Friday, September 03, 2010

Weekend Listomania (Special Yo, Frankie! Audio/Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday (and a holiday weekend) and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental Courtesan Action Figure Fah Lo Suee and I will be off to my local Hell Megaplex, where we plan to wait out Hurricane Earl with endless viewings of Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables, or as we call it around Casa Simels, the Greatest Movie of All Time.

That being the case, and because things will doubtless be a little quiet around here for a couple of days, here's a fun little project for us to wile away the hours:

Best or Worst Post-Elvis Pop/Rock/Soul Song or Record By or About the Sons (or Daughters) of Italy!!!

Self-explanatory, I think, so no arbitrary rules of any kind, you're welcome very much. Basically, if it's about something Italian, or if an Italian wrote, sang or produced it, you can include it.

And my totally top of my head Top Six is:

6. Bananarama -- Robert DeNiro's Waiting

You know, all that cheezy Big 80s stuff notwithstanding, I really miss these babes.

5. David Bowie -- Slip Away

Bowie's tribute to the great kids TV celeb "Uncle" Floyd Vivino, and I have to give the pretentious little poser credit -- this was a very cool thing to do. Incidentally, I was hoping to include Floyd's "Oogie's Song," perhaps my favorite single of the '70s, but I couldn't find it anywhere online.

4. Foreigner -- Hot Blooded

That would be Lou Gramm(atico) on the hot blooded vocals, of course. When Dean of American Rock Critics Robert Christgau referred to Foreigner as "the world's most useless band," this may have been what he was thinking about.

3. Carl Perkins -- Put Your Cat Clothes On

"I slicked up myself till I looked like a Guinea." Actually, Perkins didn't really sing that, although Greil Marcus, in his otherwise authoritative Mystery Train, quotes the lyric thusly.

2. Hall and Oates -- Italian Girls

My favorite H&O song, if truth be told. And "I see the greatest works of art in Western Civilization" is probably the coolest second line in rock history.

And the Numero Uno faccia bella serenade just has to be, you wanna make something of it?, the incomparable...

1. Holly and the Italians -- Tell That Girl to Shut Up

For many obvious reasons.

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: the heroic struggle of the oppressed workers against their Capitalist Pig overlords!!! -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could find it in your heart to leave a comment over there, despite the annoying new commenting system, it would make it easier for me to stick it to The Man. Thanks!]


cthulhu said...

How about Tonio K.'s One Big Happy Family - "Italians love His Holiness because he dresses real snappy"?

Noam Sane said...

Heartbeat. It's a lovebeat.

Justin Beiber's got nothin' on this baby!

dave™© said...

"Pepino the Italian Mouse" by Lou Monte.

'Nuff said!

John Fowler said...

well there's Valentino mentioned by The Bangles in "Manic Monday" off of Different Light. Not their best - the lyrics strike me as a bit too silly - but the harmonies are still great.

and for Romeo (who probably could be with Juliet in a listomania all their own), I'll take Tom Waits with "Romeo is Bleeding" off of Blue Valentine. Although I have a lot of affection for Dire Straits' "Romeo and Juliet".

and the Clash squeezed in a mention of an "Italian mobster" (amongst a lot of other stuff) in "The Magnificent Seven", on Sandinista!.

And, I suppose Madonna is a fairly obvious part of this Listomania. Probably her most contemptible song is also one of the few by her that I really like - "Material Girl" is one of my guilty pleasures.

Oh, and thanks Steve for the Holly & the Italians youtube link! And I have no words to say regarding Noam's nomination, except that I actually don't regret the click. That much.

Sal Nunziato said...

I'm really offended by this post.

OK, no I'm not.

I'll go with "Love Is A Beautiful Thing" by The Rascals?

steve simels said...

Sal -- Don't week -- JEWS!!!!!

mister muleboy said...

Southern Girls by Cheap Trick.

[I always knew they were talking about girls from Messina. . . .]

Gummo said...

steve simels said...

Sal -- Don't week -- JEWS!!!!!

Wow, that'll really limit the field to ...

the entire entertainment industry since the dawn of time?

steve simels said...

Mel Brooks is Jewish?
-- Homer Simpson

David said...

"Boom Boom Mancini"--Warren Zevon
"Violent Rome"--Guido & Maurizio De Angelis
"Postcards From Italy": Beirut
and of course, "Anna Maria Alberghetti in a Taxi, Honey"--sorry, couldn't resist. I think I saw that in a New York magazine competition years ago.

Edward said...

Pretty sure the Romeo who is bleeding in the Tom Waits songs is Chicano, but what the hell;>

So from Tom Waits: Singapore ("they all become Italian dreams"

The Coward Brothers: The People's Limousine ("This chilly Florentine evening...")

T-Bone Burnett: Euromad ('Between the Roman churches and the German music halls...It started in Bologna")

Jonathan Richman: Nineteen in Naples
and French Style ("It's not as fussy as Italian..")

And an honorable mention to Elvis Costello who is listed as Looking Italian on the Trust album

Edward said...

Oh yeah, one more.

David Bowie did a version of Space Oddity in Italian.

And the Grass Roots Live For Today was originally an Italian song (DC's The Slickee Boys did a nice cover about 30 years ago)

So I guess a shout out to Volore is called for;>

Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary said...

"That's Amore" - I dunno, Dean Martin? "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore"

Anything by Dion.

And Zappa.

And Bon Jovi.

And - ah, never mind.

Nora Charles said...

The Band: "When I Paint My Masterpiece"

"Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble,
Ancient footprints are everywhere.
You can almost think that you're seein' double
On a cold, dark night on the Spanish Stairs..."

Brooklyn Girl said...

Ridiculously obvious, but what the hell:

"Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" by Billy Joel.

Noam Sane said...

"Cara Mia" was a hit for Jay & The Americans.

"Good Friends," Joni Mitchell - the sun sets over Jersey, rises over Little Italy

"Cibo Matto" means "crazy food" in Italian. Know your chicken!

"Postcard" from Odds & Sods - "Great piles of spaghetti, bad vibes like confetti in Italy"

steve simels said...

There is an edit of "Cara Mia" == which I first heard back in the day on WABC-AM -- with Jay Black's big final held note tape-spliced so that he seems to be holding it for like literally a minute or two.

It's screamingly funny, but I don't think I've heard it since. And not sure who actually put it together...maybe some joker at the station?

Anonymous said...

since someone else already mentioned the Grass Roots, then Bambina Sola, the Italian cover by I Profeti of the Roots' very under-appreciated and not coincidentally extremely unsuccessful single, You're A Lonely Girl. It's actually better in Italian, it turns out.

I note an eerie silence regarding the Young Rascals in this blog today . . .


Sal Nunziato said...

Has anyone seen Jay Black perform lately? (I know the answer is no.) Well, I know someone who has, and in between Jay & the Americans hits, he does jokes that would make Lenny Bruce blush. Apparently, he works very blue.

Brooklyn Girl said...

I note an eerie silence regarding the Young Rascals in this blog today . . .


They were Italian??? :-)

Then again, nobody has mentioned the Four Seasons ...

Samwell said...

Weighing in with the metal perspective, I give you Luca Turilli's "Ancient Forest Of The Elves": Now, while not necessarily about Italian elves, there's so much of this awful stuff it has it's own sub-genre, Italian Fantasy Metal. Give that it looks to have cost 2 lira to make, I think we can assume it was shot in Luca's backyard. So, ancient Italian elves...

Anonymous said...

So, ancient Italian elves...

What I wonder is whether they consider themselves Italian, or solely Elvish. There's so much sensitivity about ancestry these days.


Anonymous said...

The Fratellis!!!

Blue Ash Fan said...

How about Rod Stewart's "Italian Girls" from his pre-sucking days?

And while we're on the subject of Italian girls, The Rolling Stones' "Some Girls."

"Italian girls want cars."

We won't even go into what the black girls want.

Ground Zero Mostel said...

And of course Dylan's Tangled Up in Blue

"....written by an Italian poet from the 14th century..."

Noam Sane said...

Idiot Wind also references Italy, in there somewhere. Too late in the thread for me to look it up.

My understanding about Jay Black is that he had to sell the rights to the band name to pay off massive gambling debts?

The whole Jay & The Americans saga should be a movie someday.

Dave said...

No love for Lou Monte?

"How Can I Be Sure" features Eddie Brigati's most naive and heartfelt vocal, and I always felt that the prominent accordion and unselfconscious romanticism made it seem their most Italian song.

I'll skip most of the obvious teen-idol suspects, including my main squeeze, Lou Christie, but it seems like many of us are Dion fans. I've followed him in all of his incarnations, from "I Wonder Why" to his gospel to his folkie stuff, including "Purple Haze":

And I've been thinking lately about Robert Thomas Avellino and his masterpiece, "Stayin' In," which contains one of my favorite opening lines: "I punched my buddy in the nose after lunch" and later, "So I let him have it in the cafeteria."

And finally the late, great Timi Yuro, a full-blooded Italian, even if she sounds as if she's from another planet:

Michael said...

Was going to suggest some ersatz rock by Nino Rota but I took a left turn and found this...
Piermaurizio Acqua sporca (Dirty Water)
Mondo Hysterico. oh my...

Thanks for nod to Holly, even in a cast she could rock the stockings off of any female rocker short of Chrissie Hynde

MJConroy said...

Lou Monte gas already been mentioned, but how about his "Dominick The Italian Christmas Donkey" -

Saw Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers do it, like this:
(cause we like something from this century).

Can't forget my friend Pat Dinizio
(who I'll be seeing at the Italian American Hall soon):

Anonymous said...

thanks for the Dion post. That helped erase the memory of hearing Donald Fagen's version of "Ruby Baby" foisted on me via NPR last week. Ye gads.

dSmith said...

Vito and the Salutations

dSmith said...

Lenny Cocco and the Chimes

J. Loslo said...

Let us not forget Donnie Iris (Dominic Ierace), who is responsible for both The Rapper (Jaggerz) and Ah! Leah!

Word verification: SUCKSYC

Anonymous said...

Willy DeVille’s Italian Shoes:

Or there’s always the Dyantones version:

~*Neon Serpent*~ said...

No love for Joe Dolce's #1 mega-hit?

Libby Spencer said...

All I can think of this soon after waking up is Carey by Joni Mitchell.

~Maybe I'll go to Amsterdam
Maybe I'll go to Rome...

Oh wait, would These Boots are Made for Walking by Nancy Sinatra qualify in the worst category?

And didn't she do a duet with her Dad - Something Stupid or am I imagining that one?

MBowen said...

10,000 Maniacs (Natalie Merchant, John Lombardo) If you thought they were just Lilith Fair wimps, check out this video.

Aerosmith (Steve Tyler, born Steven Tallarico) - You have to check out this 1974 Midnight Special clip just for the intro.

The Bongos (Richard Barone, James Mastro, Frank Giannini) They brought hipsters to Hoboken.

Paula Carino Her "Open On Sunday" is one of my favorites of this year, with "Mother, I Must Go To Maxwell's" as one of my all-time favorite songs.

Rosanne Cash, daughter of Johnny Cash and Italian-American Vivian Liberto. This is an interesting Beatles cover.

Concrete Blonde (Johnette Napolitano) - A lot of people hated them back in the day, but I thought they had some pretty decent songs.

Ani DiFranco - I liked the album that this came from, but I never got around to buying any of her other stuff.

The Felice Brothers - When these guys play uptempo, they can't be beat.

The Four Seasons (Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio, Charles Callelo) - I wonder what happened to the girl in this clip.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (Steve Van Zandt [born Steven Lento], Patti Scialfa, Danny Federici, and the half-Italian Boss) Surprised no one's mentioned these guys.

Johnny Thunders, aka John Genzale.

faze said...

And finally, we must recognize those Italians who basically brought us this whole wonderful business we call rock 'n' roll, and popular music: the Mafia.

befuggled said...

The Fleshtones and Roman Gods. I don't actually remember what the song was about, but can you get more Italian than the Romans? And my word verification word is delest, which sounds vaguely Latin, damn it.