Monday, May 23, 2005

He Ain't Nothin But A Hound Dog

Over at Naked Blog people have been suggesting unintentionally rude song lyrics, a game that children of all ages can play.
In an uncharacteristic attack of lateral thinking this made me wonder about unintentionally funny song lyrics.
At the moment I can think of only one but it's the one that would always be top of my list. It comes from one of the most nauseating songs ever written: Honey by Bobby Goldsboro.

This wretched song used to be on most pub juke boxes at one time and, unfortunately, got played a great deal - usually I think by women, many of whom have a defective gene when it comes to distinguishing between genuine pathos and toe-curling sentimental bilge.
One could easily nominate the entire lyric in the Unintentionally Funny Category but the line that always made me choke on my beer was "and I surprised her with a puppy."
This always conjured up the following scenario:

"Just one more push, Sweetie."
"My name's Honey."
"One more heave then, Honey."
"There you's beautiful!"
"Is it a boy or a girl?"
"'s a puppy."
"I always knew he was dog rough but this is ridiculous."

Any songs that paint the wrong pictures in your head or make you laugh when you're supposed to be weeping?
(Nothing by Jimmy Webb please. However justified, I shall delete it and you will rot in Hell).


At 3:38 PM, Blogger Merkin said...

Although not quite in the "pop" arena, when I was at school (with all the compulsory "muscular Christianity" that it entailed) one of the regular hymns at morning chapel was Lord of Creation. This includes the line "Your bondage is freedom".

To an immature adolescent, this was unbearably funny, and many a schoolboy was hauled up before the teachers and given a dressing down about "filthy minds", "God's words" etc. But I ask you, "Bondage is freedom"? Tee hee!

I bet even Jimmy Webb didn't even write that line...

At 7:10 PM, Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

If we are going upmarket, how about "And we like sheep" from Messiah?

At 8:36 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Reading the full hymn via your link I found it quite distasteful. It reminded me of the motto on the gates of the concentration camp: 'Work is Freedom'.

As we've strayed into the religious arena and talking of sheep, when I was a child the phrase 'the Lamb of God' always made me think of lamb chops and mint sauce.

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Alan said...

What always amuses me is when people plainly haven't bothered to listen to a song and use it in a totally inappropriate way. The number of times I have seen The Police's "Every Breath You Take" (a song about an obsessive stalker), or REM's "Everybody Hurts" (about suicide) used as romantic love songs is without number. My favourite though was always Sheryl Crow's "All I Wanna Do Is Have Some Fun", which when it was in the charts was regularly referred to by DJ's as "the feelgood hit of the summer." Oh yes, a song about two sad alcoholic barflies who spend every day drinking themselves into oblivion, real feelgood sentiment there!

At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Peter said...

I always thought "Every breath" was about state surveillance. (The sort we've got now, almost everywhere.)

At 11:13 AM, Blogger robin said...

My favourite is also in 'Honey'.

The singer explains that all is not well with his wife, who he clearly treats a a child. He continues:

blah blah not at home
dumdeedum all alone

'the angels came'.

Va va voom! So she's off for a life of freedom, petrol fumes and unlimited amounts of sex on pillions, leaving her drip of a husband to look at a tree and weep because it is no longer a twig.

(Is this the only recorded use of 'twig' in a pop lyric?)

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Never thought of that one Robin but whatever kind of angels came she was lucky to escape from that dipstick.
There's also a great irony in the lines:
"'Cause I would know
That she'd been sittin' there and cryin'
Over some sad and silly late, late show."
Er, yes, and you've just written this embarrassing, mawkish, emetic, torrent of piss.

Alan, I'm guilty of that myself because I don't pay close attention to most pop lyrics. But DJs have less excuse, apart from having brains made of blancmange.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger robin said...

It's turning into a literary goldmine.

The line about "came home unexpectedly / and caught her crying needlessly / in the middle of the day' always hinted at some dark secret, some spectre stalking their marriage. So despite, as you say, writing a piece of unrestrained mawkish snot jerk, the author actually managed to write a screenplay for a weird and twisted film exploring the disturbed psycho porridge of small towm America in the repressed Nixon years.

And I love that sort of unintended consequence.

I'm off to look up 'Summer The First Time" which is a much better song all round and see if it is by the same writer. Something rather like that actually happened to me...

At 1:06 PM, Blogger robin said...

Blow me down! They are both by Bobby Goldsboro himself. I think that makes 'Honey' worse as he was capable of far superior work and therefore, I would argue, should have known better.

'Honey' was so dire and always sounded so feeble to me that I was convinced the singer must have been forced into compliance very reluctantly, and only after his collection of porcelain frogs had been taken hostage and held over a car crusher by the record company.

No, wrong. That was just the best he could do.

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Summer The First Time is certainly a better lyric, though I've never heard it sung.
Why was I not surprised to find he also wrote Little Green Apples which also brings me out in a rash. And that song also features 'puppy dogs'.
Retching violently, I moved on to The Straight Life (his song, not a personal lifestyle change) and found the apparently contradictory lines:
"Treatin' the ladies to corn on the cob
Leavin' the straight life behind."

We can say two things with certainty about Mr Goldsboro:
He doesn't like the letter 'g'.
His songs feature more puppies than a bog roll commercial.
I could say a lot more but, if his fans find this, I'll be stoned to death with used Kleenex tissues or wake up to find a puppy's head in my bed.

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Peter said...

Oooo - get you two with your airs and graces. I thought pop music was about one thing and one thing only - making money. In that case, surely Honey is the very Beethoven Fifth. Must have sold zillions. Who was it said nobody ever went broke underestimating the public's taste?

At 8:35 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

You're right. A website claims Honey was one of the best-selling records in the world. But a small proportion of pop music makes lots of money as well as having some lyrical and musical quality.

At the same time, there's nothing wrong with ephemeral rubbish without any pretensions, in which category I would cite Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up, some Bros and some Take That. The important thing is never to take pop music seriously, not even the good stuff, or you end up as demented as Paul Gambaccini.

At 8:51 PM, Blogger robin said...

Ooo, get you two, dismissing the real vox pop.

Money, yes but Michelangelo got paid too. Price, or fee, is not a reliable guide to quality, style or content. Having said that it's definitely true that rich people make worse art than poor people. But they can afford better art than poor people. So what does that prove? Nothing, except that late night commenting is generally a bad idea.

I was going to add an old musician's joke to the list of unintentional jokes. To whit the old jazz standard:

"What is this thing called love?"

which morphs into something like

"What's this thing called, love?" fairly effortlessly.

Er, that was it.

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Love those kind of 'punctuation jokes'.

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Norbert Trouser-Quandary said...

'Willie and the Hand Jive' has always made me smile, especially since I first heard it done by Cliff Richard and I can't really imagine him hand jiving with his willie all that often.

But then, you never know.

At 5:20 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Never heard that song.
I always rather assumed that was the only kind of action Cliff's willie ever saw. But that's probably very unkind of me.

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