I want to give a Holton Howdy (I just thought of that) to Marian Allen, whom I appreciate for featuring me on her blog this morning. She said she likes the term “EBS Special” that I use to signify any song that I consider so bad I’d rather listen to an Emergency Broadcast System test. I used the term yesterday in a reply to Dan, who said that “September Morn,” the song in my latest Battle of the Bands, is not really his favorite song.
Everyone had their own criteria for what constitutes a song they like and a song they don’t, and what’s an EBS Special to me might be your favorite song. Hey, de gustibus non est demonstrandum (there’s no arguing matters of taste). Some of these songs are on my list, not because they’re bad songs, but because they got played to death when they were on the Top 40, and I got sick of them. Rather than draw this discussion out, let me give you some examples.
Seasons in the Sun – Terry Jacks This oft-maligned song combines morose lyrics that talk about death with a perky tune. Not ncessarily the worst thing in the world, but it was played so frequently in its heyday you’d grab that radio dial and give it a spin whenever it came on.
Playground In My Mind – Clint Holmes Does anyone else get the image of a man sitting in a windowless van across the street from a busy playground?
Beginnings – Chicago Actually, this is a great song, at least the original, 8-minute version was, complete with Jim Pankow and Lee Loughnane trading fours on the trombone and trumpet (respectively) and the extended Latin percussion jam at the end. Columbia Records evidently needed a single, and rather than reissuing something like “Questions 67 and 68” (the next song on the Chicago Transit Authority album and the band’s first single that hadn’t sold due to lack of promotion), they decided to turn “Beginnings” into a Frankenstein’s monster so it would fit on a 7″ single. Anyone familiar with the original gave the radio dial a spin.
Run, Joey, Run – David Geddes Basically a song about a guy who gets his girlfriend pregnant and has her daddy after him with a shotgun while the girlfriend tells him to run away. Might be tolerable without the overwrought female voice… no, it wouldn’t be…
American Pie – Don McLean Again, not a bad song on the face of it, but was the victim of being played and analyzed to the point of people looking for something more soothing, like an EBS test.
That’s The Friday Five for September 16, 2016. What are your “EBS Specials”?