Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Knighted for what?!

I've often argued (to anyone those who will listen) that there are some music "artists" who are so ingrained in the system, so famous, so obscenely over-marketed...that they could literally take some of their fecal matter, shape into a 5" diameter disc and sell it as their newest album.

And it would go platinum.

What really amazes me is when radio stations will play the awful, awful songs of these artists, rather than the songs that made them legends.
My case and point is "Sir" John Elton.

I could go on a real rant here about knighting people who clearly are incapable of defending a woman's honor during a battle on horseback, but that's way off track.

Elton John has written some of the greatest songs in the history of elevator music, from his timeless classic "Candle in the Wind" to "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Crocodile Rock," and of course "Rocket Man."

However, if you look up his Greatest Hits Album (how are there only 11 tracks? George Strait had 51) you'll notice one song that defies logic. That one song so insanely horrible that when you hear it you can't help but go "Wow, that is a stupid, awful song."
I of course am referring to "Benny and the Jets." Between the overly simplified piano composition, the fake audience applause track that was dubbed in after recording was done, and John's whistlingly nasal falsetto screaming "BENNY!" over and over at the end of the song, the listeners are left feeling like they were just mentally violated.

How, in God's sacred name, did this song become popular? At one point in 1974 it was a No. 1 single!
Could it be, it was released after Elton's super-popular "Candle in the Wind," and drafted that song up the charts then passed it to reach number 1? Could it be that it was sandwiched between that song and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," another legendary song by John, so that it becomes enmeshed in the mid-1970's fervor for all things Sir Elton?

The point is, even Elton didn't like the song. At the end of recording, he and the guitarist agreed the song was "really odd" and Elton was against having it released as a single, thinking it would fail miserably.
Yet here I am, hearing it on the radio. Again.

There are many other examples of this phenomena, where an artists unashamedly horrendous song gets way more air time than it should. The Beastie Boys song "Brass Monkey" would be another shining example, where "Sabotage" rocketed them to fame, and "Brass Monkey" should have sealed their coffin. But spend 2 hours listening to FM 96.5 The Buzz in Kansas City (a "cutting-edge" "alternative" radio station) and you're destined to hear "Brass Monkey" or "No Sleep Til Brooklyn".

Anyway, the next song that came on the radio was Journey's "Don't Stop Believin" so I feel much better.

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