January 21, 2015

Curiousity Made Me Research It

I like all kinds of music and songs. You name the genre, I've probably sampled it in the past 39 1/2 years of my life (I started paying attention to music when I was about 10, which is 1975) in some particular way, shape or form. 99% of the time, the songs I listen to pretty much takes me on a journey to the farthest recesses of my memory, both past and present.

It's that remaining 1% that we're gonna have fun writing about today, and maybe, get you to search your memory banks as well.

I've always found exceptionally intriguing, to the point of the blog title, songs that touch upon an actual event. The weird thing about those songs, is that almost all of them touch upon a true crime event. I haven't heard many that don't, but the ones that I like apparently are somewhat dark/macabre in nature.

So gather 'round the BBQ and grab yourself a heaping plate of food and a tall cold one, while I regale with four tales of strange songs that touch upon true crime events. Please be warned that if some of this bothers you or makes you squeamish, by all means, feel free to check out the archives for this blog or for Cedar's Mountain. And away we go.

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For those of you who aren't up on your historical pop culture, back in the mid 80's, Dan Rather was a well known and respected news anchor on CBS Evening News. One day, he was mugged, and his attacker keep repeating the phrase "What's the frequency Kenneth?". REM decided to write a song about the attack for their 1994 album "Monster", which in turn became a big radio smash for them.

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This became one of my favorite songs from the mid 90's from the band Filter. Contrary to popular and persistent opinion, it was not about the alleged suicide of Kurt Cobain, but more of the live on your boob tube suicide of R. Budd Dwyer (the link is to the Wikipedia entry, but I found a website that has the actual recorded suicide. Couldn't bring myself to watch it, which means I'm probably getting mellower in my old age).

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This was one of my typical purchases where I would buy the entire album for just one song. I first read about this song in some book about provocative/banned songs, so of course I had to search it out. Basically, the song title stems from a schoolyard shooting in California, in which the shooter gave as the reason for doing the dastardly deed that left two classmates dead.

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And finally, the last example on the infamous hit parade. I first heard this remake of the Bobby Fuller Four classic (irony there somewhere. Bobby Fuller ran afoul of the Mob back in the day and supposedly committed suicide...by tying his hands behind his back and gagging his mouth with the engine running in the car) on college radio, so naturally I was intrigued about it to search it out. I didn't get hold of the song until some 15 years later on a compilation, but suffice to say, the remake was based the assassination of Harvey Milk and George Moscone by Dan White.

(c) 2015 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

14 comments:

  1. I don't Like Monday's is a classic. I still occasionally play it. My favourite version of I Fought the law is by the Crickets.

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    1. I love that version by The Crickets too.

      While that song is considered to be a classic in some circles, it's hardly ever played on normal radio anymore. Over here, college radio is about the only way to listen to it. Either that, or pick up the c.d., which my opinion is pretty good.

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  2. Some of those are rather disturbing.
    The Filter song is one of their best.

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    1. Sadly, yes. Which strangely enough makes them memorable. And I agree, that was one of their best, although the c.d. "Short Bus" is exceptionally strange.

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  3. Canadian songs about actual events tend to be about natural disasters or war, as opposed to crime, like Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

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    1. I definitely remember that one. I remember watching a documentary about that. It was very moving.

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  4. It always felt a bit chilling to me to be singing along with the Boomtown Rats with what is sort of a happy song and then realising it was about a murder ...
    Interesting list GB

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    1. I always thought that song sounded just a tad too upbeat. Maybe that's why it made such a lasting impression on everyone. Secretly, I think deep down everyone likes a song that is happily black.

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  5. I am pondering all this music.There was not a lot I knew about any of them and I think I only recognized I Fought The Law but not that version. What did stick with me is that YOU WERE BORN THE YEAR I MARRIED!!!! You're just a kid.

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    1. Now that is a scary thought indeed. :D

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  6. I was just listening to Hey Man, Nice Shot a couple of days ago. A very good song.

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    1. Yes it is. I was grooving to the video while I was writing this post.

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  7. Wow, I had no idea about the backstory behind the REM song. Here I was, thinking it was just a catchy tune!

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    1. It's a very catchy tune. I thought everyone knew the backstory about it after it had came out. They even had a cameo of Dan Rather singing along to it a well in one their appearances playing the song.

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