Friday, January 29, 2010


Two of the most famous songs that people don't like too much, are "Yellow Submarine" and "Love Story." They both figured in the obit of Erich Segal.
Segal's death on January 17th was not well-covered, not even with the awful back story of him spending the past 25 years dealing with Parkinson's disease. He was an interesting guy...while he got a lot of money and fame via high profile pop culture screenplays ("Love Story" and "Yellow Submarine") he translated Greek plays and taught at Harvard and Yale. But that's not why you're here. Illfolks is a music blog. You can go read an obit on the guy elsewhere. Here's where you'll download an appropriately annoying version of "Yellow Submarine" and a strange cover of "Love Story," and ponder the odd way that familiarity breeds contempt.
"Yellow Submarine" is in nobody's Top 20 of Beatles songs. First, it was sung by Ringo. Second, you resent how catchy it is, don't you? Third, after a few listens, you've realized it makes no sense at all. We do NOT all live in a fucking yellow submarine, nor would we want to. The song is, in a word, inane. And yet for decades now, we've accepted it, sang along to it, and put up with Ringo flogging it to death on his "All Starr" tours. That's ill, folks!
There are plenty of annoying versions of the song (besides Ringo's) but you can't go wrong with "El Submarino Amarillo" from El Mustang, sung in Spanish, the official language of California.
As for "Love Story," everybody hated it like they hate Hallmark cards. Except people love to get Hallmark cards, and when the movie version of "Love Story" was concocted, it was calculated that a hit theme song needed to be sweet, in a sorrowful minor key, and have a simple melody that could even be sold via music boxes. While vocal versions add some awe to the awful, let's go with Harold "Curly" Chalker's lap steel guitar version, which is haunting in every possible way. Chalker, by the way, was a great session man who navigated between jazz, country and rock, and even turned up on "The Boxer" for Simon and Garfunkel. We remember you, Curly! Why, soitanly! And goodbye, Erich Segal.

YELLOW SUBMARINE IN SPANISH Instant download, no captcha codes, porn ads or pop-ups.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A fourth reason to loathe "Yellow Submarine" - Donovan had a hand in writing the lyrics and is within the chorale on the fabs recording!

And what can one say about the man who dumped "Jennifer Juniper" and "Mellow Yellow" upon the World?