They Might Be Giants, The Four Lads, Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Posted in Fun and Crazy, They Might Be Giants, Youtube Favs on August 11th, 2011 by Willie

I had no idea that They Might Be Giants didn’t write this song!  It turns out that the Four Lads, in 1953, came up with this incredibly catchy and insane song.  It was a top ten hit and a certified gold record.  Imagine that!  I learned all this from hearing a tape of Bob Dylan’s satellite radio show “Theme Time Radio Hour,” where he spun the original record.  Thanks for the heads up Bob because like most kids who grew up in the 90s, I first learned about the song from Tiny Tunes.  I remember being absolutely mesmerized by the song, and relished every time a repeat of that episode would come on.  The song, “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” speaks for itself.  It’s one of those rare tunes where the lyrics communicate 100% of the songs idea without a trace of ambiguity.  I love songs like that.  The more modern incarnation comes from They Might Be Giants’ 1990 record Flood which I thoroughly recommend picking up.  As a bonus I’m also including a live performance of the song TMBG did in 1990 for MTV Europe. It’s equally spellbinding and hilarious, especially when the host asks them if the Four Lads had any other good songs, and John Linnell replies in a complete deadpan that “No, that was their only good song.” Too funny.

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Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Mean Woman Blues/Blue Suede Shoes

Posted in Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Youtube Favs on April 27th, 2011 by Willie

In part 47 of my youtube countdown I present to you two titans of classic rock and roll.  Jerry Lee Lewis, the Killer, and Carl Perkins, the king of rockabilly, united, as they often were, having a ball playing a medley of “Mean Woman Blues,” and “Blue Suede Shoes.”  This video is a blast of fun.  Jerry is playing the piano with his shoes, with his usual fire, while Carl steps up to Jerry’s near unmatchable energy and provides a FANTASTIC guitar solo.  There are so many things to like about this video.  First, I love Carl’s gorgeous powder blue electric guitar.  I love how when Jerry misses a line, he makes this hilarious Looney Tunes like face, but rolls on smoothly.  Of all the classic rock and rollers, Jerry was the closest to an abstraction, a larger then life hellcat sent from the moon to turn your High School Hop into a scene of pure raging anarchy.  Because of Jerry’s scandal where he married his 13 year old cousin, the world was really robbed of appreciating Jerry’s star at its highest levels of ridiculousness.  But whatever, he still rolls on.  Sadly, Carl doesn’t, but no one need worry there, he burned such a legacy of genius, and I’ll be exploring that more tomorrow.  Enjoy.

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