Here are all of the interesting things I learned this week, plus the Top Five Love Song Lyrics of all time (or of some time) that may or may not get you the Valentineâ€™s lovinâ€™ you crave…
V-Day Lyrics #5: â€œYouâ€™re My Homeâ€ â€“ Billy Joel
â€œIâ€™ll never be a stranger/and Iâ€™ll never be alone/wherever weâ€™re together/thatâ€™s my home.â€
That should do the trick.
How To Get Valentines
Janice Ian was a one-hit wonder in 1976 with her wholly depressing ballad, â€œAt Seventeen.â€ It is four minutes that will make you 14 percent more bitter every time you hear it.Â The song is a first-person account of a woman who learned the ways of the world (i.e. pretty people have more fun) when she was an awkward, not-so-attractive teenager.Â I have heard the song a million times (hence the bitterness), but I never noticed the line â€œThe Valentines I never knew/The Friday night charades of youth.â€Â Apparently, I wasnâ€™t paying attention quite as closely as some people do.Â The seemingly innocuous line inspired 461 fans to send Ian Valentineâ€™s cards in 1977.Â Hopefully that helped ease the pain.
V-Day Lyrics #4: â€œKathyâ€™s Songâ€ â€“ Simon and Garfunkel
â€œAnd so you see I have come to doubt/all that I once held as true/I stand alone without beliefs/the only truth I know is you.â€
Deep, Mr. Simon.Â Deep.
Cartoons, Michael Jackson, and Confusion
When I found this story it seemed kind of interesting, but upon further investigation it blew my mind.
This week in 1991, The Simpsons were on the top of the charts in several countries with â€œDo The Bartman,â€ featuring a rapping neâ€™er-do-well named Bart Simpson and some smooth backing vocals.Â Maybe sort of interesting â€“ but wait, thereâ€™s moreâ€¦
The uncredited writer and producer of â€œDo The Bartman,â€ is none other than recently deceased pop icon, Michael Jackson.Â After reading that, I went back and listened to the song again, and realized I should have known it was him the whole time.Â The backing harmonies, the instrumentation, and even the beat are classic Michael.
I hate it when I donâ€™t recognize these things.Â I claim to be a music geek, so I should have put that together.Â Itâ€™s like when I learned that Eddie Van Halen played the solo for â€œBeat It,â€ or when I found out the backgrounds for Smokey Robinsonâ€™s â€œTears of a Clownâ€ were written by Stevie Wonder.Â If I wouldâ€™ve thought about it, I would have known instantly.Â Geek fail.
The last item of interest here is that â€œDo The Bartmanâ€ was the first song sung by cartoons to top the charts since â€œSugar, Sugarâ€ by the Archies.Â I have always heard that song credited to the Archies but I never realized that it was THE Archies from the comic book.Â I am learning a lot this week.
V-Day Lyrics # 3:Â â€œBanana Loveâ€ â€“ The Bobs
â€œIâ€™m gonna take you to my bungalow/in the jungle-o/we gonna make banana love/You sing a high C/in the swinging tree/when we make banana love.â€
Donâ€™t try these lyrics on a first date.
Linda Hits #1
Songstress Linda Ronstadt hit number one on the U.S. Top 40 charts for the first time this week in 1975 with â€œYouâ€™re No Good.â€
Before Mariah, Whitney, Madonna, and (ewww) Celine came along, Ronstadt was the number one solo female recording artist of all time.Â The powerfully-voiced singer had hits through the 70s and 80s and hung out with Neil Young, James Taylor, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and the Eagles â€“ not too shabby.
Also, in 2001, she sang several concerts with me.Â Maybe thatâ€™s the other way around, and it wasnâ€™t just with me. But itâ€™s still true.
V-Day Lyrics #2: â€œRibbon in the Skyâ€ â€“ Stevie Wonder
â€œIf allowed, may I touch your hand/And if pleased, may I once again/So that you too will understand/Thereâ€™s a ribbon in the sky for our love.â€
Clearing it All Up
This week in 1967, the Beatles started recording John Lennonâ€™s â€œBeing For the Benefit of Mr. Kite,â€ which is right up there with â€œEleanor Rigbyâ€ and â€œStrawberry Fields Foreverâ€ on the list of â€œTop 10 songs of which I have no idea of the meaning.â€
But I learned something this week â€“ the lyrics came almost entirely from a poster advertising a circus performance in February of 1843.Â John had purchased the poster two weeks prior while the Beatles were filming the promotional film for the aforementioned confusing â€œStrawberry Fields Forever.â€
Unlike the â€œBartmanâ€ fiasco, I donâ€™t feel bad for not figuring this one out sooner â€“ the lyrics are very confusing:Â â€œFor the benefit of Mr. Kite/There will be a show tonight on trampoline/The Hendersons will all be there/Late of Pablo-Fanques is there, what a scene.â€
Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
And if all else fails â€“ your last-ditch V-Day Lyric: â€œWhy Donâ€™t We Get Drunkâ€ â€“ Jimmy Buffet
â€œI just bought a water bed, itâ€™s filled up for me and you/They say you are a snow queen/Honey I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s true/So, why donâ€™t we get drunk and screw!â€
Warning: do not try these lyrics unless itâ€™s after last call on Feb. 14, or you have some sort of death wish.
Born this week:
Tracy Morrow (Ice-T), Sonny Bono, Walt Becker (Steely Dan), Kurt Cobain, Rihanna.
Died this week:
Composer Albert Fuchs (pronounce it how you will), Ethel Merman.