Today's Elder Music post is from Peter Tibbles – I'll let him tell you about himself:
I'm an Australian from a small country town with a strange name (the town that is; oh me too, I guess) who now lives in the big smoke (Melbourne). I'm divorced with no kids (which means, of course, that I never grew up). A mathematician by training, I've worked for more than 40 years in the IT industry (which may be some sort of a record). In a nutshell:
I drink wine
I listen to music
I read books
Often at the same time.
There will be something in this article guaranteed to offend everyone. At the very least, it should make you go "Eeeuuuu yuck". I'll consider myself a failure if it doesn't.
These are songs you refuse to admit to anyone else that you like (but really do). Or is that just me? I'm happy to shout it from the rooftops or write it in a blog. I liked these songs when they came out. Well, most of them. Okay, some of them. The "best" of these came from that interesting musical period: the cusp of the fifties into the sixties. These are (mostly teenage) Death Disks.
I'll start at the top. At the pinnacle of Death Diskdom (try saying that three times quickly) was the king of them all, the all time champion Tell Laura I Love Her. This was recorded by Ray Peterson.
Incidentally, there was a follow up to this called Tell Tommy I Miss Him by Skeeter Davis (and others). I won't bother with this as it's the same song with different words told from Laura's point of view. "Reply" songs were a bit of a fad around that time.
The next, about the same time, and the only rival to "Laura" is Mark Dinning's Teen Angel. Now, you have to have some sympathy for the previous bloke driving around trying to earn some money for a wedding ring, but I have nothing but scorn for the Teen Angel of the title. After all, "I pulled you out and we were safe, but you went running back". What a cretin.
I don't know what the Everly Brothers were thinking of when they recorded Ebony Eyes. Well, they needed something for the flip side of Walk Right Back, I suppose. It seems that they have never performed the song in concert. Indeed, this recording was the only time they've sung it (or so they say).
The song Endless Sleep by Jody Reynolds is technically not a death song as no one actually died in it. At least I don't think so - the ending's a bit enigmatic. It just sounds as if it should be one (if it isn't).
Pat Boone. Ah, Pat. What a wonderful song you gave us in Moody River. I can almost forgive you for your appalling Fats Domino and Little Richard covers because of this one. Almost, but not quite. Fortunately, here in Melbourne we had a great DJ called Stan Rofe, on radio station 3KZ, who played the originals, so it wasn't till much later I heard Pat do those songs. However, back to Moody River. What's with this "vainest knife" business, Pat?
There's a song about real people, not made up ones as I've featured so far, that must be included. This doesn't make it any better than the others though. Indeed, it's probably worse. The real people mentioned in it are Charles Holley, Jiles Richardson and Richard Valenzuela. Richardson wrote a song that was on my short list called Running Bear but I thought that it wasn't as bad as this one so it missed the cut. This is Tommy Dee, The Three Stars.
Alright, now to the really appalling stuff. This next song even I can't bear to listen to, but for the sake of you all I've done just that. I wouldn't recommend that for amateurs. Don't try it unless you've spent a lifetime listening to dreadful songs. Even then, I had to have a good lie down in a darkened room for several hours to try to get over it.
I should warn you that anyone suffering from diabetes definitely skip this one. Bobby Goldsboro Honey.
Oh dear, that's awful. Sold a lot, though.
Getting away from the 50s/60s cusp to the 70s we come to my all time favorite death song. I still have a 45 of this in my box. It's a little different in style from the others but I'm including it because I like it. This one makes up for Honey. It makes up for Hello, This is Joannie (Remember that one? I couldn't bring myself to include it). Here is Jack Kittel, Psycho.
When Jimmy Cross recorded I Want My Baby Back he pretty much made the Death Disk obsolete. No one could take it seriously after this one.
But wait, there's still one more. Last and definitely least we have Pat Campbell with The Deal. Anyone who doesn't roll around on the floor laughing while listening to this has a heart of stone.