for The King or for rock 'n' roll generally, which is the kind of thing that gets the knickers of snobs like Dave Marsh into a twist. Me, I was ten years old at the time and loved Elvis and thought this was hilarious anyway. Still do.

4. The Haircuts -- Raindrops Are Falling

On the other hand -- and I love Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner and Howie Morris -- this (and all the other Haircuts skits I've seen) strikes me as an outsider's parody that doesn't really work. Your mileage may vary, of course.

3. The Diamonds -- Little Darlin'

A remarkably faithful slightly over-the-top cover of an earlier r&b hit by Maurice Williams (of "Stay" fame). The irony is that The Diamonds, a bunch of (obviously white) Canadians who would have preferred to be singing jazz or standards, thought the song utterly ridiculous and considered what they were doing a satire. And yet the result remains one of the most genuinely exciting early rock records ever made.

2. The Heebeegeebees -- Meaningless Songs in Very High Voices

Words fail me. Incidentally, there used to be a priceless video of these guys doing this live, complete with scarves that stood straight out regardless of the wind at the time, on YouTube, but it seems to have been taken down, alas.

And the Numero Uno "uh, right" [said in a Bill Cosby voice] performance by a rock personage or personages simply has to be:

1. The Moody Blues -- Days of Future Passed

Cold-hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colours from our sight,
Red is grey and yellow white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion.
Pinprick holes in a colourless sky
Let insipid figures of light pass by.
The mighty light of ten thousand suns
Challenges infinity, and is soon gone.

Night-time: to some, a brief interlude,
To others the fear of solitude.
Brave Helios, wake up your steeds!
Brings the warmth the countryside needs
Seriously, for years I thought this was deliberately meant as a joke, until I discovered that the drummer wrote it. If you know what I mean.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?