March 12, 2007

Burt Young is spamming me!

A second comment proves it. [Previous incident: here.] Did you know Burt Young's first film role was "Gimpy, the hunchback" in "Carnival of Blood"? What's a guy like that doing promoting his website by spamming blogs?

ADDED: Can I get a jangly, wistful guitarpop song called "Burt Young Is Spamming Me"? Like this.

Don't you like pop songs with the names of celebrities in the titles? I do, but, racking my brain at 5 a.m. CDT, the only one I can think of -- what does this say about me? -- is "Timothy Leary's Dead."
Timothy Leary's dead.
No, no, no, no, He's outside looking in.
Timothy Leary's dead.
No, no, no, no, He's outside looking in.
He'll fly his astral plane,
Takes you trips around the bay,
Brings you back the same day,
Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary.
Timothy Leary was not dead until long after that song came out. And actually, that song is called "Legends of a Mind." Who knew? So my big, clever list of pop songs with the names of celebrities in the title has a grand total of 0 items on it. Is it too much to ask -- at 5:29 a.m. CDT -- that you contribute some items for the list? Because with 0 or even with 1, it's not really a list, is it?

And don't get suckered into thinking about: 1. that sound-of-one-hand-clapping question what is a list with 0 items, 2. the pedantic puzzler whether it's "rack your brain" or "wrack your brain," and 3. the legal issue of whether the celebrity's name tends to get purged from the title to fend off litigation.

Give me some pop song titles that have names of celebrities. And don't give me ones with historical (or fictional) characters. When I say "celebrity," I don't mean King Arthur. And I really don't mean Jesus. (We could have a long list of Jesus.) I want things like -- okay, I finally thought of one -- "Bette Davis Eyes."

42 comments:

LutherM said...

Some may remember
"I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night" - a lot of people sang it, including Joan Baez
Or Bob Dylan's "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll"

the_W said...

"Diggin' on James Brown" by Tower of Power
"Michael Jackson" by Fatboy Slim (do techno songs count?)
"My Baby's in Love With Eddie Vedder" by Weird Al

(Do songs by parody bands count? Because then you can also have "Celine Dion" by The Arrogant Worms, although I suppose that one is open to scrutiny when it comes to the definition of "pop.")

Gahrie said...

"Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two Headed Love Child"

"Elvis Is Everywhere"

"Don Henley Must Die"

"Bring Me the Head of David Geffen"

"Richard Petty"

"Orenthal James (Was A Mighty Bad Man)"

All by Mojo Nixon

bill said...

I recalled about half of these and for the rest I scanned my iTunes playlist

Bonnie and Clde, Eminem
Axl Rose is Love, Mary's Danish
Ballad of Davey Crockett, The Gaping Maw of Walt Disney
The Ballad of John and Yoko, John Lennon
Clint Eastwood(Phi Life Cypher Version), Gorillaz
Daniel Ortega, The Scofflaws
Dear Michaelangelo, Sheila E.
Donald Trump (The Black Version), The Time
Old Mother Reagan, Violent Femmes
Elvis Has Left the Building, John Wesley Harding
Frank Sinatra, Cake
Free Nelson Mandela, The Specials
Hey Jack Kerouac, 10,000 Maniacs
It's Margaret Cho, Skankin Pickle
Nixon's Spirit, Paul Oekenfold
Pablo Picasso, Burning Sensations
Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War, Paul Simon
Rosa Parks, OutKast
Werner von Braun, Tom Lehrer
Why Won't Jesse Helms Just Hurry Up and Die?, MC Hawking
Winona Ryder, Unrest


Bonus selection: Rufus was a Tit Man, Loudon Wainwright III (Not a celebrity at the time, but I'd say Rufus is now more famous than his father)

Ron said...

"James Brown is Dead", LA Style (long before JB passed away)

"Joe Stalin's Cadillac", Camper Van Beethoven

Ann Althouse said...

1. Hattie Carroll was not a celebrity. She was a maid.

2. The mention of Picasso reminds me of the Paul McCartney song "Picasso's Last Words." ("Drink to me, drink to my health. You know I can't drink anymore.")

3. I saw Loudon Wainwright sing "Rufus Is a Tit Man" in concert before it was out on any album. The punchline of the song stunned us at the time. (He describes the baby Rufus nursing on his mother's breast, and dad eventually gets the idea of himself nursing on the other breast.) We were big Loudon Wainwright fans back in the day. I'm sure we must have seen him at The Ark in Ann Arbor.

4. These days, I've been listening to Rufus Wainwright actually rather obsessively. I've got a CD in the car, and for the last two weeks, on my little drive to work, I listen almost exclusively to "Oh What a World" and "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" (occasionally branching out into "Greek Song" and "Poses"). I mean, if I seem crazier than usual, it may be the bizarre excess of "Oh What a World" and "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk." So, please be kind if I'm a mess...

LutherM said...

Events make celebrities. Hattie Carroll became a celebrity in Baltimore when she was killed by William Zanzinger. Dylan gave her nationwide publicity. Of course, she DID have to be killed to be noticed at all. So in a sense, Ann, you're correct;
"Hattie Carroll was a maid of the kitchen.
She was fifty-one years old and gave birth to ten children
Who carried the dishes and took out the garbage
And never sat once at the head of the table
And didn't even talk to the people at the table
Who just cleaned up all the food from the table
And emptied the ashtrays on a whole other level,
Got killed by a blow, lay slain by a cane
That sailed through the air and came down through the room,
Doomed and determined to destroy all the gentle.
And she never done nothing to William Zanzinger.
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Take the rag away from your face.
Now ain't the time for your tears."

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd said...

Rene and Georgette Magritte with their dog, After the War.

C'mere, After the War! Sit! Fetch!

Woof!

Mary said...

BauHaus:
Bela Lugosi's Dead (1979)

"The bats have left the bell tower
The victims have been bled
Red velvet lines the black box
Bela Lugosi's dead."

FatOllie said...

Bob Dylan's 300 Game by Emily Kaitz

http://cdbaby.com/cd/kaitz95

FatOllie said...

Picasso? How about Picasso's Mandolin" by by Guy Clark

Bissage said...

I can’t stand Sheryl Crow and I never heard of Steve McQueen before, but I was listening to the radio driving into work this morning and a D.J. mentioned the song by title so I feel like I’m kind of obligated to post it here.

(Hey, at least I’m not hearing disembodied voices in my head telling me to post comments at Althouse. No, wait. Arrrrgh!!!)

bill said...

3. I saw Loudon Wainwright sing "Rufus Is a Tit Man" in concert before it was out on any album. The punchline of the song stunned us at the time. (He describes the baby Rufus nursing on his mother's breast, and dad eventually gets the idea of himself nursing on the other breast.) We were big Loudon Wainwright fans back in the day. I'm sure we must have seen him at The Ark in Ann Arbor.

Of course the punchline now is that Rufus most decidely is not a tit man. Have you listened to his sister, Martha Wainwright? Another remarkable talent.

Excuse the Bert Youngesque self-linking, but here's an incomplete musical history of Loudon's troubled history as a father: Some people make scrapbooks, others write songs.

Mark the Pundit said...

Can we add Burt Young as being someone who has been sucked into the Althouse Vortex?

Gerry said...

The Eagles: "James Dean"
Blue Oyster Cult: "Joan Crawford Has Risen From The Grave"

bill said...

By "Bert" I mean "Burt." Bert Young is long dead, doesn't need a webpage, and is no longer king of the forest.

Peter Palladas said...

Timothy Leary's dead.

Is he? Jeez. Hot damn man, why wasn't I told?!

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Hawks said...

My favorite celebrity pop song is the Barenaked Ladies' "Brian Wilson." Here's the chorus:

"Lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did"
"Well I'm lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did."

Hazy Dave said...

The Replacements' song "Alex Chilton" came to mind... It's a great jangly pop tune, but Alex is probably a few notches shy of celebrityhood among the general populace. Robyn Hitchcock's "I Saw Nick Drake" has, perhaps, the same shortcoming.

Jonathan Richman wrote and performed "Pablo Picasso" with the Modern Lovers, and his producer John Cale covered it on his Helen Of Troy album. (Burning Sensations' version is on the Repo Man soundtrack.)

Does "Don't Bogart That Joint" count? "The Pope Smokes Dope"?

They Might Be Giants have a flair for historical biographies like "Meet James Ensor" and "James K. Polk", certainly not celebutards in the Paris Hilton mode, so I'm clearly way off the path and should stop wasting pixels now.

ponzo said...

"Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle", Nirvana

reader_iam said...

"Steve McQueen" is currently one of my son's favorite songs. I kid you not--sings it at the top of his lungs at the drop of a hat. (I love stringing together those two cliches, but it works better out loud.)

Everyone's gotten most of songs I thought of, but not this one:

"Free John Gotti"--the Smithereens

I think Gotti did become a celebrity of sorts, so I think it qualifies.

Also, Lou Reed was the guest on this album, which is OT with regard to this post, but cool nonetheless.

reader_iam said...

Bissage: Jeez, you just made me feel positively ancient.

Drew W said...

Something tells me that I'm the only person on this comment thread who can claim to have been in the audience to see both Bauhaus doing "Bela Lugosi's Dead" and Barenaked Ladies doing "Brian Wilson." (In separate concerts, needless to say.) And of course, Barenaked Ladies gained a lot of attention with their song "Be My Yoko Ono."

I searched my memory for a Zappa song that used the full name of a real person, but other than the easy choices -- songs that attacked politicians/televangelists or made Dada references like "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" -- I could only think of one.

When Zappa played at the soon-to-be-shuttered Fillmore East in 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono came onstage during the encore for an informal "jam" with the Mothers. Zappa and Lennon agreed to joint ownership of the concert tapes, to release as each saw fit. Lennon and Ono released the jam as the fourth side of 1972 album Some Time In New York City. While some songs were more recognizably songs than others, the jam concluded with the band comping along as Yoko produced her customary paint-peeling yelps. Lennon and Ono titled the cut "Au," which was a syllable that Ono seemed to be warbling endlessly on the track. (It was the kind of thing FZ truly hated -- unmusical noodling dressed up as avant-garde brilliance.) When Zappa finally released the tapes 20 years later on his album Playground Psychotics, he'd renamed "Au" as the far more apt "A Small Eternity With Yoko Ono." (Poor Yoko -- not much for good music, but she did contribute a wealth of song titles.)

Wichita, Kansas' greatest indie rock band, The Embarrassment, had a delightful song called "Elizabeth Montgomery's Face," although I understand there was some legal unpleasantness about their unauthorized use of her name, so on subsequent releases the song became "E.M.'s Face."

The late '70s British band Television Personalities recorded a single called "I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives." (After Barrett left Pink Floyd in 1968, he suffered from numerous drug/mental problems and moved in with mother.) When Barrett died last year, John Pareles made reference to the song in his NY Times obit.

I had never heard of that Sheryl Crow song, but Steve McQueen was the second album by oddball British pop band Prefab Sprout. Problems with the actor's estate forced them to release the album under a different name in the U.S. (But that album did include a song titled "Faron Young," named after the famed country star. And Prefab Sprout later recorded a song called "Donna Summer.")

Oh, and don't forget Bob Dylan's song "Lenny Bruce."

Man, I know there are more, but I've killed way too many electrons on this as it is . . .

bill said...

Can't believe I forgot one of my favorite songs from last year: Lou Reed, by The Little Willies. It's the dramatic tale of coming across Lou Reed in a Texas field knocking over bovines.

I thought he was a vegetarian?

He was just tipping them over, he wasn't eating them.

litsskad said...

Weird Al also has "Stuck in a Closet with Vanna White".

And I don't think anyone's mentioned "Bette Davis Eyes"

bill said...

litsskad, yes she was mentioned. No one has mentioned "Marty Feldman's Eyes."

Chip Ahoy said...

Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don't need him around anyhow.

Drew W said...

I could've sworn that some band once did a song called "Sammy Davis Eye," but I could just be remembering an old joke.

johnstodder said...

David Bowie had two on the Hunky Dory album: "Andy Warhol" and "Song for Bob Dylan."

The Dandy Warhols have a fine song "Cool as Kim Deal." Kim Deal played bass with the Pixies.

Todd Rundgren: "Wolfman Jack" from the Something/Anything album. The Guess Who also paid tribute to the DJ, with "Clap for the Wolfman."

On the (excellent) Brian Wilson Live at the Roxy album, he and his backing band, the Wondermints, do a version of "Brian Wilson."

And to tie two of your posts together, Burt Young deserved to be among the dead Sopranos character videos, even though he appeared only in one episode. He was the father of another character, who played a hit man who was dying of lung cancer even while he was murdering someone else. It was the phlegmiest performance in the history of television.

Palladian said...

[voice]: This is Andy Warhole and it's take one. No, it's take one...

[DB]: It's... it's Warhol actually.

[voice]: What did I say?

[DB]: Hole. It's hol. As in holes.

[voice]: Inaudible

[DB]: Wha? Andy Warh[tape splice]... Andy War[tape splice]hol...
Like ho[tape splice]ho[tape splice]...

[voice]: Andy Warhol take one.

Palladian said...

Damn you, stodder!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Country genre: "Tim McGraw" by Taylor Swift is getting some good play right now. The link has the whole video. Worth watching just for the fresh-faced [smokin' hot] blonde singer/songwriter.

For those who don't know why he's famous: Tim McGraw is a country music star, married to Faith Hill and the son of baseball player Tug McGraw.

Bissage said...

Maybe she doesn't count as a celebrity but how about: I'm Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee)?

blake said...

Wow, there's a disproportionate number of Wainwright lovers on this thread.

Loudon also wrote "Talkin' New Bob Dylan" and "Liza".

Paul Simon also wrote "A Simple Desultory Phillipic or How I was Robert McNamara'd/Lyndon Johnsoned Into Submission". And "So Long, Frank Llyod Wright".

George Harrison wrote "Pure Smokey".

If we want to go farther afield, John Dowland wrote "Tarleton's Resurrection". Tarleton was quite the celebrity in his day, and is immortalized as a skull in Hamlet: "Alas poor Yorrick, I knew him well."

johnstodder said...

Warren Zevon had a few name-checks of sports figures: "Bill Lee" (the spacey former Red Sox reliever) and "Boom Boom Mancini," which had a great lyric:

"Hurry home early/hurry on home/Boom Boom Mancini's fightin' Bobby Chacon"

He also wrote one for "Frank and Jesse James" "Keep on ridin', ridin', ridin'/Frank and Jesse James/keep on ridin', ridin', ridin'/till you clear your names."

I think "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" was fictional, but possibly not.

johnstodder said...

Another panegyric songwriter is Neil Young, although he didn't namecheck in the title.

"My My, Hey Hey" was the story of Johnny Rotten

"Sleeps with Angels" was about Kurt Cobain.

"He Was the King" was about Elvis and has a funny lyric:

"The last time I saw Elvis/ He was shooting at a color TV/ The phones were ringing in the pink motel/
And the rest is history/ He was the King"

Zevon's "Porcelain Monkey" was also about Elvis, but much less flattering:

Hip-shakin' shoutin' in gold lame'
That's how he earned his regal sobriquet
Then he threw it all away
For a porcelain monkey

He threw it away for a porcelain monkey
Gave it all up for a figurine
He traded it in for a night in Las Vegas
And his face on velveteen

From a shotgun shack singing Pentecostal hymns
Through the wrought iron gates to the TV room
He had a little world, it was smaller than your hand
It's a rockabilly ride from the glitter to the gloom

Left behind by the latest trends
Eating fried chicken with his regicidal friends
That's how the story ends
With a porcelain monkey

Pissed Off Hillbilly said...

Pop-o-Pies had a somg called "Timothy Leary Lives."

Weird Al had a song named "Bob", a Bob Dylan type song sung in subterranean homesick style. The lyrics were entirely palindromes.

And it's "LEGEND of a Mind".

Brian O'Connell said...

Bananarama (I think) had a minor hit with "Robert DeNiro's Waiting" back in th 80's.

I also recall some britpop one-hit wonder that had a tune called "My Name is Michael Caine", which featured a clip of Michael Caine saying, "My name is Michael Caine." It was kind of kooky.

TMink said...

Galileo - Indigo Girls

Marie Provost - Nick Lowe

Neil Young - Will and the Bushmen

Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing - The Minutemen

Bob Dylan Wrote Propoganda Songs - The Minutemen

Uncle Remus - Frank Zappa

From Hank to Hendrix, Pocahontas, Cortez the Killer - Neil Young

Jack the Ripper - Link Wray

Solomon Sang - Cassandra Wilson

Mrs. O'Leary's Cow - Brian Wilson

Bob Wills is Still the King - Waylon Jennings

MLK - U2

My Name is Prince - Prince

Sit on My Face Stevie Nicks - forgot the band

And of course, Barbara Manatee by Larry Boy.

Trey

Brian L. Frye said...

Christine Keeler by Phil Ochs. Still funny, as long as you know who she was.