Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ill-Ustrated Songs #12 LAURIE/STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN - Dickey Lee

Here's one of the great teen-death songs, a campfire horror tale set to music. Unusual for any Top 40 hit, this was one continuous story, evolving through three minutes to the punchline. Like any good anecdote, it was fun to re-tell, or to hear again and again.

It's similar to "One Step Beyond" the one about the girl who is scared a maniac is on the loose, asks her boyfriend to go outside and investigate...and then is petrified by a scratching noise at her front door. When it finally stops, she cautiously opens the see her boyfriend with an ax in his head, his fingernail worn out from trying to scratch at the door for help.
Or...variations on "Just Beyond the Cemetery," (told by Boris Karloff on "Tales of the Frightened,") in which a motorist is helped by a girl who then vanishes as if she was a ghost. The idea with horror quickies is to leave the listener momentarily shaken, if not stirred.
Dickey Lee "told it" well, his adenoids at just the right level of innocence and cringe. It's hard not to sound dorky while singing the word "sweater," and his song's character is quite a sympathetic fool, missing obvious clues ("an angel of a girl.")
Dickey Lipscomb (born September 21, 1936 in Memphis) had a regional hit in 1957 called "Dream Boy" on the Tampa label. In 1962 he ironically covered "Tell Laura I Love Her" on the album "Patches" (as if THAT suicide song wasn't enough). In May, 1965 "Laurie" peaked at #14 and led to another album...this one larded with cover-songs with girls' names in them: Nadine, Marie, Annie, Gina, etc. Dickey vanished, then reappeared on RCA with seven C&W albums (1971-76). Dickey's biggest hit was a song he wrote for George Jones: “She Thinks I Still Care." More recently (ok, ten years ago) he co-wrote the Tracy Byrd hit "Keeper of the Stars."
Lastly from Mr. Lee: "My advice to any would be songwriters: If you kind of want to do it forget it or do it as a hobby. If you really want to do it you will know because outside of your family (in most cases) you will sacrifice everything it takes to hang in there. My first BMI check was for 69 cents and I cashed it because I needed the money!"

Laurie "Strange Things Happen" Instant Download or Listen on Line. No pop-ups, codes or porn ads

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