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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Ralph Bellamy, I’m in Love With You

I used to play in a Happy Hour band that played Stump the Band with the audience. We had to stop when Massachusetts made Happy Hour illegal. No, really, that happened. My life is one long list of vocations, jobs, life callings, and hobbies that were made illegal. If I were smart, I would have started out doing illegal things right from the get-go. Illegal pays better.

Anyway, we’d wait for the audience to get some tonsil polish in them to loosen them up a bit, and then I’d drag the microphone out front and start interviewing people like a game show host. If that wasn’t working out — because everyone was too rowdy, or not rowdy enough — we’d play Stump the Band. The drummer would challenge the audience to call out the name of any one-hit wonder band that had had a top ten song in the past thirty years, and we pledged to play a minimum of ten recognizable seconds of it. A lot of times we’d play the whole thing if one of us knew half the words.

People would really, really, really try to stump us, which was a fool’s errand. We were pros, and the 1910 Fruitgum Company, or Cannibal and the Headhunters held no terrors for us. Guys that had giant record collections and tape on their glasses would try to stump us over and over again, but that sucked for everyone. The rest of the audience had no idea what the song was even if we did play it, so we mostly ignored those guys and waited for a pretty girl to yell out TEE SET! or something. Truth be told, we always ignored guys for any number of reasons, and no girl ever asked for some dirge nobody would recognize. They asked for fun stuff, like THE TEE SET! PLAY THE TEE SETTTT WHOOOOOOOOO!!!!

They always asked for their favorite oldie, something their big sister or their mother listened to when they were little. And without fail, we’d ruin it utterly and forevermore for them by playing it perfectly but mucking around with the lyrics. Once you hear it perfectly wrong, you’ll never hear it right again.


12 Responses

  1. When we needed a break that the bar owner hadn't agreed to we'd start "Caravan" and get into a ten-minute drum solo. Of course the drummer didn't mind.

  2. I remember that song, but not the band's name. Not ringing a bell, not tickling a mostly forgotten memory; coming up blank/404 Error.

  3. Wow. I haven't heard that song in *cough* years! Still dreadful, too. Not even French can save that song.

    I think "One Tin Soldier" could probably get the bar owner to see things your way, too, Chasmatic.

  4. These days, "Freebird" is the ever present request, but we refuse to play it out, even though we all know it. A couple of the guys think it is too commercial and cheapens them as musicians. For me, that is not a hill worth dying for.

    Ralph Bellamy…that's funny.

  5. No, chaz, I know Caravan; it was Ralph Bellamy I remembered. I like Caravan. Don't recall the Ventures playing it.

    A couple months ago, I heard Over The Rainbow played by the Surf Dawgs on Hot Rod Radio, as surfer music. Worked quite well. Unfortunately, not on YouTube then, but NOW:

  6. If it can't be covered by a polka band it ain't much of a song. Accordions are God's gift to musicians. Look at how many bands do not use them and as a result fade into obscurity.

  7. chas, that helps explain Wierd Al Yankovich's continuing career. That, and his great parodical intelligence.

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