CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE STUMBLED INTO "THE SHALLOW ZONE." WATCH OUT FOR THE ROCKS. SOME OF THEM ARE SHARP.
If you're looking for a blog with meaningful content on the important issues of the day, you've come to the wrong place. This is the shallows, my friend. Nothing but shallowness as far as the eye can see. Let someone else make sense of things. I like it here.

About Me

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I love my grown children, miss all the dogs I ever had, and I cry at the drop of a hat, I believe in true love, destiny, fairness, and compassion. If I could be anywhere right now, it would be the ocean. My favorite city is New York, but I am always longing for London and craving more time in Copenhagen. I'm drawn to desolate places, deserted buildings, and unknown byways. I don't care how society perceives me as long as my gut tells me that what I'm doing is right. I am interested in paranormal things, spiritual things, historical things, and things that glow at night. I like to drink, I smoke when I write, I can't stand small talk, and despite my quick temper, I would rather kiss than fight. I'm selfish with my writing time, a spendthrift with my love. My heart has been broken so many times that it's held together with super glue and duct tape. The upside is that, next time, I won't be tempted to give away what I no longer have to give. But I will let you buy me a Pink Squirrel.
MY SHALLOW MISSION STATEMENT

MY SHALLOW MISSION STATEMENT

MY SHALLOW MISSION STATEMENT
Not that there's any weight to it...
IN A WORLD FILLED WITH COMPLEX POLITICAL ISSUES, SOCIAL INEQUALITY, AND FINANCIAL UNCERTAINTY, I CONSIDER IT MY GIFT TO YOU, MY READER, TO OFFER THIS SHALLOW LITTLE HAVEN, WHERE NOTHING IS TOO SHALLOW, TOO INSIGNIFICANT, OR TOO RIDICULOUS TO JUSTIFY OUR ATTENTION. IN OTHER WORDS, IF IT'S NOT IMPORTANT....SO WHAT? NEITHER WAS MARILYN MONROE'S BRA SIZE. AND THAT STILL SELLS MAGAZINES, DOESN'T IT?
VIDEO OF THE MONTH

Monday, June 4, 2012

DRIVE, SHE SAID...AND TURN UP THE RADIO


I said good-bye to an old friend today. Well, in theory anyway. I sold my 1980 Toyota Celica GT Liftback, a lovely little automobile from the days of yore, which has been in storage for the last two years, but now, once again, will have a chance to do what she was created to do...namely, tool down the highways and byways of this fair state, her sun roof open, and her cherry red paint job gleaming with the reflection of the summer sky. I will miss her. Had some good times in that car and had hoped to have a few more, but life is nothing if not an endless array of twists and turns that take you to places you didn't expect to ever go. So although she is still parked outside my living room window as I write this, come Wednesdasy afternoon, she will have gone...and I will do my best to be happy that she has at least found a good home. And in tribute...because she deserves it...I offer you these following songs....my top five picks for best car/driving songs ever. Enjoy.


I used to do this song with my band, Syntonic, and still love to sing it in jam sessions. A collaboration between Neil Young and former bandmate, Stephen Stills, it was released in 1975 and peaked at #26 on the American Billboard 200, and at #76 on the UK singles chart. Like most Neil Young songs, its lyrics are pretty autobiographical, whilst, at the same time, oddly universal. Is he singing about a woman, a friend, or a car? Turns out the subject of song is actually the Three Chord King's beloved 1948 Buick Roadmaster hearse, which, apparently, replaced another beloved hearse he used to drive around Los Angeles in 1966, shortly before he joined Buffalo Springfield, where he first met Stills. And what more fitting tribute can one give to a car one has loved and been forced to let go than lyrics like "Long may you run, long may you run, although these changes have come, with your chrome heart shining in the sun, long may you run"? I can't think of any. Thanks, Neil Young.


To be honest, I had a hard time deciding which version of this song to post here. I love Cyndi Lauper's 1987 version, mainly because of her strong, soaring vocals on the chorus, but this 1992 version by the amazing Roy Orbison, while a bit more sedate, somehow seems more in keeping with the melancholy concept of driving late at night, compelled by a feverish desire to see that beloved person lying in bed (and possibly awaiting your appearance) in some distant location. Written originally for Orbinson by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelley, the song was actually recorded first by Lauper and reached #10 on both the American and UK charts in 1989. Orbinson's version didn't come out until after the legendary singer's death in 1988, following its remix by former Traveling Wilburys bandmate Jeff Lynne, when it was released as a single from the 1991 posthumous collection album Nintendo: White Knuckle Scorin', scoring a #7 spot on the UK charts and a posthumous Grammy for Orbinson. A third version, featuring Canadian pop diva Celine Dion, was released in 2003 and went to #26 on American singles charts and all the way to #1 in...you guessed it..Canada. But while Lauper and Orbinson rocked out on the tune, Dion's version comes off as a slick commercial dance number, which it pretty much is, and which is probably the reason it was used in promotional ads for the Chrysler Crossfire. But whoever happens to be singing it, as driving songs go, this one still revs my engine every single time.


Who doesn't love this single from the Beatles 1966 Rubber Soul album? It's not really about driving, of course, as much as it a euphemism for...well...you know. At least that's what I've always assumed anyway. But it's got a good beat and you can dance to it. And like any really good driving song, it's perfect for singing out loud along with the car stereo. Interestingly, when Paul McCartney first approached songwriting partner John Lennon with the tune for the song already in his head, he intended the initial lyrics to start with the line "You can buy me diamond rings." But Lennon, who was never shy about voicing his opinions, called the lyrics "crap" and pointed out that he and McCartney had already written several songs with lyrics about diamond rings. Looking back on that particular songwriting session, McCartney remembers it as being "one of the stickiest" the pair had ever engaged in, until Lennon came up with the idea of making the theme of the song "driving a car", at which point the lyrics finally began to flow. And the rest, you might say, is Beatles history.


It's hard to believe that this song, written by Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, and Bob Ezrin, and released by Alice Cooper (aka Vincent Furnier) in 1971, was one of the legendary shock rocker's first singles. It's been covered by a multitude of artists since then, including Megadeath, Manic Street Preachers, and as a duet featuring Axl Rose and Cooper. But, as is almost always the case, the original version is still the best, even if it is, taken literally, about driving over your girlfriend. But, hey, back in 1971, if you were a girl whose boyfriend happened to be Alice Cooper, what else could you expect? I mean...really. But whether or not Cooper ever really did have some girl under his wheels, this kick ass little ditty is a timeless tribute to that surge of power that comes from being the one in the driver's seat.


How many times have you heard a bar band cover this song? Probably as many as I have, not to mention the times that I've sang back-up to it in one of my own bands. It's just one of those songs. Sort of like the R & B version of "Freebird." Covered by countless artists since it was first recorded by Mark Rice in 1965, it was a song that, according to rock historian Tom Shannon, started out as a joke between Rice and his friend, fellow R & B artist Della Reese, who at that point in her life was hot for a Mustang of her own. Rice wrote the song in response to Reese's oft-stated desire, calling it "Mustang Mama", but later changing it to "Mustang Sally", at the suggestion of another friend, an up-and-coming singer called Aretha Franklin. Rice's recording of the song was a moderate hit for him, reaching #16 on the U.S. R & B charts, and that was that....until another singer, Wilson Pickett, who recorded it a year later. Pickett's version of the song went to #6 on the R & B charts, not only eclipsing the original, much more laconic version, but crossing over onto the American, UK, and Canadian pop charts and eventually gaining a status that can only be described as iconic. So iconic, in fact, that it's probably a safe bet that, even as I write this, there's at least one bar, somewhere in the world, where someone is singing, "Ride, Sally, ride" right now. And if there isn't, well, just give it a few minutes.

Well, there you have it...my top five car/driving songs in honor of my little red 1980 Toyota Celica GT Liftback. And speaking of little red cars, I would like to mention that, if it were at all possible, I would have liked to have included Prince's "Little Red Corvette" on this list as well. But it seems that Prince doesn't take kindly to having his music uploaded onto YouTube, which means that I wasn't able to download a version of the song for this post. Thanks a lot, Prince. But, then, I'd rather have a Toyota anyway. Seriously. Although I have been told that I look pretty good in berets...raspberry-colored and otherwise.

So, here's to you, old friend. Long may you run. Skol! xoxoxoxxoxoxoxxoxoxo

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