Thursday, December 05, 2019

Go East, Young Man!

As attentive readers will recall, I have been falling asleep of late to old episodes of the great Jack Benny's radio show, which among other things are about as interesting a pop-cultural time capsule as you can imagine.

In any case, listening to a Benny show from the '40s the other night, I had sort of a lightbulb-over-my-head moment. To wit: This long running gag (it was featured in countless episodes over the years), with the great Mel Blanc announcing a train leaving on track five (from L.A.'s Union station) for Anaheim, Azuza and Cucamonga...

...was clearly the inspiration for the greatest masterpiece of the surf-rock genre of the '60s.

Take it away, Jan and Dean!!!

I'm not kidding about that being a masterpiece, BTW; in fact, the classical and baroque touches in the song's arrangement (from 1964, I should add) pretty much show-up all later prog-rock as the pretentious swill it is.

I should also add that the first time I heard that song in stereo (rather than in mono, on the jukebox at my college cafeteria) was the closest thing I've had to a religious experience in my entire life.


Billy B said...

The Benny/Blanc stuff is great.

I also like the fact that Memphis was mentioned in the first video and on the album cover for Jan and Dean, as I was born there...

MJConroy said...

My friend had the LOL from Pasadena single and we would listen to this flip side and try to figure out where and what they hell they were singing about. Good times!

Roger said...

1964, indeed, which makes it at least a year before Brian Wilson started going for baroque with his arrangements. I've got a mono copy of the lp moldering in the basement next to the "Drag City" album.

And belated congrats on the single. Put me in the camp that says "Everybody Danced" should be the A side.