I was driving south through Florida last month, surfing the radio stations and came upon a station that covered the widest range of classic rock I’ve ever heard. However, their catch phrase, “we play the songs you know every word to.” is a bold-faced lie. Are they denying the fact that most singers are graduates of The Bob Dylan School of Diction?
Singers like Mick Jagger, Tom Petty, and Stevie Nicks. Nobody knows every word of a rock song. How can you know what you can’t understand?
The station is very fortunate that I cannot recall their call letters because if I did I just might have reported them to the FCC. Why? Because it’s dangerous to propagate false confidence. When you’re sure you know the words of a song you have no hesitation singing aloud. And that just might lead to a rude awakening.
Take Jack S, a guy I knew at the Jersey Shore. It was 1969 and he had heard this great song by the Beatles.
He just had to sing it for everyone, “Hey Dude!”
And then there was Mrs. S, the mother of a friend and no relation to Jack S. It was 1974 and Disco was in full swing.
She loved to sing the anthem of the dance floor, “Do the Hot Dog.”
Speaking of disco, Eddie, the Best man at my wedding, couldn’t understand the story behind one of the songs from Saturday Night Fever. There’s John Travolta dancing under the disco ball with his sometimes dance partner, a woman with a full head of disco hair.
So why he wanted to know, were the Bee Gees singing
“Bald -headed woman, Bald-headed woman to me.”
And since people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, I’ll fess up. I recently heard my favorite Bruce Springsteen song, Born to Run, delivered directly into my head via an iPod I was on the tread mill, lip synching along until Bruce and we came to the part where we’re exhorting Wendy to come with him, flee New Jersey, start a new life and I nearly came to a halt. What? What was he saying? Tramps? “Tramps like us, Baby we were born to run.” You mean it’s not champs? Champs are born to run, not tramps!
Maybe I’ll write my own song, about the dude who meets a bald headed lady and they dance the hot dog and when they’re through, they jump on a freight car with all the other champs who were born to run, and they’ll all be wearing their gold medals and blue ribbons.
OK, it’s your turn. What songs did you think you knew? Use the comment section to share. Nobody will laugh, I promise.