MUSIC IS THE DRUG: 003 – Mr. Melody

Some of these songs have haunted me for decades, gotten stuck in my head, driven me crazy, shaped my then innocent perspective, etc. This list could have been so much more damaging and I wanted to punch myself in the head so many times with some of the music that was bubbling to the surface so I tried to include a little of that but not so much that it would ruin anything, maybe? I apologize in advance but let’s talk about some of this madness.

Mr. Melody – Natalie Cole (1976) – In ’76 I was seven. I have no recollection of ever hearing this song back then but she busts into a scat solo around 1:30 in the track and THAT has been stuck in my head since 1976. It has driven me crazy as it will run through my head and I’ve sung part of it for so many people asking if they knew what it was to no avail. Then the internet came along although it wasn’t until maybe a year ago that the mystery was solved. I was in the grocery store with my kids and I heard the scat solo on the overhead music and freaked out that I was actually hearing it again after so long.  My boy had the Shazam app on his phone and we finally had the answer. I’m almost sand now though. That was a life-long question, finally answered. I don’t know if I feel more whole or slightly empty now without that quest.

Manhattan Transfer (1970) – There are a few tracks by Manhattan Transfer on this playlist. Besides being a great vocal act they were the first live show I ever saw somewhere in the mid-70s at a fair in Oregon one summer when we were visiting relatives. I don’t really listen to them with a lot of regularity but I have a lot of their songs permanently stuck in my head.

Goin’ Down – The Monkeys (1967) – Burned into my brain with one dose, they played the video of this live performance at the end of an episode of The Monkey’s TV show and I think I probably saw it once as a small child. It wasn’t until YouTube that I was able to track it down and see it again. See for yourself:

Nat King Cole / Julie Andrews – When I was in 4th grade I had to perform in a barbershop quartet and these are the two songs I learned. I remember wearing Mork &. Mindy suspenders and a bow tie that didn’t match and maybe my blue Catholic School uniform shirt and hating life at that point being new in the middle of the school year from another state. I still know all the words. No, I won’t sing them for you on command like a trained monkey.

Frankenstein – The Edgar Winter Group (1972) –  This was more about the album cover than anything. It gave me serious heebie-jeebies as a child but we all loved hearing this loud in the living room so you had to reconcile yourself to look at him in order to achieve that goal. More:

Hocus Pocus – Focus (1971) / Dreamer – Supertramp (1974) – Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to go pee, you stumble down the dark hallway, there’s a weird smell in the air and you can hear this loud in the living room, adults laughing, etc..

Frank Zappa – Sheik Yerbouti (1979) – You’re 10 years old, you’re told you’re not allowed to listen to this record, so what do you do the first chance you get? You listen to that record, obviously. The two tracks that I chose for the playlist roll one into the next and are amazing in so many ways. There’s a lot of great material from this man but this is where it all began for me. Zappa!

Rubber Biscuit – The Blues Brothers (1978) / Yakety Sax – Boots Randolph (1963) – I have vivid memories of spending the night at my grandparent’s house with my cousins who were a few years older than me. SNL was still new and fresh and we’d be excited to try and stay up to see it. I remember my cousin Mark would often bring some records and we’d play songs, he had some Blues Brothers and Rubber Biscuit made me laugh then. Still does, it’s the scatting, we’ve come full circle at the end of the playlist with that mouth fun. We’d “stay up late” waiting for the parents to come home from wherever they had gone and we’d fall asleep on the floor watching SNL and Benny Hill and all the other inappropriate shows for young minds of that era.