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Has Papa Heard The Word, 'Bout That Surfin' Bird?
January 22, 2014 8:44 PM   Subscribe

Most pop bands at a promotional event where a recording of their hit is being played, make some effort to look as if they're actually performing live . A few disdain such artifice and take full advantage of such rare freedom from their instruments.

That was one of the members of The Trashmen*, doing an dance interpretation of their hit, "Surfin' Bird", on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. The Trashmen claimed to have conceived of the song on their own (interview starts at around 2:52), but since the two songs they had based it on had been hits for The Rivingtons only a few years earlier - "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" & "The Bird's The Word" - the appropriation was quickly noticed and some legal pressure was applied so that The Rivingtons were given proper credit.
In the 1977 The Cramps recorded a cover of Surfin' Bird, but until I saw the Trashmen performance I had never thought to search for the Cramps do Surfin' Bird live (NSFW).
[* Note: a bit more research reveals that the second part of the Trashmen video is actually comedian Andre van Duin]
posted by King Sky Prawn (38 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'll just leave this here... PIL
posted by evilDoug at 8:55 PM on January 22 [8 favorites]


OMG! I am attaching this clip into my email signature. I think that we can safely close this site down now, as its work seems to be done.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:56 PM on January 22


Excellent use of the "PapaOomMowMow" tag.
posted by elmer benson at 9:02 PM on January 22 [8 favorites]


My God, the Cramps are a national treasure.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:04 PM on January 22 [11 favorites]


Also, my kid's godmother is friends with (and I think, maybe, dated back in the day) one of The Trashmen, so there's that.
posted by elmer benson at 9:04 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


I clearly need to look up more by the Rivingtons.
posted by eviemath at 9:07 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


... a certain ornithological piece.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:43 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Nirvana on Top of the Pops.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 9:49 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I came here to mention the Nirvana TOTP appearance, which is probably the best modern example, and is still one of my favorite things.
posted by koeselitz at 9:56 PM on January 22


The Orb went on TOTP and just played chess while their song played, but I can't find a video of it.
posted by empath at 10:06 PM on January 22


My God, the Cramps are a national treasure.

Yes, the were.
posted by alex_skazat at 10:20 PM on January 22


Part of why I'm not a huge fan of dancing is because I'm pretty well convinced I always look like this guy does at about 1:25 in the first video when I do.
posted by The Gooch at 10:24 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I came here to mention the Nirvana TOTP appearance, which is probably the best modern example, and is still one of my favorite things.

Surprisingly (to us old cranks) that was 23 years ago.

I'm guessing there was some influence from the Pixies, there.
posted by alex_skazat at 10:24 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Holy shit, so Surfin' Bird's basically a mashup?

Also, that bird dance towards the end of the main link is the best thing.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:38 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


The Gooch: "Part of why I'm not a huge fan of dancing is because I'm pretty well convinced I always look like this guy does at about 1:25 in the first video when I do"

...why on earth would you not want to?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:53 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


Everyone reading this thread should make sure to stop whatever you're doing at some point (now's good) and say it out loud: PAPA OOM MOW MOW, PAPPA OOM MOW MOW
posted by carsonb at 11:11 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the next President of the United States
posted by fallingbadgers at 12:03 AM on January 23


Man, that Cramps clip has sent me back to [ROIO trading site] to get some DVDs of their early live shows...
posted by mykescipark at 12:30 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


I fixed the broken aspect ratio and GIF-ified the bird dance.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:57 AM on January 23 [34 favorites]


I fixed the broken aspect ratio and GIF-ified the bird dance.

You sir or madam are a national hero.
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:42 AM on January 23 [7 favorites]


Everybody in Iron Maiden can play every instrument and, more amazingly, sing with the voice of Bruce Dickinson.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 2:05 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


I'd just got this out of my head after watching Full Metal Jacket the other day. THANKS METAFILTER.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:34 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


If that Cramps clip isn't safe for your work, your work isn't worth doing.
posted by maxwelton at 3:10 AM on January 23 [4 favorites]


Seem to remember Faith No More doing something similar in the UK on "Top Of The Pops", in the era when that programme was still not letting bands play live. I seem to remember Patoon spent the entire song burbling his lips with his finger, and Billy was in a bee costume.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:48 AM on January 23


I fixed the broken aspect ratio and GIF-ified the bird dance.

One day this shall be used as the illustration of everything.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:58 AM on January 23


Nice post, King Sky Prawn, thanks!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:15 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]



I fixed the broken aspect ratio and GIF-ified the bird dance.

One day this shall be used as the illustration of everything.


We've hit The Singularity, people...
posted by mikelieman at 4:31 AM on January 23


Everyone reading this thread should make sure to stop whatever you're doing at some point (now's good) and say it out loud: PAPA OOM MOW MOW, PAPPA OOM MOW MOW.

As someone who grew up on country music, my tastes run more toward OOM PAPA OOM PAPA OOM PAPA MOW MOW.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:49 AM on January 23 [5 favorites]


Sure the Cramps, but there are even punker versions of this, like Ramones in Germany in 1978.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:19 AM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Anyone here ever seen Pink Flamingos?
posted by TedW at 5:56 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


> Anyone here ever seen Pink Flamingos?

Every single time I hear this song, yes, I see Pink Flamingos.

Thank you, John Waters.
posted by davelog at 6:39 AM on January 23


Until this moment, I had no idea Trashmen's Surfin' Bird was ever considered anything other than a cover. and suddenly now I am overwhelmed by the racial implications

But, man, the Cramps live--there is (was? it's been a while) a great show.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:13 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Was, sadly. Lux Interior died in 2009.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:21 AM on January 23


There is of course the famous story of Syd Barrett being so catatonic on American Bandstand that he didn't move his lips, although the video of the performance doesn't quite bear that out, Roger Waters remembers it that way (at least the rehearsals), while scholar-fans believe the incident may have been on the Pat Boone show.
posted by oneironaut at 8:27 AM on January 23


Anyone here ever seen Pink Flamingos?

More times than is probably healthy.
posted by malocchio at 8:43 AM on January 23


Man, that Cramps clip has sent me back to [ROIO trading site] to get some DVDs of their early live shows...
posted by mykescipark at 12:30 AM on January 23 [1 favorite +] [!]


Including The Cramps Live At Napa State Mental Hospital, I trust?
posted by Paul Slade at 9:34 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Of course, actual surfin' birds would be some sort of black swan event.
posted by ckape at 10:18 AM on January 23


And then there was the time that Muse played each others' instruments on Italian TV .
posted by pianoblack at 10:24 AM on January 23


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