Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Highs and Lows of Mark L. Irons' Mythical Jukebox

After performing an inexplicable search for David "I may be tiny" Yarritu, I ended up at a page that asks the question:

If someone gave you a classic Wurlitzer jukebox, what songs would you put in it?

Much of Mark L. Irons' personal answer to this question is what one would expect, but Irons had two choices that deserve mention - one inspired, one deplorable.

12. 15 Storey Halo, ABC

Years and years ago, when I owned cassettes, I had ABC's "How to Be a...Zillionaire!" Remember when albums had sides? (Despite my experiementation, most albums had an even number of sides.) Side 1 of Zillionaire had a song that didn't sound lush or English. Frankly, it sounded like synthetica from New Jersey, which is what gave the song its appeal. Of course, the lyrics (about an overinflated ego) didn't hurt either. However, about 2/3rd of the way through the song, it took a sharp detour to lush beauty - all the more jarring after its Casiolike Jersey Boys introduction.

37. Don’t Box Me In, Stan Ridgway & Stewart Copeland

On Fly on the Wall, Stan tells the amusing story of the genesis of this song and its briny couplets. If this is what comes from him working under pressure, let’s put the screws to the guy.

I don't need to know what Stan said about the genesis of this song, because it's probably a made-up story. What really happened is that some music industry honcho was sitting around, talking to his devoted assistant.

HONCHO: Hey, you know that the Police is pretty hot, wouldn't you say?

ASST: Yeah, boss. The Police are really hot, especially that Sting dude.

HONCHO: Yeah, and you know who else is hot?

ASST: You know, boss. Who is it?

HONCHO: That Wall of Voodoo! They sound really good!

ASST: You're always right, boss.

HONCHO: Well, what would it sound like if the Police and Wall of Voodoo played together?

ASST: Excellent idea, boss!

HONCHO: But it would cost a lot of money to get all of them involved.

ASST: You're right, boss. It's a terrible idea.

HONCHO: So let's get one Wall of Voodoo guy and one guy from the Police, and have them come up with a song that sounds just like both bands!

ASST: Now that's smart thinking, boss? But who are you gonna get?

HONCHO: Um...get the guy who left Wall of Voodoo, and the blonde guy from the Police.

ASST: Sting?

HONCHO: No, the other one.

ASST: I'm on it.

You've heard the result - a song that tries to be a little Wall of Voodoo, and a little bit of Police, and ends up being the second worst song released in the 1980s ("Pleasure Little Treasure" by Depeche Mode takes the top spot.)

Luckily, Ridgway subsequently redeemed himself with his subsequent three solo albums, but that's another story.


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