Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Moving Finger Writes. Or in This Case, Maybe Not...

So yesterday I was working on a piece for Box Office that had something vaguely to do with Zager and Evans' still laughable mega-hit "In the Year 2525," and I had occasion to check out the Z&E entry at Wiki.

When this little tidbit caught my eye.
The band signed with RCA Records, who claimed they were "The Next Big Thing," but follow-up singles, such as "Mr. Turnkey" (a song about a rapist who nails his own wrist to the jail wall as punishment for his crime) achieved only minor success.
And I thought -- well, obviously I need to hear that one.

Mr. Turnkey, it's 10pm in Wichita Falls
August 16, 1969 and I'm in some bar
Mr. Turnkey, I need a woman and I'm ain't getting far
I never was the kind of man a woman looked for

But Mr Turnkey, she looked at me with flirting eyes
Mr. Turnkey, she was lovelier than oil lights
Mr. Turnkey, she led me on, she led me on,
She knew she wasn't going to let me love her

Mr. Turnkey, there's been a rape in Wichita Falls
Mr. Turnkey, I'm sitting here crying in my coveralls
Mr. Turnkey, I don't want to be the man I am
Mr. Turnkey, I'm calling from block number four
Mr. Turnkey, you ain't never seen nothing like this before
Mr. Turnkey, I nailed my left wrist to your wall, I'm going home

Mr. Turnkey, I'm calling from block number four
Mr. Turnkey, I ain't got the strength to call once more
Mr. Turnkey, I'm crying, hanging here dying
Tell her I'm sorry

I'm speechless, frankly.


Unknown said...

It's so bouncy!

Anonymous said...

Tell us you're sorry for ever making us listen to it!

I can't believe that RCA released it as a single and gave it the full picture sleeve promotion.

Didn't Elvis cover this in Vegas?

It's a good thing the Weasels never heard it back in the day.


Sal Nunziato said...

"Lovelier than oil lights."

Funny how we both had the same idea for today's post.

steve simels said...

Jeebus, I just listened to the 70s abomination you posted today.

I hate to admit it, but yours is worse.

Anonymous said...

All the other atrociousness aside, how does one go about nailing their wrist to a wall? Do you start the nail by slamming your wrist against the point? Or maybe he swiped a Cheney nailer from the license tag shop:
I'm sitting here crying in my coveralls trying to figure it out.

David said...

This is the lead track on my "hand injury" mixtape; next up, "Moulty!"

Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary said...

Can you imagine a whole slew o' jamokes sitting around in a room saying, "Hey, this sounds like it might be a hit!"?

I don't think there were ever enough drugs.......

Gummo said...

Is there some significance, some deep meaning I'm missing, that the date mentioned in the song is also the date of the Woodstock Festival?

Geez, you A-list bloggers really hate your readers, don't'cha?


steve simels said...

I think Peter nailed it. My initial reaction was yes, it's so bouncy.

I downloaded the whole album it's from -- I haven't had the nerve to listen yet...

TMink said...

Wow, morbid, self-injurious bouncy faux folk pop from the pov of a suicidal rapist.

I am stunned.


Noam Sane said...


Kid Charlemagne said...

That's a real toe tapper.

Anonymous said...

I dare you to listen Steve, I double dog dare you!


MBowen said...

I think that you should send this to Leonard Cohen and Richard Thompson and tell them "Take That!"

Actually, if you got Will Oldham (aka Bonnie Prince Billy) or Bill Callahan (aka Smog) or The Handsome Family to slow this down to a tuneless dirge, Mojo and Uncut, along with a bunch of websites like Pitchfork, who would absolutely wet themselves over this.

MJConroy said...

Is this on the album?
2525 in Italian!
Cause why should Italy be spared?

Maybe there is a Signore Carceriere out there somewhere too!