On May 10th, 1961, Newton Minow, the head of the FCC, invited members of the National Association of Broadcasters to sit down in front of their television sets and watch all day long. He said, “I can assure you that what you will observe is a vaste wasteland.” And that was before cable. Well, as you might have guessed, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is all about the boob tube. Well, not exactly ALL. The last song has nothing to do with the idiot box. So why’s it there? Well, I was putting the set together and wondering why I don’t have a copy of Remote Control by The Tubes because their track “TV is King” would have been perfect, but well, we live in an imperfect world so I pulled out John Fogarty’s Centerfield because (A) I’ve got it and (B) it contains one of my favorite songs about television which ends with John quoting a riff from one of the great Creedence songs and, being unable to resist such things, I went with a segue instead of staying with the theme of the set. So there’s that.
You know, someone once said, “The human race is faced with a cruel choice: work or daytime television.” Of course that was before satellite radio… speaking of which, there are lots of songs about radio just like there are a lot of songs about television. Interesting thing is that the radio songs tend to be positive while the songs about television are universally negative. “I may be vile and pernicious, but you can’t look away. I make you think I’m delicious, with the stuff that I say.” We’ll hear that one from Frank’s Overnight Sensation along with Gil Scott-Herron explaining that the revolution will not make you look five pounds thinner because “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” And, despite that, we’ll be “Watching TV” with a group called Charlie, just before Bruce starts complaining about the programming. But first, from my scratchy copy of Glass Houses, here’s the piano man…
|Billy Joel||Sleeping With The Television On|
|The Blues Brothers||Theme from “Peter Gunn”|
|Bruce Springsteen||57 Channels (And Nothing On)|
|Gil Scott-Herron||Revolution Will Not Be Televised|
|Frank Zappa||I’m The Slime|
|Earle Hagen||Theme from “I Spy”|
|John Fogarty||I Saw It On TV|
|Creedence Clearwater Revival||Who’ll Stop The Rain?|
If you’ve been trying to figure out how that last track fits in with the previous seven, you can stop right now. The only reason we did “Who’ll Stop the Rain” is that segue we got coming out of “I Saw It On TV” where, at the end, Fogarty quotes one of his own riffs from that Creedence song, forcing me to do the mix. And that’s not the first time John’s been accused of playing with himself. He got sued one time for self-plagerizing. Mr Saul Zaentz, who I’m guessing doesn’t get Christmas cards from Mr. Fogarty sued John, claiming that his song “The Old Man Down The Road” was essentially “Run Through The Jungle” with different lyrics. The latter being one of the many songs Mr. Zaentz owned the rights to. But in a happy ending, a jury found in favor of Mr. Fogarty.
As for the rest of the set, our ode to the boob tube, we started with Billy Joel’s “Sleeping With the Television On,” followed by the Blues Brothers version of the theme to “Peter Gunn” a TV series that ran from 1958 to 1961. After that, a deep track from a band called Charlie, we heard “Watching TV.” Then it was Springsteen from Human Touch with “57 Channels (And Nothing On).” Then it was Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” Frank Zappa’s “I’m The Slime” and the theme to “I Spy.” Actually I should say ‘one of the themes’ to I Spy because Earle Hagen composed an original score for each episode of the series which, as far as I know, had never been done before and hasn’t been done since. So there’s our nod to the idiot box. And speaking of a vast wasteland, if you’re looking for the set lists or the show commentaries, you can find ‘em on that series of tubes known as the Internet, just drop by billfitzhugh.com and poke around. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.