Want to know more about your favorite song? Try SongFacts:
June 21, 2002 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Want to know more about your favorite song? Try SongFacts: sample entry: Song: "The Things That I Used To Do" by Guitar Slim Date: 1953 Songfacts: Slim claimed he was offered a song from God and a song from The Devil. He chose this one, the song from The Devil. Covered by many guitar greats, including Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Chuck Berry. Slim's innovative playing, including the use of distortion, became widely copied. A rare R&B song that was popular in the North and South. Most hits at the time were specific to a certain region. Proceeds from this allowed Slim to feed his liquor habit. He died of pneumonia at 32. Slim often played guitar with his teeth or behind his back when he performed this, theatrics that would be copied often in the years to come.
posted by lilboo (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I always wondered where those smarmy public radio hosts got their information.

Half the time I listen to them, it's either really interesting, or else I'm screaming at the radio: "shut up and play more music"...
posted by jkaczor at 8:34 AM on June 21, 2002

Hash Pipe:
MTV wanted Weezer to change the title to "Half Pipe" for the video so they could appeal to the skateboard crowd and avoid the drug reference. Weezer refused, so MTV played the video with the word "Hash" obscured. They listed the title as H*** Pipe.

9 Sumo wrestlers are in the video. 6 are real wrestlers, the other 3 are just fat guys.

Cool link. Thanks.
posted by bunktone at 8:34 AM on June 21, 2002

Nice concept, but not enough songs yet to be very useful. And alas, the quality of data is not all as good as the example provided in the link description. They misspelled Chris Isaak's name. Grrr.
posted by rushmc at 8:48 AM on June 21, 2002

Does an artist really reveal himself? Maybe they say what we want to hear, not always. Still cool link, now I know the words to "teen spirit": under arm deodorant. Wow now when I roll it on, I'm really rock'n roll'n. \!!!/
posted by thomcatspike at 8:48 AM on June 21, 2002

okay, i was disappointed to find only one beastie's song, and it's not the best song, but this is priceless:

Back in the day of naval wars being fought with the old fashioned cannons, they would stack the cannonballs in a pyramid. This conserved
space and made it easy to load them. However, they would roll around the deck if there weren't something to hold them in place. To solve
this problem, they used a large metal plate with indents in which to place the bottom rows of cannonballs. They found that if they used iron,
when it got wet the cannonballs would rust, so they used brass and called it a brass monkey. Brass tends to really expand and contract with
the weather, and when it got really cold the indents would get smaller, causing the cannonballs to be dislodged, hence the saying, "It's cold
enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey". (thanks, Ben - Langley Air Force Base, VA)

posted by Ufez Jones at 8:51 AM on June 21, 2002

Yeah the information for most songs is not really noteworthy. Good concept, seen a lot of sites take this approach these days.
posted by riffola at 9:06 AM on June 21, 2002

Even if the info isn't particularly noteworthy or even true, it always works better if you say it out loud to yourself in a Casey Kasem voice. (thanks, Ben - and now, here's the Beastie Boys doing "Brass Monkey").
posted by yhbc at 9:12 AM on June 21, 2002

This site was a Yahoo Pick of the Week a couple of weeks ago. I tried it then and could not view much other than 404's and other errors. A little better this time, but it now looks like it's getting killed again. It doesn't seem to be able to handle much traffic.
posted by internal at 9:18 AM on June 21, 2002

Guitar Slim was also one of the people who inspired Frank Zappa's guitar playing....
posted by mkelley at 9:24 AM on June 21, 2002

Back in the day of naval wars

I thought the naval wars were between Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera?
posted by rushmc at 9:39 AM on June 21, 2002

so who puts this information up there? this is not true (nirvana, teen sprit):

The title comes from a brand of deodorant marketed to young girls.

as for this:

The distinctive bridge was originally at the end of the song. Producer Butch Vig had them move it to the middle.

I've never heard this tid bit before. Hmmmmm. And by bridge they must mean the solo.
posted by folktrash at 9:55 AM on June 21, 2002

The title comes from a brand of deodorant marketed to young girls.

Well, "Teen Spirit" deodorant certainly exists (I used it all through middle school). This Salon story seems to elaborate further on the origins of the song, but I don't know how accurate it is.
posted by brookedel at 1:50 PM on June 21, 2002

My favorite song wasn't on the Songfacts site, but I like the idea, though there's dosen't seem to be a shortage of info on the song.
posted by jonmc at 2:27 PM on June 21, 2002

I think everything claimed for Guitar Slim--the distorted guitar, playing the guitar with his teeth or behind his back, inspiration to Frank Zappa--could be more easily attributed to Johnny Guitar Watson, whose distortion laden Space Guitar was cut in 1950, for example, and the trebly tone of his guitar sound has been cited by Zappa on several occasions. Watson also was noted for playing the guitar behind his back and with his teeth as well--ultimately all this showmanship, if not the Zappa inspiration, can be traced back to Texas's own T-Bone Walker, the founding father of electric blues guitar playing. But then Guitar Slim, like Watson, was another guy from Texas and all the Texas guitarists took after Walker in most respects...

That's my hair splitting for the day--so far...
posted by y2karl at 3:51 PM on June 21, 2002

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