Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental amanuensis Hop-Sing and I are off to Baghdad for the kick-off to presidential favorite John McCain's I Don't Know a Shi'ite From Shinola Tour '08!. Of course, when I have a spare moment, Lindsey Graham (who has an absolutely exquisite fashion sense) and I will be doing a little rug shopping in an only moderately fortified bazaar; I understand there's simply bargains galore to be had. [BTW, is rug shopping a double entrendre? Oh, wait -- that's carpet munching. I regret the error.]
In any case, as a result, posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days.
But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:
BEST POP/ROCK RECORD WITH A MADE UP, FICTIONAL, GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION IN ITS TITLE!!!!!!
This is, obviously, the flip-side to our next to last list about songs named after real places. But this time, equally obviously, the titular songs have got to feature totally made-up locales. That can't be found on any map. Like nowheresville, man.
So don't try to sneak any of that "Ventura Highway" or "South Street" crap past me, because those places actually exist, okay?. And for what it's worth, if anybody nominates "Rock n Roll Heaven" I will find you and rip out your spleen.
Okay, that said, here's my totally top of my head Top Eight:
8. Procol Harum -- Cerdes (Outside the Gates of)
A brilliant track from their brilliant first album. The above video, alas, is some crappy bar band doing a cover version at a sports bar somewhere; frankly, I'm so amazed that such a thing would even be on YouTube that I can overlook the fact that it's not terribly well done.
True confession: Back in '67, the first couple of times I heard this I thought they were singing "Outside the gates of Sardi's." As in the restaurant.
7. Roxy Music -- Avalon
Because nothing says "Arthurian legends" better than Bryan Ferry in a tuxedo.
6. Bob Dylan -- Desolation Row
I'm not a Dylan scholar, but it occurs to me this may be a Steinbeck homage, as in Cannery Row. That sound I'm hearing in the distance is probably the rest of the world going "Uh, like, duh."
5. Creedence Clearwater Revival -- Green River
With the world smoldering, John Fogerty conjured up a homegrown equivalent of Shangri-La to escape to. A genius move, frankly, and I've always imagined that the barefoot girl dancing in the moonlight looks like a hippie Jane Wyatt....
4. Elvis Presley -- Heartbreak Hotel
Written by Hoyt Axton's mama. Something to think about the next time you rent "Gremlins."
3. Bruce Springsteen -- Thunder Road
The studio version of this may be one of the most perfect rock records ever made. Seriously -- after more than three decades, I have yet to be able to sit through it without getting all verklempt. Title cribbed from a vastly inferior Robert Mitchum movie and song, BTW.
2. Duffy -- Rockferry
The anti-Amy Winehouse, i.e. to our knowledge she doesn't have a substance abuse problem and a husband in the clink. I think she's great, actually -- kind of like Lulu and Dusty Springfield smushed together in a trash compactor.
And the number one, it isn't even a contest, hands down coolest song ever about a place that doesn't actually exist is ----
1. MC5 -- Shakin' Street
Pete Townshend's teenage wasteland, in the brief idealistic moment before the late 60s curdled into the 70s.
Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?