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!!!
St. Charles - Jefferson Starship
Slow Turning (Charlie Watts)- John Hiatt
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.
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.
Brian Wilson by the Barenaked Ladies
My fave remains Alex Chiton by the Replacements
the Bobbettes--Mr. Lee
Kissing Johnny Ramone
by The 99ers
So Long Frank Lloyd Wright
by Simon & Garfunkel
Jackie Wilson Said - Van Morrison
Janie Jones - The Clash
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed - Allman Brothers
Andy Warhol - David Bowie
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
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
The (Albany) Weasels - Calling Larry Storch
The (Teaneck) Weasels - Ol' Captain Al
Captain Al ;-)
Neil Young: Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black): Johnny Rotten
John Fogerty: Zanz Kant Danz: Saul Zaentz
Lorne Greene: Ringo
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.
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”
More name checks than I can list: The Fleshtones - American Beat 84
Billy Bragg - Levi Stubbs Tears
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)
Yet another Dylan:
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
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.
Damn autocorrect, “Matty Groves”…
"Timothy Leary's dead" - Legend of a Mind by Moody Blues
Martin Scorcese by King Missile. An absolute classic.
The Kinks: Victoria
Marcus Garvey - Burning Spear
Stand Down Margaret(Thatcher)
-The English Beat
Julia - Beatles
Sympathy for the Devil (the Kennedys) - Stones
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)
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"
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