I didn’t grow up in a house with a lot of music. I’m not sure if that’s because my parents just didn’t care about music or because they lost most of their possessions in a house fire shortly after they were married.
We had exactly three records in the family collection. Simon & Garfunkel’s “Greatest Hits,” Elvis Presley’s “Moody Blue,” which we could never touch because the blue vinyl was going to be worth something someday (according to my dad), and the K-Tel compilation “Looney Tunes.”
It looks like a kids’ record, doesn’t it? The perfect Bugs Bunnyesque thing that children could listen to and sing along with and love with all their fanatical kid hearts. Oh, and we listened to it. Over and over and over again.
But take a closer look, do you see Frankenstein there on bass? That should give you a small hint that things are not all ducky in Smurfville.
This record scared the shit out of me. In fact, hearing some of these songs still makes my heart race a little, a sort of flight or fight adrenaline flowing through my body. Especially the opening song, “They’re Coming to Take Me Away.”
As soon as the dude starts in with the “Remember when you ran away and I got on my knees and begged you not to leave because I would go berserk?” my body tenses and by the time he gets to the ho-ho-hee-hee-ha-ha I feel like running for the nearest bed and hiding under the covers.
“Little Eeefin’ Annie” here isn’t much better. By the way, what the hell does eefin mean?
A few weeks ago Sister #2 and I trolled the Internet looking for these songs. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the Rock & Roll book I want to write. It is tentatively titled (in honor of the Largeheartedboy) If I had a Penis & a Beard I’d be Chuck Klosterman (Code Name: IIHP&BICK).
These songs form some of my very earliest musical memories. We didn’t have the Looney Tunes comp in our three-record collection for very long. While I can remember listening to it when we lived in the mobile home, I cannot remember it making an appearance on any stereo in the Blaine house we moved into when I was five.
I often wonder if the songs would be carved into my memory if it weren’t for the physical reaction I had to so many of them. I’m also a little amazed that I still (after over thirty years) remember all the words to “Shaving Cream.”
(this one scared the crap out of me too)