On this week’s BHYH, we’re milking all we can get from the late summer with a vintage tune from a classic beach movie, a couple of quirky hip-hop tracks, a heart-breaking post-grunge ’90s cut, a late ’80s surf rock-meets-hip-hop single, an all-female garage rock foursome from Canada, and a live track for all you Halloween Preppers.
DONNA LOREN, “IT ONLY HURTS WHEN I CRY”
This is a song I was introduced to through Beach Blanket Bingo. It was my first Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello beach party film. The decision was easy when I found out it was the one with Paul Lynde.
Few films have the unpredictable variety of fun packed into Beach Blanket Bingo. Details like Buster Keaton still doing his own stunts a year before his death and Don Rickles showcasing his iconic insult humor are like a sudden burst of fireworks you weren’t prepared for. It’s no different in the song featured here. You’re following Frankie and Annette on the beach, then all of a sudden we’re in a cabin watching Donna Loren sing a song that reminds us that the then-current music scene was being heavily influenced by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.
Donna Loren is quietly one of the most recognizable faces in 1960s pop culture. On top of being in the beach party films, she was the Dr. Pepper Girl back when at least 10-15 million people tuned into the same show. While on the subject of TV, she guest starred on The Monkees and practically every variety show back when anybody with a marketable name had their own variety show.
My favorite TV credit of Loren’s is her appearance for a two-parter on the Batman ’66 series where Joker’s new scheme is rigging vending machines at the high school to spit out free silver dollars so teenagers would rely on easy money, thus having to turn to a life of crime with the Joker to pay for their new expensive taste.
If you need another dose of quality ’60s nostalgia after rewatching Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, turn to this decade defining icon. — Emilio Amaro
I MONSTER, “Daydream in blue”
By now you should all be aware that I, Andrew Gimetzco, like strange hip-hop. Not the strangest hip-hop, mind you, but stuff that’s a little odd, or quirky, along with some old school staples (Grandmaster Flash, Whodini, Erik B & Rakim, the Beastie Boys, et al). But something that gets my motor running, so to speak, is when genres mash, sometimes in an obvious mashup kind of way (Girl Talk). But when a song is remade, not exactly covered, but holds to the original version faithfully, but has that added beat to it (and more), that’s where the goodness is for me. And that’s what we get with “Daydream in Blue,” a song by I Monster (whom you may know from the Shaun of the Dead OST). Recently the version by the Günter Kallmann Choir has been featured on a commercial (I can’t recall what because I typically dislike advertisements) that got me itching for what I consider a now-classic version of the already classic tune. I Monster’s version came out in 2003, and is the 2nd track on the album Neveroddoreven. It’s a track that features the vocal hook and melodies from the Günter Kallmann Choir version, but adds a sweet beat and robovox just to make it all perfectly interesting and just super-dope-fresh. Its hip-hop sensibilities were more than enough to inspire Lupe Fiasco to pen a full-on rappy rap track about a giant robot using “Daydream in Blue” as its foundation. I implore you to please enjoy! — Andrew Gimetzco!
the lemonheads, “favorite t”
I picked up The Lemonheads CD, Come on Feel the Lemonheads in October of 1993 at the Park City Mall in Lancaster, PA. They were quickly becoming one of my favorite bands after I wore out their previous album, It’s a Shame About Ray. Normally, I am very particular about covers of classic songs but they won me over with their version of Simon and Garfunkel’s, Mrs. Robinson. Granted it was definitely more edgy and had that awesome garage band sound.
Lead singer Evan Dando was one of the hottest looking grunge frontmen next to Kurt Cobain. There was something soulful about his voice and his eyes that could make a girl think she’s the only one in the room but meanwhile he was shagging her best friend behind her back. In revisiting those albums, I felt a faint nostalgia for those alternative rock days of distressed 501’s, thermal undershirts, and flannels. Sure, Dando, like Cobain, used various drugs, but oddly enough, he wasn’t self-destructive.
He partied hard like musicians from the ’60s so it was no surprise to learn one of his closest pals was Marlon Richards, Keith’s son. Like River Phoenix, he hung out with Johnny Depp and the two would take Xanax and “talk for hours.” So, its amazing that The Lemonheads didn’t reach the dizzy heights of stardom like Nirvana or R.E.M. When listening to various cuts, like “Alison’s Starting to Happen,” you can clearly hear shades of Elvis Costello. “My Drug Buddy” is kind of poppy and feels good. “Hannah & Gabi” could have been sung by Michael Stipe.
Delving into Dando’s lyrics, there are layers and subtexts that belie the fact that when he attended the prestigious Skidmore College, he received mostly F’s and one D. I guess their music resonated with me because there was that yearning and earnestness tinged with a bit of heartbreak in some of their songs. Let’s face it. All of us know the pain of unrequited love. That person who means the world to us and is our sunrise and sunset but yet either fails to recognize the connection or worse, toys with our heart and then breaks it into a million pieces.
“Favorite T” from Come on Feel the Lemonheads is THAT tune for me. The song is about taking a prized possession from a former lover who has tossed you aside for someone else. Its hell when the one you want above everyone parades their new guy or gal around and you have to smile politely and act like nothing is wrong. We have all been there. These lyrics, while they sting, are so true that you can’t help but wonder if you will ever forget the pain that caused them.
Ain’t got the time or the inclination
To see this through
I’m lookin’ up, climbing out of the station
And the sky’s too blue
It may be 27 years later, but I have never forgotten that favorite tee. I used to wear it every day… — Susan Leighton
THE FAT BOYS FEAT. THE BEACH BOYS, “WIPEOUT”
In the world of cheesy beach novelty songs, there are many. We could talk about “Summer Nights” from Grease, Brian Hyland’s ode to the “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie” yellow polka dot bikini, David Lee Roth’s excessively ’80s rendition of “California Girls,” Pee Wee Herman inexplicably showing up to perform “Surfin’ Bird” in my 4th favorite movie of all time, or, to some extent, The Ramones’ quintessential summer jam, “Rockaway Beach.” But, the song I’m highlighting here is perhaps a bit deeper than any of those.
A deeper cut? Maybe. I’m not too sure this single gets the recognition it fully deserves among its “peers.” But what I’m getting at here is that this is a novelty song with a deeper meaning beyond the obvious silliness, a message we all can benefit from–a push towards friendship, fun, and unity, if you will. And please do.
“Wipeout” is the Brooklyn-based rap trio the Fat Boys facing off against veterans of the Southern California surf scene, the legendary Beach Boys. As absurd as that sounds, just wait until you watch the video. We open on a boxing ring for some reason, with pre-match insults flying between pro-boxers Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini on one side and Hector “Macho” Camacho on the other, the Fat Boys behind their champ Mancini and the Beach Boys (minus Carl Wilson) backing theirs (Camacho). The playful verbal assault between the two lightweights intensifies, which gives way to the two musical groups going at it as well: Mike Love fires “I’d like to see you in a bathing suit!” to Prince Markie Dee, who quips back, “I’d like to see you in New York!” Then the perfect storm of surf rock and beat-boxing commences with the Fat Boys loading beach gear into a spray-painted limousine and heading off to SoCal while the Beach Boys try their luck DJ-ing in NYC.
Friends, this may be the first East Coast vs West Coast battle tape. What’s great, though, is that by the end, the two groups join together on the beach for a boisterous nighttime barbecue/bonfire, signaling to us all that the entire feud was all for the sake of fun. “Wipeout” stands as perfect inspiration that even when we think we’re big and bad, friendship and humility should always win out in the end. Cheesy novelty, yet, you know, not.
(On a personal note: “Wipeout” is a single from the Fat Boys’ 1987 LP Crushin’, but also is featured on the Beach Boys’ 1989 record Still Cruisin’ [the one with “Kokomo” on it]. Raised on the Beach Boys, I wore my cassette of Still Cruisin’ out, but I took a special interest in “Wipeout” because of my many blissful hours spent playing California Games on my NES console, trying my best to cue up the song exactly to accompany the 8-bit version of the classic Trashmen song every time the surfing portion of the game began. [Yes, I know this is cool.] “Wipeout” forever has a place in my mind and in my heart.) — elbee
THE BEACHES, LATE SHOW
One of the consequences of the pandemic is that many professional sports are compromised, with some leagues and US college football having canceled play in 2020. One of the leagues, the Canadian Football League, just announced the cancellation of the 2020 season, which is sad, as it’ll be the first time in over a century that the Grey Cup, the oldest trophy in professional football, will not be awarded. Yes, sport ought to be a low priority when we’re all struggling with a 6-month quarantine, but I’m still bummed out—no Saskatchewan Roughriders until 2021! But this is a music column, Jay! Yeah, bear with me, I’m getting to it. One of the great things about the CFL is that they encourage many emerging Canadian bands to perform halftime shows in stadiums across the country. It’s an incredible opportunity and good exposure, as all CFL games are televised nationwide (and in the USA on ESPN2). One such band, The Beaches, a raucous female foursome from Toronto, performed a halftime show in nearby Hamilton, and I was hooked! Many football fans, on both sides of the border, often have pedestrian, dare I say Neanderthal, music tastes (Nickelback, Nickelback, and maybe a little Creed thrown in), so I was delighted to see a band that didn’t suck! At the risk of sounding overly patriotic, Canada, for its modest population, produces a lot of fantastic music, so I welcome this kind of exposure! The band members may have worn over-sized Hamilton Tiger-Cats jerseys (note: people of Toronto don’t care about the CFL, despite John Candy and Wayne Gretzky having once co-owned the hometown Argonauts), but their music was not about three-down football. Songs from their debut album, Late Show, are about the usual life experiences: awkward one-night stands, breakups, being broke, and respect in the male-dominated rock industry. The lyrics are fun yet sober, with feminist proclamations and a sense of joie de vie that aren’t incongruent together. Their sound is steeped in the guitar rock found in the ‘70s, ‘90s, and the early ‘00s garage rock revival, influenced by diverse bands like The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Sloan, The Strokes, and many others (not surprising, as the album was produced by Metric’s Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw). Standouts include “Money” (the first song I heard them perform at Tim Hortons Field), “T-shirt” (the aforementioned one-night stand), and “Let Me Touch,” but there’s not a clunker to be found on the album. Lead singer Jordan Miller’s vocals are phenomenal, with an incredible depth of emotional range I’d forgotten was possible in one’s early twenties. Special kudos to drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel, who batters her drums with delicious frenzy. There feels like a dearth of guitar-driven rock nowadays (don’t get me started on many of today’s twee bands—cue Portlandia’s “Battle of the Gentle Bands”), but hearing The Beaches gives me hope for the future of rock ‘n’ roll—I hope they can perform at a CFL stadium again in 2021! See you in Regina, eh? — Jay Alary
OINGO BOINGO, “BURN ME UP”
Oingo Boingo’s final record release, 1996’s double live album aptly titled Farewell: Live from the Universal Amphitheatre, Halloween 1995 is a sweaty, energetic experience. The meat of the record is pulled from the band’s performance on Halloween night, when they played an epic set of 44 songs – just about four hours of material beginning on Halloween and ending after midnight. Farewell is a cathartic, ghoulish sermon for all Boingo fans, with Danny Elfman and his maniacal, talented group conducting chaos for nearly two and a half hours. Though most of the songs were already released on other albums, the band played some never before released tunes like “Piggies,” “Water,” and “Clowns of Death.” But as the earliest new track on the album, “Burn Me Up” is a massive standout. With “Burn Me Up,” Oingo Boingo gives us a blistering two minutes and fifty three seconds of sin and sexuality, where the band pummels the music straight out of their instruments and Elfman howls and harmonizes lines like “Who do I have to go and kill to get my face on a dollar bill?” It’s a refreshing reprieve from the doom and gloom of their terrific, final studio album Boingo. The opening saxophone riff tells us that Boingo might be the only artists who know that the only thing that avant-punk rock was missing is brass instrumentation. — Nathan Smith