Bowling With Joe Walsh

March 21, 2012

I noted not long ago that my relationship with the music of the Eagles is complicated.

(a complication compounded by never being able to remember if it’s The Eagles or simply Eagles)

Whatever the name, the Eagles were done just about the time I wandered in and started listening to music. The Long Run was released as I was entering sixth grade and the thumping Heartache Tonight was guaranteed to be heard blaring from the bowling alley juke box where those of us not old enough to drive spent hung out.

(actually, the bowling alley was a hub for even the high school kids on winter afternoons)

I Can’t Tell You Why is still etched into my memory from Q102’s top 102 songs of 1980. I’d taped much of the countdown from the radio and sandwiched between Christopher Cross’ Ride Like The Wind and Gary Numan’s Cars, both of which I loved, was the wistful Eagles’ hit.

Though that was the Eagles’ swan song – at least until hell froze over in the ’90s – their music remained inescapable on radio.

Scanning the radio dial, sifting through the heartland rock of Journey and Styx, the soulful pop of Hall & Oates, and the more modern sounds of Duran Duran and Missing Persons, it was a given that I would come across Hotel California.

The song was less than a decade old, but from the perspective of a fourteen-year old, it was ancient.

It didn’t help that the Eagles were one of the few rock acts that our town’s radio station – which leaned toward light pop and country – would play.

The Eagles were old and something that my parents could handle over morning coffee.

So, I mostly dismissed the Eagles and their music with a shrug, but I soon became openly hostile toward the group as radio pummeled me with the songs.

But time marched on and, as I finished high school, I was listening to the radio less. Absence made the heart grow less hostile and, over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the Eagles and dig songs like Take It Easy, Lyin’ Eyes, and Life In The Fast Lane when I hear them.

Not that I think I’d ever want to go bowling with the band.

(though I certainly wouldn’t express this thought to a cabbie in the wee hours)

I can imagine Don Henley being surly and arguing over foot fouls or he and Glenn Frey might be hitting on some underage girl working at the snack bar.

(I also imagine both spending an annoying amount of time fussing over their hair)

Of course, I have no doubt that bowling with Joe Walsh would be more fun than killing a drifter.

Here are four songs by former US presidential candidate Joe Walsh…

Joe Walsh – Life’s Been Good
from Sounds Of The Seventies: 1978 (1990)

Being a rock star sounds like a lot fun.

During the late ’80s, Glenn Frey did commercials for some fitness club. Upon seeing one, a roommate mumbled, “Joe Walsh is sitting on a couch somewhere, right now, with a bong and laughing his ass off after seeing that.”

Joe Walsh – All Night Long
from Urban Cowboy soundtrack (1980)

I didn’t see Urban Cowboy in the theater and I’ve seen less than a few minutes here and there on cable throught the years, but I do remember hearing the sweaty and raucous All Night Long a lot that summer.

It was likely my introduction to Joe Walsh. A few years later, a high school friend would be a devoted fan who probably did more to promote Walsh’s music during those years than his record label did.

Joe Walsh – Space Age Whiz Kids
from You Bought It – You Name It (1983)

The high school friend had a knack for knowing street dates and I recall his anticipation for the arrival of You Bought It – You Name It.

If I’d hadn’t been aware of the album from him, I would have known soon enough as the quirky Space Age Whiz Kids got played a lot on one of our rock stations.

I heard a lot of Joe Walsh on the radio during the early ’80s, both his ’70s stuff – which seems to be better regarded – and songs from then-current new releases.

Joe Walsh – The Radio Song
from Got Any Gum? (1987)

Got Any Gum? brought me and a college roommate more hours of delight than probably anyone in America. The title and the back cover photo of Walsh mopping a floor caused us to laugh like hyaenas.

(it was a staple when we worked a shift together at a record store)

The critics hated the album and perhaps it was best heard as a college kid working in a record store. Still, there is a goofy, bubble gum charm to The Radio Song.

At Least Cooper Huckabee Got To Keep His Pants On*

July 7, 2011

I was channel surfing the other day and happened upon a station where the closing credits to the movie Urban Cowboy were rolling.

Perhaps because I can be amused by something as simple as a piece of toast, I watched as the names scrolled across the screen. One caught my eye – Cooper Huckabee.

It was an unusual name and it was nowhere near the top of the cast, but it made me wonder about this fellow as I had never heard of him and Urban Cowboy was released in the early ’80s.

Was this Mr. Huckabee’s fifteen minutes of fame?

I wondered what his life was like during the time the movie was filmed.

Was he a struggling waiter/actor who had finally landed a role in a major motion picture?

Did he make excited phone calls home (maybe some small town in the hinterlands of Iowa) telling family and friends that he had finally made it?

Did his parents breathe a sigh of relief?

Did their disappointment that young Cooper had abandoned a college scholarship or their plans for him to take over the family feed store to pursue an acting career turn to pride?

Did his hometown newspaper do a feature story on him and the mayor give him the key to the city on “Cooper Huckabee Day” as most of the town’s 2,000 residents watched?

Did he believe that this would be the stepping stone to his becoming the next Robert DeNiro or Al Pacino?

Does he regret abandoning the family business now that it is thirty years later and his career hasn’t followed such a star-bound trajectory?

I also wonder about Don McManus.

McManus has appeared in over 80 movies and television programs in mostly bit parts, including an episode of Seinfeld.

He also had a role in The Shawshank Redemption, a movie that is one of the most critically acclaimed pictures of all time.

If you’ve seen the movie, he appears in one of the iconic scenes, one in which Tim Robbins’ character locks himself in the warden’s office and plays an opera recording over the prison loudspeaker. It’s a powerful scene and one in which McManus gets most of his screen time.

Unfortunately, much of that screen time consists of him sitting on a toilet, reading a comic book as he, in his character’s words, “pinches a loaf.”

I wonder if he has mixed emotions about being in such a pivotal scene of such an acclaimed movie with his trousers around his ankles. I wonder if his grandchildren will brag about his cinematic career, pointing to that scene as the highlight of his work.

Maybe my musings concerning these two fellows are rooted in wondering what it’s like to get so close to your wildest dreams only to fall just short of it being everything for which you might have hoped.

I didn’t see Urban Cowboy when it was in the theaters during the summer of 1980 but – though I wasn’t quite interested in music, yet – I do recall hearing several songs from the soundtrack on the radio at the time.

Here are four songs that were on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart during this week in 1980…

Ali Thomson – Take A Little Rhythm
from Take A Little Rhythm

Ali Thomson is not only from Scotland, but his brother Doug was the bassist for Supertramp.

I remember hearing Take A Little Rhythm often at the pool during the summer of 1980 and it shuffles up periodically on the iPod. Yet, I couldn’t recite to you more than a few words of lyric aside from the titular ones.

I don’t want to know. I just want it to be a laid-back little song that feels like summer to me.

George Benson – Give Me The Night
from The George Benson Collection

Guitarist George Benson cut his teeth performing straight-ahead jazz with organist Jack McDuff as well as performing with the great Miles Davis. In the ’70s and early ’80s, Benson also notched a number of pop hits with songs like This Masquerade, On Broadway, and Turn Your Love Around.

Give Me The Night – written by Rod Temperton who would pen several hits on Michael Jackson’s Thriller – is a silky smooth ode to nightlife with a light disco feel.

Joe Walsh – All Night Long
from Joe Walsh’s Greatest Hits

Like Cooper Huckabee, the laid-back groove of All Night Long appeared in Urban Cowboy.

I should probably delve into Joe Walsh’s ’70s stuff as it seems to be fairly well regarded. I know most of his stuff from the ’80s as my high school buddy Bosco was a fan and, during the latter half of the decade, a college roommate and I were greatly amused with Walsh’s Got Any Gum?

I also recall Glenn Frey, Walsh’s Eagles bandmate, doing commercials for some health club at the time. One popped up late one night while I was watching television with another roommate. The commercial ended and, still staring stupified at the screen, he noted, “Joe Walsh is sitting on a couch somewhere, right now, with a bong and laughing his ass off after seeing that.”

The Pretenders – Stop Your Sobbing
from The Pretenders

From the debut by The Pretenders, the jangling Stop Your Sobbing is a cover of a song written by future paramour of lead singer Chrissie Hynde (Ray Davies) and produced by a man (Nick Lowe) who would later write a song (I Knew The Bride When She Used To Rock And Roll) alledgedly about the ex-wife of a former co-worker of mine.

That must mean something.

*reconfigured from a July 22, 2008 post while my head heals

Dear Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas II: Yes We Have No Pajamas

January 5, 2010

About six weeks or so ago, I noted some of the things that had led folks, via search engines, here.

It’s still a lot of folks searching for sleepwear.

And there are still questions which need answering. So, here are a few of your queries with the actual search engine topic in parenthesis…

Shouldn’t Joe Walsh have his own line of pajamas?
(Joe Walsh pajamas)

Not surprisingly, lots of people searching for pajamas end up here. And somewhere in the world there is someone that is searching for Joe Walsh pajamas.

When I think of Joe Walsh, I think zany, so, yes, Joe Walsh should have his own line of pajamas. Joe should also host a children’s show, wearing pajamas and regaling boggle-eyed toddlers with his songs and antics.

One friend in high school was a massive Joe Walsh fan and, in college, a roommate and I would always play Walsh’s then-current Got Any Gum? album when we had shifts together at the record store where we worked.

If Joe ever does get his own children’s show, he’s already got a theme song…

Joe Walsh – Life’s Been Good
from But Seriously, Folks…

Is it true that Elton John is afraid of frogs?
(elton john frogs)

Had Sir Elton seen the early ’70s horror flick Frogs! on the CBS Late Movie, he very well might be. It certainly spooked me a bit when I was a kid.

Personally, I have a feeling that he has little interaction with frogs. I can’t picture Elton camping or going on a fishing trip in Wisconsin.

(I’ve read that the world’s frog population is disappearing at an alarming rate – as frogs become more scarce, could they gain cachet, replacing the chihuahua as the pocket pet for the wealthy and vaccuous?)

I can imagine that Elton is a fan of The Muppets and it wouldn’t surprise me if he plays The Rainbow Connection when he’s hanging out at home, belting out a stirring rendition with no one around to hear it.

Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson) – The Rainbow Connection
from The Muppet Movie soundtrack

What kind of crazy stuff is in Bob Marley’s…
(what kind of crazy stuff in bob marley’s)

What kind of crazy stuff is in Bob Marley’s…what?

Recipe for meatloaf?
Glove box?

I’m not sure why and I don’t recall ever seeing a photo of Bob Marley in a car, but I picture the reggae superstar driving a slightly-worn, early ’60s Mercedes – robin’s egg blue with a soccer ball in the backseat.

And in the glovebox? Gum, a French road map, a small wrench, three golf tees and a scorecard, and a box of Milk Duds with four of the candies inside and one rolling loose in the compartment – leftover from the last time the Wailers piled into the car to catch a night of kung fu flicks at the drive-in.

Whiteray ponders songs that are always a comfort and I’d have to have a few from Bob Marley.

Bob Marley & The Wailers – No Woman, No Cry [Live at The Roxy]
from Songs Of Freedom

Would you hit Alton Brown?
(would you hit alton brown)

In a post that includes Bob Marley, Muppets, and Joe Walsh, there is no possible way that I can advocate violence directed at Mr. Brown.

Now, Paloma seems to think Alton is becoming a bit of a diva on Iron Chef (I don’t see it), but neither of us have any reason or desire to pummel him. I dig the guy.

And, he looks like Thomas Dolby.

Concrete Blonde – Violent
from Group Therapy