Friday, March 31, 2023

La Fin de la Semaine Essay Question: Special "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (or Broads)" Edition

From 1972, please enjoy the late great Michael Nesmith and his fabulous psychedelic-country rock reimagining of the venerable "Bonaparte's Retreat."

The song title derives from a wordless fiddle tune dating back at least to the 1800s, although Nesmith's version is a cover of a 1949 country hit by Pee Wee King.

In any case, the Nes record is perhaps my all time favorite of his post-Monkees musical efforts. The swirling 12-string and pedal steel instrumental sections between the choruses could easily have been done by some San Francisco ballroom band of the late 60s -- Moby Grape, anyone? Whatever, it's a great performance.

And now to business. To wit:

...and the best or worst rock (or related genre) song referencing a real life person by name in the title or lyrics is...?


Have a great weekend, everybody!!!


getawaygoober said...

St. Charles - Jefferson Starship
Slow Turning (Charlie Watts)- John Hiatt

M. Bouffant said...

Songs off the top of my head, no judging: BÖC's "Joan Crawford". And another one that mentions Hitler & some of his friends, "Me-262".

Jackie Susann & Tomata du Plenty are name-checked in X's "Adult Books".

"Judgement in a Babylon" by Lee Perry is great. Gets all over Chris Blackwell.

edward said...

Elvis Costello -Episode of Blonde. Name checks--- Elvis
Tom Waits (or Daniel Johnston) - Name checks Harry Harryhausen
Modern Lovers: Pablo Picasso
Johnathan Richman has songs about Vermeer, Walter Johnson, Harpo Marx, and more
Johnny Horton - Battle of New Orleans. Name checks - Andrew Jackson
Kim Carnes- Bette Davis Eyes

that's enough for now.

BG said...

Eleanor Rigby

Anonymous said...

Brian Wilson by the Barenaked Ladies

steve simels said...

My fave remains Alex Chiton by the Replacements

joybt said...

the Bobbettes--Mr. Lee

Anonymous said...

Kissing Johnny Ramone
by The 99ers
So Long Frank Lloyd Wright
by Simon & Garfunkel

The Kenosha Kid said...

Jackie Wilson Said - Van Morrison
Janie Jones - The Clash
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed - Allman Brothers
Andy Warhol - David Bowie

Gummo said...

Abraham, Martin & John - Dion
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll - Bob Dylan
George Jackson - Bob Dylan
Frederick - Patti Smith
Bonzo Goes to Bitburg - The Ramones (and if Bonzo wasn't Reagans's real name, it shoulda been)
and 2 songs that reference the same person:
That's It For the Other One - Grateful Dead
Cassidy - Bob Weir

Anonymous said...

Here's one that names a heap of people from all walks of life and rhymes the couplets:
"Brian Wilson and William Tell,
Harry Belafonte, Alexander Bell
Archangel Gabriel, Richard Hell
and Anton Miller"

The Church: Welcome

- Paul in DK

Allan Rosenberg said...

The (Albany) Weasels - Calling Larry Storch

The (Teaneck) Weasels - Ol' Captain Al

Captain Al ;-)

Alzo said...

Neil Young: Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black): Johnny Rotten
John Fogerty: Zanz Kant Danz: Saul Zaentz
Lorne Greene: Ringo

Tinpot said...

Dan Bern has lot of 'em. 'Tiger Woods',Isner and Mahut, and the one about going down on Madonna are maybe the best of them.
But the winner is...
'Rufus is a Tit Man' by Loudon Wainwright III.

Anonymous said...

Marie Provost - Nick Lowe
Switchboard Susan - Nick Lowe
“When I’m with you girl I get an extension
And I don’t mean Alexander Graham Bell’s invention”

JD Goldberg

Gummo said...

More Dylan:


edward said...

More name checks than I can list: The Fleshtones - American Beat 84
Billy Bragg - Levi Stubbs Tears

pete said...

NRBQ - Captain Lou Albano
the Band - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Stoneman's Cavalry)
Little Feat - Brides of Jesus
CSN - Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (I can't believe nobody thought of this one yet)

Gummo said...

Yet another Dylan:


daudder said...

Tony Wilson Said - Badly Drawn Boy
Be my Yoko Ono . Barenaked Ladies (hat-tip to anon)
Picasso's Last Words - Macca
Free Man in PAris/Carey -Joni Mitchell

cthulhu said...

Warren Zevon, Genius - “Albert Einstein was a ladies’ man / while he was working on his universal plan / He was making out like Charlie Sheen / He was a genius…” (Mata Hari also gets name-checked in this song, one of WZ’ best late-career numbers)

And WZ again, Detox Mansion - one of my favorite Zevon songs from any era, name-checks Liza Minnelli and Elizabeth Taylor; features R.E.M. (minus Mr. Whiny) as the backing band, with a scorching lap steel lead part from the late and very lamented David Lindley.

Speaking of R.E.M., It’s the End of the World as We Know It seemingly name-checks everyone and is a kick-ass song to boot.

Fairport Convention, Marty Groves - well, there was almost certainly a real person with that name at some point…

Billy Joel, something about fire :-(
The Cult, their song ostensibly about Edie Sedgwick, I’m too lazy to look up the title, but it’s awful.

cthulhu said...

Damn autocorrect, “Matty Groves”…

elroy said...

"Timothy Leary's dead" - Legend of a Mind by Moody Blues

Anonymous said...

Martin Scorcese by King Missile. An absolute classic.

Alzo said...

The Kinks: Victoria

Anonymous said...

Marcus Garvey - Burning Spear
Stand Down Margaret(Thatcher)
-The English Beat


BG said...

Julia - Beatles
Sympathy for the Devil (the Kennedys) - Stones

Squints said...

Nick Lowe -- All Men Are Liars (Rick Astley in that hilarious first verse)

Warren Zevon, then the Drive-By Truckers -- Play It All Night Long (Lynyrd Skyryrd & RVZ)

Phil Cheese said...

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd love to head to idyllic "Oklahoma USA" with Ray Davies & The Kinks:
"But in her dreams, she is far away,
In Oklahoma U.S.A.
With Shirley Jones and Gordon McRea"