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May 1, 2007 8:18 PM   Subscribe

"If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer..." ShelSilverstein.com bills itself as "the Official Site for Kids" but, if you're familiar with Sheldon Allan Silverstein's ecclectic career, you don't have to be a kid to enjoy it. Shel was best known for his books and poetry, but he was also a prolific songwriter, working extensively with Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show [sorry, Tripod link]. He also wrote Johnny Cash's hit "A Boy Named Sue" and was posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2002. More songs and stories here. And his amazingly extensive Wikipedia page is here.
posted by amyms (13 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previous Metafilter posts related to Shel Silversteih here and here.
posted by amyms at 8:19 PM on May 1, 2007


I knew he wrote "A Boy Named Sue", but I didn't know he also wrote "Sylvia's Mother" (or the other Dr. Hook songs). Thanks!
posted by yhbc at 8:35 PM on May 1, 2007


I distinctly remember being extensively exposed to Where the Sidewalk Ends in first grade. We had a teacher who was tone deaf, so whenever it was time for a school concert, instead of a song, our class would learn and recite in unison a Silverstein poem instead.
posted by evilcolonel at 9:51 PM on May 1, 2007


Are the beans magic, or is it the plate?
posted by yohko at 11:15 PM on May 1, 2007


Yep, ol' Shel was a very talented fellow!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:01 AM on May 2, 2007


He also wrote The Father of A Boy Named Sue. I honestly didn't know he wrote the original too though.
posted by fermezporte at 5:12 AM on May 2, 2007


There's another great non-Tripod Dr Hook site at http://www.sylviasmother.com.

And I can personally attest that those named Sylvia of a certain age really don't like it when you sing "And the operator says forty cents more for the next... three... minutes..." But then again they were never named Jennifer or Gloria, so this is their moment of song infamy, such as it is.

Shel also wrote some wonderful freakout songs such as Stacy Brown Got Two (about a man who is "double-blessed"), I Got Stoned And I Missed It which pretty much sums up certain experimental stages of life.

He had quite a bit of his poetry published in Playboy and other magazines. Many counter-cultural types love "Freakin' At The Freaker's Ball" and "The Great Smoke-Off", both featured on the page above, but that page starts with an incredible opus of his called "Rosalie's Good Eats Cafe", an extensive portrait of life at a late-night greasy spoon diner. A C/W singer named Bobby Bare recorded a slightly shorter version of the poem in the 70s, but the entire thing is better. Too bad I can't find a good version of it that's not on a white-on-black webpage.
posted by Spatch at 5:46 AM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Cover of the Rolling Stone on TV : awesomeness ensues
posted by pokermonk at 5:55 AM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Some of the animations to go along with the poems in the first link are awesome. I just watched a rhinoceros play jump rope.

Scans of a 4-full-page Shel Silverstein cartoon published in a 1979 Playboy that I found in the woods. SFW
posted by bobobox at 6:53 AM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


His own albums are terrific too, including the response song "Father of a Boy Name Sue," the hysterical "I Got SToned and Missed It," and my favorite, "She's Using Quaaludes Again."
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:53 AM on May 2, 2007


He did all of that and rocked the bald-with-beard look better than pretty much everybody else who's ever done it.
posted by dogwalker at 8:12 AM on May 2, 2007


Thirty years ago I was with my daughter, who had been raised on Shel's poems, when she spotted his coffee table "adult" cartoon book. She opened it to "The Blowjob" wherein a woman, aptly positioned, inflates her fellated subject until, in the last frame, they float away. As she was only nine, I closed the book, grinned, and hustled my daughter along.
posted by ahimsakid at 10:44 AM on May 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


Here's a good reminiscence of Ol' Shel by Columbia's best current literary grump, William Price Fox. My grandmother used to take me to the State House during the summers, and I wish I had caught one of these performances, that'd be a celebrity run-in I could tell my grandkids about.

(and here's one more tangentially about him, but also encompassing margaritas, Key West, Baptists and telephone poles)
posted by 1f2frfbf at 1:00 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


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