Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett – 1977

November 29, 2012

“Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt…” Ah, even the middle of winter feels like summer wihen Jimmy Buffett’s 1977 hit, Margaritaville blasts from the airwaves!

70s fo’ sho’

But it’s not winter!  It’s the beginning of summer down this part of the world and my drive around the waterfront the other day, (enjoying the sunshine, warm breeze whistling in through the open window) was made perfect by Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. Thinking it had its origins firmly in the 80s, my first thought was, “I wish this was a 70s music song. I could feature it on seventiesmusic.”

How wrong I was – 1977!  It’s a seventies song for sure.

turns out jimmy’s loaded

I knew James William Buffett is a successful author and businessman, but I didn’t realise how successful.

Turns out he has dibs in two restaurant chains named after two of his best known songs, “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “Margaritaville”. He was part owner of two minor league baseball teams, has two record companies, a beer brewing company. He has also leveraged the fame of Margaritaville for all it’s worth with a casino and video game named after it.

So, in all Margaritaville has been used to promote:

  • a restaurant chain
  • a casino
  • tourist destination and chain of stores (shops) selling Buffett-themed franchise merchandise in Jamaica, Mexico and the U.S.
  • Margaritaville Chips and Salsa
  • Margaritaville frozen seafood
  • Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker
  • Margaritaville Chicken Wings
  • Margaritaville margarita mix (manufactured by Mott’s)
  • Margaritaville bottled malt beverages
  • Margaritaville tequila
  • Margaritaville branded LandShark Lager
  • Radio Margaritaville, a radio station that broadcasts on the Internet and Sirius XM Radio
  • Margaritaville Soles of the Tropics Footwear
  • Margaritaville Outdoor & Beach Furniture
  • Margaritaville Apparel for Men and Women

All in all, it adds up to an income of about $US100million a year, or a net worth of around $400,000,000! That’s not bad, eh?

something about jimmy – the big 8

Up to 2003, amidst a few other tunes, Jimmy played the same eight songs at virtually every gig he gave. They came to be known as The Big 8.

The “Big 8” were:

  • Margaritaville
  • Come Monday
  • Fins
  • Volcano
  • A Pirate Looks at Forty
  • Cheeseburger in Paradise
  • Why Don’t We Get Drunk
  • Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

something else about jimmy – the big fall

On January 26, 2011 Jimmy was performing in Sydney, Australia (as opposed to Sydney, Alaska), when he fell from the stage.

One concert-goer said;

He just went over to the edge of the stage, like he had numerous times through the night, just to wave, and people were throwing stuffed toys and things at him. And he just took one step too many and just disappeared in a flash. He didn’t have time to put his arms out to save himself or anything, he just dropped.

Fortunately, Dr Gordian Fulde, one of Australia’s leading trauma surgeons was at the concert and close to the stage. He said;

I thought he’d broken his neck. I heard the clunk of his head on a metal ledge. He has a deep gash on his scalp, which is all right now. But at first I thought, ‘this guy is going to be a spinal injury.’

Jimmy regained consciousness within a few minutes, was taken to hospital and released the next day – shaken but not stirred (oh, that’s not a Margarita is it…).

margaritaville fax

  • Released in 1977, Margaritaville is lifted from Jimmy’s album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.
  • Jimmy wrote Margaritaville in Florida.
  • Margaritaville peaked at #8 on the US singles charts and #1 on the US Adult Contemporary chart.
  • The song has become part of pop-culture in the USA and was listed at #234 on the Recording Industry Association of America’s list of the Top Songs of the 20th Century.
  • Jimmy once said that Margaritaville was supposed to be recorded by Elvis Presley, but Elvis died the year it was to be recorded.
  • There is verse to the song which doesn’t appear on any album or single, although Jimmy sometimes sings it live. It goes;

Old men in tank tops,

Cruisin’ the gift shops,

Checkin’ out chiquitas, down by the shore

They dream about weight loss,

Wish they could be their own boss

Those three-day vacations can be such a bore.

Margaritaville lyrics.

margaritaville – jimmy buffett – 1977 – live video

margaritaville – jimmy buffett – 1977 – studio version

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Smokin’ in the Boys Room – Brownsville Station – 1973

November 22, 2012

Another, almost, 70s one-hit-wonder; Brownsville Station with their 1973 #3 hit, Smokin’ in the Boys Room.

i almost heard it

Okay, so I didn’t hear the Brownsville Station version. I heard the 1985 version by Mötley Crüe, but I much prefer the original, so I’m telling you about that one!

the brownsville boys

Brownsville Station came from Michigan. Getting together in 1969, they initially sang a lot of covers of any songs they liked; then came Smokin’ in the Boys Room.

Often considered a one-hit-wonder, the band actually had six top 50 songs.  The band stuck together for exactly a decade, disbanding in 1979.

The various members went their separate ways and, although remaining involved in music, never achieved any great level of chart success again.

It’s interesting to consider where the members ended up… I mean, what happens to members of a one-hit-wonder band when the band splits? Well, they all did okay.

Of the members;

  • Cub Koda, guitarist and singer, was a blues nut–an absolute fanatic. He continued to produce albums; some of his own songs, some compilations by other artists. He wrote two books, All Music Guide to the Blues, and Blues for Dummies. Cub died of kidney disease on 1 July 2000. He was 51.
  • Mike Lutz, also guitarist and singer, still lives in the band’s hometown. He’s a music teacher. After Brownsville Station he did a spot of record producing including Ted Nugent’s, Spirit of the World album. In the 1990s he toured with Ted’s band.
  • Bruce Nazarian, yet another guitarist and singer, is right up there in the digital media world. He runs the website He has published a number of books on digital media and is an Apple Certified Trainer.
  • Henry Weck, Brownsville’s drummer remains in the music industry recording and producing in Memphis.
  • T.J. Cronley joined the U.S. Marine Corps as a pilot. He retired in 1992 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and now flies for FedEx.

and the good news…

The good news for all diehard Brownsville Station fans – the band has reformed and released an album in 2012.

smokin’ in the boys’ room fax

  • Smokin’ in the Boys Room was recorded in 1973, the final track on Yeah!, Brownsville Station’s third album.
  • Smokin’ in the Boys Room peaked at #3 on the US singles charts.
  • The song’s producer Doug Morris (also the owner of Big Tree Records) hated this song. He refused to release it as a single. Then, a local FM station began to play it off the album. Requests for the song streamed into the record company. It had over 100,000 orders for the single before Doug changed his mind and released it—and the rest is history!
  • Smokin’ in the Boys Room was later covered in 1985 by Mötley Crüe. It peaked at #16 on the US charts. It was Mötley Crüe’s first top 40 single.
  • Smokin’ in the Boys Room lyrics.

smokin’ in the boys room – brownsville station – 1973 – video – live version

smokin’ in the boys room – brownsville station – 1973 – video – studio version

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(Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Öyster Cult – 1976

November 15, 2012

Although it only made #12 on the US singles chart, Blue Öyster Cult’s 1976 hit, (Don’t Fear) The Reaper was named best song of 1976 by Rolling Stone Magazine and, even today, consistently makes it onto “best of” lists.

the bells…

The music to Blue Öyster Cult’s fabulous (Don’t Fear) The Reaper is amazingly repetitive – the guitar riff of Donald Roeser, aka Buck Dharma, and the famous cowbell.

The song was originally recorded without the cowbell and then, at someone’s insistence (the band cannot remember who it was), overdubbed as a percussion backing.

The (Don’t Fear) The Reaper cowbell has become famous. In fact, in April 2000, Saturday Night Live featured a comedy skit entitled, More Cowbell. The six-minute sketch revolved around fictionalised version of the recording of (Don’t Fear) The Reaper on an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music.

Will Ferrell wrote the sketch in which he plays Gene Frenkle, an overweight cowbell player. Christopher Walken plays a record producer who asks Frenkle to “really explore the studio space” and up the ante on his cowbell playing. The rest of the band are visibly annoyed by Frenkle, but the producer tells everyone “I got a fever, and the only prescription . . . is more cowbell!”

The band LOVED the sketch. So much so that, “more cowbell!” has become a phrase the often shout at each other in jest.

trend setters

Blue Öyster Cult began back in 1967, and are another of those 70s bands that is still going! With their roots in Long Island, New York, the band have always been known for their music videos. When MTV premiered in 1981, Blue Öyster Cult were immediately on high rotation; so much so that they are credited with making a significant contribution to the development and success of the music video in modern pop culture.

it’s who you know

A number of people, besides the band members themselves, have written for Blue Öyster Cult. One such person is the great Patti Smith who has co-written a few of their songs.

Randy Jackson has also played bass for Blue Öyster Cult.

what’s in a name?

The name Blue Öyster Cult (which is pretty cool) came from a poem written by the band’s manager Sandy Pearlman. Sandy had also come up with the band’s earlier name, Soft White Underbelly. He grabbed that from Winston Churchill. Those are the words he used to describe Italy during World War Two.

The band did not like the name Blue Öyster Cult and settled for it as a work in progress. I think it’s pretty well stuck for good now!

(don’t fear) the reaper fax

  • (Don’t Fear) The Reaper is lifted from Blue Öyster Cult’s fourth album, Agents of Fortune released in 1976.
  • The song (Don’t Fear) The Reaper was written and sung by lead guitarist, Donald Roeser. It was released as a single in July 1976 with Tattoo Vampire on the B-side.
  • While the album version of (Don’t Fear) The Reaper is 5.08 minutes long, the single version is only 3.45 minutes.
  • This was Blue Öyster Cult’s highest peaking single reaching #12 on the US singles chart in November 1976. It peaked at #7 in Canada and #16 in the UK.
  • (Don’t Fear) The Reaper was named The Best Song of 1976 by Rolling Stone Magazine who listed at #397 on their list of the top 500 songs of all time.
  • (Don’t Fear) The Reaper is about the inevitability of death and the foolishness of fearing it. Lyrics such as “Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity” have led many listeners to interpret the song to be about a murder-suicide pact, but the is about eternal love, not suicide.
  • A number of bands have covered (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, including The Goo Goo Dolls. It has also appeared in a number of movies, most notably Halloween, The Frighteners and Scream.
  • Stephen King quoted the lyrics to this song in his novel The Stand, in which 99.9% of the US population is killed by a manmade disease called “Superflu.”
  • (Don’t Fear) The Reaper lyrics.

(don’t fear) the reaper – blue oyster cult – 1976 – video – studio version

(don’t fear) the reaper – blue oyster cult – 1976 – video – live version

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You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet – Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO) – 1974

November 8, 2012

Recorded as a joke, You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, released in 1974, became Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s biggest hit.

guess who it started with?

BTO’s have their genesis in Canadian band Guess Who. When Guess Who split, Randy Bachman and Chad Allan found themselves a drummer (Robbie Bachman) and formed the band, Brave Belt.

When they band began to tour Neil Young suggested they give C.F. “Fred” Turner a call and get him to play bass. And that’s how it was from 1971 – 1973.

a new name

The band’s manager suggested they needed a new name and, because Randy and Fred were pretty well known in the Canadian music scene, thought maybe it would be good to cash in by using their surnames somehow. One of the band members came across a trucker’s magazine called Overdrive. Fred suggested, Bachman–Turner Overdrive, or BTO for short.

two things i remember

Casting my mind back all those years (almost 40 of them now) I remember two things about BTO. The first is my brother bringing Not Fragile home. It was great. We both played it – loud. The second is the song Roll on Down the Highway. In the middle of the song the music stops and the band sings acapella with a strange thumping sound in the background.

Turns out the thumping is caused by Randy turning his guitar amp up loud and thumping the back of the guitar on his leg. (I tried it – couldn’t get it to work!).

heaps of hits

BTO went onto produce five Top 40 albums and six Top 40 singles in the 70s. That all adds up to nearly 30 million album sales worldwide.

and, they’re back!

The band took a break in 2005 but in 2010, Randy and Fred reunited for a tour and new album.

you ain’t seen nothin’ yet fax

  • You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet was written by Randy Bachman for Bachman–Turner Overdrive’s fourth Album, Not Fragile.
  • You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet was released as a single in 1974. The B-side was an instrumental track Free Wheelin’.
  • Hitting #1 on both the US and Canadian singles charts, You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet won the Juno Award for best-selling single of 1974. It peaked at #2 on the UK singles chart.
  • You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet has been plagued with the claim that it was ripped off from two Who songs: the chorus riff is very similar to The Who’s song Baba O’Riley, and the stuttering chorus vocal is reminiscent of My Generation. Randy says the stuttering was included as a joke for his brother, Gary, who had a stutter. It was intended that the stutter version would be sent to Gary and one without the stutter be released on the album. (BTW – thanks to speech therapy, Gary Bachman has since overcome his stutter).
  • The song that knocked You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet from the #1 spot on the US charts was John Lennon’s fabulous, Whatever Gets You Through the Night.
  • You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet lyrics.

you ain’t seen nothin’ yet – bachman-turner overdrive – 1974

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Dancing in the Moonlight – King Harvest – 1972

November 1, 2012

I love this song! King Harvest’s Dancing in the Moonlight, released in 1972, was their only ever hit.

americans in paris

King Harvest is one of those bands everyone has heard – thanks to Dancing in the Moonlight – but few people can remember their name.

They formed in Paris in 1970; four Americans touring the world and having a good time when they began to make music. They continued to be based mainly in Paris and London.

who mentioned orleans?

Band member Sherman Kelly wrote this song. His brother Wells was the drummer in the band. He later left and formed the band Orleans who also recorded this song.

one hit wonders?

Yep, they were really. Dancing in the Moonlight was released and went nowhere so the band split up. Then an American record company heard the song. They persuaded the guys to reform so that the single could be released in the US – the reuniting was short lived.

dancing in the moonlight trivia

Dancing in the Moonlight was played as the wake-up call for Daniel Tani, an astronaut on board the STS-120: Discovery mission. It was also used by Wal-Mart for their US TV commercials.

dancing in the moonlight fax

  • Dancing in the Moonlight was written by Sherman Kelly in 1968 and recorded by his band, Boffalongo.
  • King Harvest recorded the song in 1970 and released it as a single. It went nowhere on the charts and the group disbanded. Then, in 1972, they reformed, re-released the song.
  • Dancing in the Moonlight peaked at #13 on the US singles chart. It was the title song of King Harvest’s 1973 album. It was the band’s only hit.
  • The song failed to chart in the UK until 2000 when the band Toploader recorded it.
  • Cover versions have included releases by: Orleans, Liza Minnelli, Baha Men, Toploader, and Jamiroquai.
  • Dancing in the Moonlight lyrics.

dancing in the moonlight – king harvest – 1972 – video

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