Monday, January 26, 2009

Five songs about other songs

Baby and the girls and I (and the dog) went to Houston via Beaumont this weekend for a baby shower. As usual on road trips, I listened to shitty country radio on the way. I can't help it; I'm drawn to shit like a dog is drawn to cat shit. Except I don't eat country music and then lick people. Anyway, we heard a real jewel called "All Summer Long." It's about listening to "Sweet Home Alabama" whilst experimenting with drugs and casual sex. It is truly awful. When I got home and looked it up, I found out that my respect for Kid Rock could actually be decreased, as it turns out he is responsible for this radio turd. If it was by say, Kenny Chesney, I would have thought "hey, that sucked, but at least he was trying something," but Kid Rock, as a rapper of sorts, should have known better than to waste a Warren Zevon sample on a song about a Lynyrd Skynyrd song. And it's getting played on country radio. The only thing that could make me happy about this is if I could find a YouTube link of a German calling himself Snake der Cowboy teaching me to line dance to the song. What's that you say?

2. "Summer Rain" by Johnny Rivers. I love Johnny Rivers, sincerely. I think he's awesome. This song, however, is pretty bad. It mentions how "everybody kept on playing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," which could be referring to the song or the album, I guess. Since "Summer Rain" itself sucks, I guess the quality of the song might be improved if we knew which song, specifically, everybody kept on playing. If it was "With a Little Help from my Friends," that must have been a terrible summer and therefore "Summer Rain" is bad. If it was "A Day in the Life," on the other hand, that would have been cool. However, listening to it again, I think the song is referring to the title track of Sgt. Pepper's, due to the little guitar riff that accompanies Johnny's mention of the song in question. C+, solid drums though.

UPDATE: I just noticed that there's a reference to "A Day in the Life" around 2:56 -- the swelling string crescendo.  Damn it, that's got to make it at least a B-.

3. "Hey Baby (They're Playing our Song)" by the Buckinghams. This one doesn't really count since it's not clearly about a specific song, but I wanted to mention it because how trippy would it be if you fell in love with your sweetheart while listening to this song? Your song would forever have to be "Hey Baby (They Playing our Song)," and that would be so weird, because your song would be, like, about having "a song," and whooaaa.

4. "Running Down a Dream" by Tom Petty. "I had the radio on, I was driving / The trees went by, me and Del were singing / Little Runaway, I was flying." When I was in high school somebody told me that every Tom Petty song had a drug reference in it. In this song, it was his mention of "flying." I have an alternate theory: every Tom Petty song has a Del Shannon reference in it. I'm pretty sure my theory is wrong.

5. "Tribute" by Tenacious D. As Jack Black and Kyle Gass make abundantly clear, this is not the greatest song in the world -- it is just a tribute to "Stairway to Heaven." The fact that they never mention Stairway by name makes this song the winner. Also, Pete from 30 Rock is in the video, playing a shiny demon.


  1. I didn't get far into the Kid Rock song, but isn't that Werewolves of London, not Sweet Home Alabama?

  2. I think you're a bit harsh on Johnny Rivers, but then again I don't really pay attention to lyrics. I thought you'd enjoy this review from allmusic:

    'One of Johnny Rivers' most endearing and lasting records, "Summer Rain" was written by ex-Mugwumps songwriter James Hendricks. Despite appearing to be an emotional love song, it encapsulates the mood of the time perfectly (even quoting "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"), and there is a feeling of loss and almost melancholy about the whole piece, coming at the end of the flower-power era. Musically, its delicious, folk-based chords are highlighted by a bittersweet melody and some excellent acoustic guitar riff. Went Top 20 in early 1968.'

    The Mugwumps?

    And that's Hal Blaine, one of the all-time great studio drummers: Jan & Dean, Phil Spector, Beach Boys, Elvis, Mamas & the Papas, 5th Dimension....

  3. Funny you should mention the Mugwumps; they're mentioned in another song I thought about including in this list, namely The Mamas and The Papas' Creeque Alley.

  4. Watch the video for Tribute again. I think you'll find that it's not Pete from 30 Rock, but in fact is Dave Ghrol from the Foo Fighters. He played drums on the D's first album.