Sunday, November 29, 2015


Just in time for the holidays, here's Adam Sandler in front of a live, ecstatic audience doing his 4th revision of "The Chanukah Song."

Once again Sandler jeers and irritates anti-Semites and gets some cheap laughs from everyone else, including Jews who need a break from feeling alienated, alone and persecuted. Since "Star Wars fever" is being inflicted on us yet again, it's no surprise that Adam notes half-Jew Carrie Fisher and quarter-Jew Harrison Ford. The world may not need to know that the "two guys from Google" are Jewish, but there's also the pride that ice-cream makers Ben & Jerry are. Sandler notes that David Beckham is one-fourth "Chosen" and mentions Joseph Gordon Levitt, in case there was doubt. With typical Jewish self-denigration, his list this time also includes disgraced Subway sandwich pitchman Jared Fogle. Jared's in jail for hooking up with 16 and 17 year-old hookers. Mostly, Adam's intent is to point out positive and un-stereotypical Jewish celebs and tweak the small, sharp noses of those who think the world would be better off without Jews.

Anti-Semitism seems so well indoctrinated from childhood that even now, when Muslims are blowing up buildings and concert halls, Jews are the ethnic group most often targeted with abuse. The big problem today isn't Islam, it's Judaism and Israel. Well, I guess one vents rage on the easiest target. Kick over Jewish tombstones and people shrug. Draw Mohammad and you lose your life.

Chanukah has very few "hit" songs. The greatest Jewish songwriters...wrote Christmas songs. Chanukah might have a nostalgic Jew knocking off a chorus of: "Dreidel dreidel dreidel, I made it out of clay..." That's about it. That's why Sandler's "The Chanukah Song" is now declared by most everyone to be the most popular song for the holiday. There's no competition.

(Let's parenthetically add "Chanukah in Santa Monica," one of the few times Tom Lehrer's came out of retirement to record something new.)

Sandler hit a nerve with "The Chanukah Song." After all, any time some pinhead troll declares all Jews should've been gassed in World War II, the reply is "look at this list of famous Jews who've contributed to the world!" Like Groucho Marx and Bob Dylan and Jonas Salk and Albert Einstein. Name dropping is the way of biting back. Oh, you say Jewish girls are ugly? How about Bacall? How about Gina Gershon? Natalie Portman? Scarlett Johannson? Oh, you skinhead prick, you wish Jews were all exterminated by Hitler? You love The Three Stooges and Rush's Geddy Lee and Van Halen's David Lee Roth. Hey, redneck, who wrote "Boy Named Sue" for Johnny Cash? Shel Silverstein. Etc. etc. etc.

So it is, that Sandler, singing in that retarded voice that alternates between a wheedling whine and class-clown cacaphony, continues his list and his self-parodying schmucky attempts to find rhymes with Chanukah.

The new song is just in time for Chanukah but Sandler might still be tasting the charges of "TURKEY!" heaped at him during the Thanksgiving tradition of naming the year's worst films and worst performers. In the spirit of "no thanks," Sandler got a load of hot critical gravy dumped all over him.

No relation to the "Golden Turkey" awards, this version is the work of NY Post critic Lou Lumenick, who assembled it without the help of Kyle Smith, his colleague and probably the best film critic in town. Lou did get some snark-assistance from Reed Tucker and Sara Stewart. Aside from hating Jews, folks do hate celebrities. How quickly "fans" love to turn on their rich and famous idols, and let 'em know that the CUSTOMER is in control, and that stars should humbly realize they are in "the people pleasing business."

After roasting that turkey called Sandler, the critics kept on stuffing.

Edited down a bit, the list includes:

Hugh Jackman, camping it up way off the charts as villains in the 10-megaton bomb “Pan’’ and the “E.T.’’ clone “Chappie,’’ easily two of the least charming family movies of all time.

The puerile satire “The Interview." The Wachowski siblings’ “Jupiter Ascending,’’ starring Eddie Redmayne as a flamboyant, whiny bad guy who gives Jackman a run for his money in the camp sweepstakes. “Fifty Shades of Grey,’’ a tame S&M movie for masochists only.

George Clooney in the expensive sci-fi megaflop “Tomorrowland.’’ “Fantastic Four’’ (panned even by its own director); “Annie’’ (we can’t unsee Cameron Diaz’s appalling Miss Hannigan); the wearyingly sexist “Entourage”; the execrable “Jem and the Holograms”; the vile, dung-scented “Vacation”; the 30-years-too-late flop “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”; and the deservedly DOA “The Transporter Refueled.’’

“Jurassic World’’ (for Bryce Dallas Howard running in high heels alone); “Avengers: Age of Ultron", “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1’’ (effectively a two-hour trailer); “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation," “Insurgent’’ (yawn); “Ted 2’’ (barf); “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’’ (why?); “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’’ (ditto); “Hitman: Agent 47’’ (yes, there was an earlier one); and the truly repellent “Hot Tub Time Machine 2."

The lamentable Johnny Depp fiasco “Mortdecai”; Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law in the morbidly unfunny “Spy”; and, yes, Daniel Craig sleepwalking through the deadly “Spectre.’’

Meryl Streep rocking out in an epically bad hairdo in the vapid “Ricki and the Flash." Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore shamelessly collecting paychecks in the ludicrous “Seventh Son.” Sean Penn in the quickly disappearing “The Gunman.” Reese Witherspoon throwing away her “Wild" comeback with the dopey “Hot Pursuit.” And Michael Caine enhancing his 401(k) (but not his reputation) with “The Last Witch Hunter.”

Two reasons Robert Redford isn't going to win an acting Oscar this year: The moronic hiking comedy “A Walk in the Woods" and his spectacularly failed attempt to rehabilitate disgraced TV legend Dan Rather in the ironically fake “Truth."

Bradley Cooper in consecutive flops “Serena,” “Aloha,” and as a nasty chef in the half-baked, much-postponed and twice-retitled “Burnt."

Nicolas Cage for the practically straight-to-VOD stinkers “The Runner" and “Pay the Ghost.” John Travolta, of “The Forger.” And the once-great GĂ©rard Depardieu, letting it all hang out as a thinly disguised Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the unbelievably awful “Welcome to New York." Oh, and repeat offender Robert De Niro, as a geriatric Mr. Fixit in “The Intern."

Why Mia Farrow should just let Woody Allen destroy his own career: “Irrational Man," the Woodman’s worst movie ever, ineptly recycles themes from his own “Match Point" and “Crimes and Misdemeanors" while offering up Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix as his latest and arguably least appealing May-September romance ever.

Peter Bogdanovich’s painfully unfunny “She’s Funny That Way," which even brought back his long-ago muse Cybill Shepherd; and Michael Mann’s deadly and expensive hacking thriller “Blackhat,’’ which somehow managed to flop even when the Sony hack was the top story in the news.

PS, not all those bad movies can be blamed on Jews, since they no longer "run Hollywood" (or the banks). Maybe it's time to go get paranoid about Latinos or Muslims instead? "I keed, I keed," to quote Triumph, the Insult Comedy Dog (who has a Jew up his ass and doing his voice). Go ahead, Adam...

ADAM SANDLER The Chanukah Song Part 4

Thursday, November 19, 2015

THE GALENS' annoying "BABY I DO LOVE YOU" Poing Poing Poing!

The first time I heard "Baby I Do Love You," I couldn't believe how annoying it was. I was not alone. Norman Galen, leader of what he probably thought would be a white version of The Platters, was appalled.

Over the men's soothing lullaby singing, and the icky-melange of his female vocalist's sugary emoting…there was a relentless POING POING POING noise. It wasn't there when he and his group recorded it. Where'd it come from? What was it?

The over-dubbed novelty could've become the soundtrack to an aspirin commercial: "Distracted by a pounding headache? Is your peace of mind being ruined??"

Just what that obnoxious noise was, nobody was quite sure. One of the trade publications of the day figured it was an ocarina. It sounded a bit more like somebody beating a hamster with a coat hanger. But, to quote an infamous David Seville line, radio listeners seemed to think, "That's almost good!"

It isn't, but it's certainly a fascinating and horrible experiment, a culture clash between an All-American whitebread girl, a bunch of creepy German crooners, and some kind of psychotic Ed Gein hillbilly wielding a weapon. (You can download now and try to guess what the hell it is...the answer turns up a few paragraphs down).

As originally envisioned, the basic tune had the three Galen guys cooing a Teutonic lullaby in German called "Du Du Liegst Mir Im Herzen." After a while, the baby doll lead vocalist steps forward to solo on the sweet refrain in English: "Baby I DO, DO LOVE YOUUUUU. Baby I want you so. Baby I need you so. Baby I love you so. I just keep missin' your wonderful kissin'"

It seemed like it could be a middle of the road hit. The familiar German tune had already been turned into "You, You, You are the One," a success for Russ Morgan back in 1949.

Twist of fate: The Galens' indie record label decided they loved it but the kids couldn't dance to it. Where was the beat? Apparently having no faith in the song rising to the charts like "Harbor Lights" or some other sappy platter, they brought in "rock" percussion. Or did they?

They found some guy with a musical saw, and had him relentlessly pound it throughout the song. POING POING POING.

It almost worked. Throughout the history of pop-novelty, listeners have been hypnotized into buying grating tunes: "The Hut Sut Song." "Three Little Fishes." "Purple People Eater." "How Much is That Doggie In the Window." "Dang Me." You name it. Some love it, some hate it, enough buy it so it hits the Top 20.

Like a moth putting a few little holes in a sport jacket, "Baby I Do Love You" with its sputtery high-pitched pounding noise fluttered just inside the Top 100.

This sugar-coated cyanide pill, which stuck in a listener's ear causing a brain melt, had some people wondering who were The Galens? What would they do next?

Technically, the band should've been called The Galen, because only one person in the band had that last name. Norman Galen grew up on exotic Catalina Island in California. He had been briefly paralyzed after a bout of polio, finding solace in playing the piano. The prodigy won the attention of the esteemed and pressed Walter Gieseking, who had recorded some impressive versions of Beethoven sonatas back in the 78rpm era. The Geese couldn't keep The Galen interested in classical music forever; the kid went off to pursue big band music and Vegas pop.

Galen formed a swingin' quartet with drummer George Ross, bassist Bob Hubener, and vocalist Charlene Knight, who sounded like a clone of Priscilla Paris. Galen loved her sound; he had arranged music for The Paris Sisters' Vegas act and was smitten by their sugary vocalizing. There was an entire genre of "sweet bands" in the 1940's and Galen was hoping to make money with his own brand of "easy listening." The Galens were managed by Faye Paris, who also directed the fate of her daughters.

Charlene Knight hadn't recorded much before joining The Galens. Her debut was on the Pamela label, an indie outfit from Monrovia, California. The title of her 1961 debut was "If You Pass Me By." I know, that's a straight line.

"Baby I Do Love You" released in 1963 was the first recording by The Galens. It was for the small but lethal Challenge label, and featured an almost equally appalling flip side. It was the coy "Love Bells," which included ""ting ah ling a ling uh" as a refrain. It was the kind of thing Mitch Miller would've foisted on Patti Page.

The Galens managed to issue a 1964 single their way. They chose the old war horse "Stranger in Paradise," mildly goosed into 60's rock sensibilities by a jittery back beat. The flip side was "Chinese Lanterns," another MOR-onic tune. By then The Platters' style was history and frisky rock was dominating the Top 20. They got one last chance to go back and get the teen audience via the 1965 effort "Young Dreams." It was a smack-worthy bit of cuteness, with "I Love You More Than You Know" on the backside.

No longer trying for the teen market, The Galens stopped making singles and became a successful live act for aging tourists at resort hotels. They were well known in Bermuda and in the Bahamas through the mid 60's, and recorded a short-run souvenir album of well-worn classic pop tunes. It's now a "collectors item" that's pretty hard to find. The group disbanded when Charlene Knight settled down to enjoy motherhood.

Norman Galen stayed in the music biz in a variety of ways, running a music store, teaching students, and sometimes staging concerts for fans of "easy listening." He and his partner Dale retired about ten years ago, and are, I assume, like the other three members of the long lost group, very much alive.

Back in 2008, Christine Knight was on the Net leaving messages about her long lost group. One of 'em was: "Looking for original recordings of The Galens, with Charlene Knight (myself) by Challenge Records in the 60's…How might I obtain copies for personal use?" She was wondering what had become of the masters. It's a familiar and usually unanswered question.

Below, the anvil-subtle Demento-esque percussive saw, punctuating "Baby I Do Love You." It's an early example of over-dubbing for the sake of a teen-rock audience. You might recall a much more successful example: "Sound of Silence," rescued from the poor-selling debut album by Simon and Garfunkel and brought to life with a folk-rock beat.

Also below, a few more examples of Miss Knight and The Galens. Fans of The Paris Sisters, and the solo Priscilla Paris, might recall that they could be pretty good with their musical saccharine ("I Love How You Love Me") and even original ("He Owns the World.") So no collection should be without something galling or Galen or going gentle into that good Knight…

IF YOU PASS ME BY Charlene Knight






The author of "Eve of Destruction" didn't live to see the actual destruction, but he came close, didn't he? Climate change? Isis? Kardashians?

P.F. Sloan (Sept. 18, 1945-November 14, 2015) was just 20 when "Eve of Destruction" hit the charts 50 years ago. He died at 70 (of pancreatic cancer). He lived to reach the 50th anniversary of "Eve of Destruction," joining Barry McGuire on stage in January. No, not on a PBS special or HBO show; just a gig at a somewhat obscure venue.

Roger Waters probably hated the guy, because P.F. Sloan, like so many of the 60's singer/songwriters who began their careers knocking out "Brill Building" pop tunes, was Jewish. Yep, he was born Philip Gary Schlein. The family switched Schlein to Sloan because there were too many people like Roger Waters in their neighborhood. This was still the era of quotas (Jews being denied chances in certain professions, being restricted at health clubs and other places) and if that wasn't bad enough, there was outright violence. Sloan's Dad, a pharmacist, realized a Jewish name was very bad for business.

Like Goffin and King, and Mann and Weill and Leiber and Stoller, all Jews whom Roger Waters would like erased from the music history books (perhaps replaced by Palestinian and Muslim songwriters who've given the world so much joy), the Jewish team of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri began by writing for others.

The Jewish duo evolved from pop "I Found a Girl" (Jan and Dean) and "A Must to Avoid" (Hermans Hermits) to folk rock "Let it Be Me" (The Turtles) and "Where Were You When I Needed You (The Grass Roots, which originally included them as members). When 60's spy TV shows became popular, and Patrick McGoohan was imported to America, they gave us "Secret Agent Man," sung by Johnny Rivers.

When protest songs were hot, P.F. Sloan was right there with "Eve of Destruction." Barry McGuire's rendition had some purists shaking their heads. They found the opening tolling of the drums less than subtle, and McGuire's overboard growling wasn't Phil Ochs. Some felt the Dylan-esque harmonica toots here and there were a cliche if not insulting. Then there were some glaringly bad "punk swallows a dictionary" lines like: "my blood's so mad, feels like coagulatin' I'm sittin' here just contemplatin'."

But the more you heard it, the more powerful it became, and it was pretty powerful even the first time. You could listen to it often enough to even notice the odd splice on the last "tell me/over and over," where McGuire apparently couldn't quite keep up with the musicians. There was soon an answer song, "Dawn of Correction," replying to what (it was thought) McGuire had written.

The song was almost completely written by P.F. Sloan (Barri usually was the lyricist). No surprise, that P.F. Sloan's next move was to push for his own record deal, and the chance to become a true singer/songwriter.

While some obscure songwriters eventually made a dent singing their own songs (Randy Newman comes to mind) and some became stars (Carole King, aka Carol Klein), others languished. Along with Ellie Greenwich, Barry Mann and others, P.F. Sloan was a decent singer who could've had a hit off one of his solo albums, but it just didn't happen.

Depression plagued Sloan, his use of drugs didn't help, and he retreated back home to live with his parents, convinced his record label had not only failed him, but screwed him on royalties. "I was ill I guess for a good 20, maybe 25 years,” he recalled, although he wasn't able to recall some of those years with any great accuracy.

Summer-burned and winter-blown by the failure of Sloan, Jimmy Webb (who has issued many great albums to a niche audience of devotees) wrote a tribute song. Frankly, it was "P.F. Sloan" by Jimmy Webb that called my attention to what up till then had just been a parenthetical name under my 45 rpm copy of "Eve of Destruction."

Webb's song praised Sloan for continuing as long as he could, but acknowledged that he had dropped out of sight after 1968. (Sales of Sloan's "Measure for Measure" solo album were almost too small to measure.

"“I have been seeking P. F. Sloan/But no one knows where he has gone," sang Jimmy Webb. Rather than explore Sloan's life and work, subsequent stanzas note Roy Rogers' taxidermy-preserved horse, London Bridge becoming an American tourist attraction, and Nixon taking office. The song has one of Webb's most catchy sing-along choruses, which warns "don't sing this song."

Below is a live version of "P.F. Sloan" by Webb, and also a live acoustic version of "Eve of Destruction" by Sloan. He delivers it thoughtfully, without the bombast of McGuire. Sloan's last album was released in 2006. He turned up in clubs now and then. Rumer recorded "P.F. Sloan" and in 2014 he joined her on stage at a gig. It was the same year he published his autobiography.

Sloan's book is "What's Exactly The Matter With Me? Memoirs of a Life in Music." If you didn't even know it existed, well, the book business is as fucked up as the music business, especially now that books can be so easily stolen and even scabbed on eBay by any seller who puts in a laughable caveat: "I own copyright or I am an authorized re-seller or the book is in public domain."

Fans will find much to enjoy, including notes on his various songs, and some passages that druggily slide around the line between fact and creative fiction. At least, unusual reporting. How about Sloan describing George Harrison driving in that famous area for stoners, Haight-Ashbury: ""the zombies started pushing and trying to roll the car over with him in it. They started crawling on the car like hungry lizards. As the car sped off, the zombies looked around for something else to crawl onto..."

Sloan's tome is from Jawbone, a small publishing outfit run by real nice hippie-type music lovers. I think I correctly recall in speaking to the head man one time, that he chose his company's name with a nod to a memorable song by "The Band." In true hippie-dippie fashion, the company allowed Sloan to pretty much write anything he recalled or thought he recalled, leading some fans to sigh about how accurate some anecdotes are. Like, did Sloan really suggest the sitar that was used on "Paint it Black?" And yeah, typos don't help! The book's available in both paperback and Kindle editions. It gives you the complete story. Or to quote Sloan: "Stardom and success lay in front of me now, followed by destruction and ultimately resurrection."


P.F. SLOAN (LIVE) Jimmy Webb

Monday, November 09, 2015

ADELE SINGLE: "'Coz My Hole's So Deep!"

Hooray. There were three things the world wanted before the year was out: to see a new "baby bump" on Kim Kardashian, to watch Justin Bieber luxuriating on a balcony with fake blond hair and his weewee hanging out, and…hearing something new from England's mad cow, ADELE.


While all the world cared about Kardashian and Bieber, it was mostly "The Real Lame Housewives of England" who needed that ADELE fix. These houswives seem to resemble Monty Python members in drag. For nearly three achy-breaky years, they were afraid that their porcine and bellowing role model was done. After all, another fat woman, Sam Smith, got the assignment to sing the new James Bond movie theme song.

The Real Housewrecks initially loved ADELE for the same reason as they did Susan Boyle: here was a dowdy, ordinary, not too bright replica of themselves up there being applauded. Better yet, both demonstrated that with cosmetic skill, the sows could put on silks and be made "glamorous." Adele seems to spend most of her day getting make-up lathered onto her face with a trowel. Then an army of art school fag-Banksy types etch her eyebrows and eyelashes, add blush to thin her fat cheeks, and chisel on her lipstick liner. They also flare her nostrils to be less pig-like, and do up her hair so that she no longer quite resembles a rabid porcupine.

ADELE, you might remember, became a star when she brayed a song about confronting a man smart enough to leave her. Mad cows all over England could moo their admiration for this gutsy 200 pound haggis mooooving on with her life. ADELE showed the world that a broken heart could no longer feel pangs of pain if it was encased in enough layers of fat. And if the bold sentiments of all-conquering ego came out at a high enough decibel to knock every trainspotter off the platform.

And yet, there were "haters." Why would anyone hate ADELE? Could it be her phony tears? Her phony blabs about her sad life and storybook success? Her phony fucking face?

Some people are not haters, they're just jadded. Anyone who already suffered those shitty Amy Winehouse albums resents being coerced into caring about another husky-voiced loony with cartoon make-up on. No! No! No! Jaded music listeners also figure there's still ARETHA around, and she's the original fat homely broad with a voice that can be heard by Ethel Merman in her coffin. So why care about someone with a team of hacks who help create sound-alike mega-hits so commercial they could also be jingles for England's constant TV commercials for online gambling?

And that leads to the "Sky Fall" (or cloud download, as we say on the Internet.)

It's an ADELE single!

Read that line carefully. This isn't saying it's by ADELE. No, it's from a drag queen imitating Adele. The perp popping the porcine pooper is Sherry Vine, probably the best "campy-dirty" female impersonator around. There certainly ain't much competition, since Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, and SNL's Leslie Jones are also aggressive and gruesome but are actual vagina-owners.

Offended? You haven't heard the song yet!

AN ADELE SINGLE 'Cos My Whole's So Deep


I know it's a stretch, but so is the life of a 1st baseman. And so it is, that this music blog pays tribute to the non-musical normal Norm Siebern, a Kansas City (Athletics) Star.

He was a humble, soft-spoken guy. Not that I ever spoke to him. I did write to him, to express some of what you'll find below. He could've personalized the two photos I sent him, but he just autographed them without sentiment ("Thanks for remembering," "Glad you're a fan," etc.) and sent them back. He obviously was very much like I thought he was, a modest fellow not given to a lot of emotion.

Now, you're probably saying WHO in the world is Norm Siebern? Quite rightly so. There were few obits: the New York Times noted the death of the ex-Yankee, the Kansas City Star covered their Athletics' hero and a local paper in Naples, Florida paid tribute to its most famous retired citizen. All the write-ups led headlined what the average baseball fan knows: he was traded for Roger Maris. Which is better than the obits for Tracy Stallard, the pitcher whose only claim to fame was giving up Maris's record-breaking 61st home run. PS, Norm had a far longer and more illustrious career than Stallard, including All-Star game appearances.

The trade was actually a multi-player deal, but Siebern and Maris were the main attractions.

In addition to Maris, the Yankees got obscure infielders Kent Hadley and Joe DeMaestri, neither of whom remained in baseball past 1961. In addition to Norm, Kansas City got two old ex-stars (Don Larsen and Hank Bauer who Maris was replacing in right field) and the mediocre Marv Throneberry, who would eventually be traded to the New York Mets and become a symbol of their early years of ineptitude. Larsen, who had pitched a perfect game in a World Series several years earlier, was almost literally a one-game wonder. Once in Kansas City, he posted a dismal 2-10 record with a ballooned ERA of 5.20.

In "Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Blunders" Rob devotes several lively pages to whether the trade was a mistake for the A's or not. His view? Not really. That's a testament to the greatness of the little-remembered Mr. Siebern.

According to Neyer, the A's actually got the better of the deal, because despite his 61 home-run season, Maris turned in several mediocre years and flamed out. By contrast, Siebern was an All-Star with the A's, and while Maris didn't do much after his freakish 61 homer spree in 1961, Siebern was a league leader in 1962 and for several more years.

How did the promising Norm Siebern go from sure-fire left fielder to expendable in a trade for a right fielder? He had a bad day in the sun during a World Series game. Yeah, he lost two balls, but he sure had a pair anyway. Someone else would've lost confidence and never recovered after screaming headlines like: "Siebern Sunburn Singes Yanks."

Instead of becoming to baseball what heavyweight David Price is to boxing, Norm Siebern left the fabulous famous New York Yankees…to become a Kansas City Star. Yes, he set a lot of records for them, and citizens of that city remember him fondly, and so do true fans of the game and how it should be played.

As the New York Mets proved in the 2015 series, a team can do great things and then commit a lot of errors and mistakes. The 1958 Yankees were like that, in their battle with the Braves.

The great Yogi Berra (who would ironically be sent out to play left field after Norm was traded) let a called third strike get by him, setting up the winning run for the Braves in game #1. In Game #2 Bob Turley was pounded in the first inning, only getting one player out before being lifted. Part of that rally included a mis-play by Elston Howard, who was in left field instead of Siebern, because manager Casey Stengel started right-hand hitting Elston Howard in some games, left-handed Norm in others).

Norm got his chance in game #3. He walked twice, and one of his walks sparked a big inning for New York. He would scoree on a hit by aging Hank Bauer. (irony: Bauer would later become a manager, and trade for Norm.)

With a decent showing in game #3, Norm was back in left for the fatal game #4.

Norm wasn't seeing the ball well in the notorious "sun field" that late afternoon. Ace Braves pitcher Warren Spahn kept the Yankees scoreless, thanks to a break or two (the Yanks failing to bring in a man from third with less than one out). Meanwhile Whitey Ford was pitching just as well for the Yankees. in the sixth, Norm and Mickey Mantle let a ball hit to left-center get between them for a double.

Norm was blamed for it more than superstar Mickey. Tony Kubek's subsequent error led to a run scoring. Braves led 1-0. Norm definitely lost the ball in the sun in the eighth. You could see how bright the sun and lights were reflecting against the left field wall and the spectators. Norm had a bead on it, but at the last moment as the ball dipped, he suddenly cringed helplessly, knowing he might hit him in the face. Instead, the ball bounced near him and landed in the stands for a ground rule double. The Braves scored another run that inning, and Siebern, trying to redeem himself in the bottom of the frame, haplessly struck out.

The Series did end up going the full seven games, but Elston Howard was used in the remaining contests. Siebern was benched.

Charlie Keller, who had played left field during the Joe Dimaggio era, knew that the sun hadn't changed in the Mickey Mantle era, especially in late September. He rather poetically said, "“During the World Series the sun is low behind the stands. There’s a purple haze from the tobacco smoke. You have to play the position by ear because you never see a ball. You try to judge where it will go from the sound of the bat, and then you just pray that you guessed right.”

Keller was referring to the "natural" problems in left during his playing days. During World Series time in the late 50's, game were now on television and being filmed by color 35mm cameras. The already problematic sun glare was abetted by orders to turn on the glaring artificial lights so that the cameras could have better focus.

Norm made no excuses. He told reporters that he missed a few "in the sun and against the lights," Stengel stood by Norm: "I'm not asking waivers on him, and you can print that! He's a nice kid and I know he'll worry over this. He's playing the toughest left field in baseball, don't forget. He hit .300 for me. He's good at getting walks and he's good at going from first to third. I think he did real good in his first full year in the majors. He's not an easy man to get out."

Siebern stayed with the Yankees in 1959 but in a diminished role, thanks to the option of using Yogi Berra or Elston Howard in left instead. On December 11, 1959, the Yankees tossed Norm Siebern, Jerry Lumpe and a few others to the A's, in return for Roger Maris and a few others. Maris was by no means considered a star at the time. It was simply felt that Siebern was done, and Maris had potential (and the Yankees were getting a few other decent players, too). Rob Neyer: "From July 30 through the end of the (1958) season, Maris batted .162. " PS, Mr. Powerhouse only popped two homers through all of August and September. Yet, the .300 hitting Siebern who had a bad day in the sun was sent packing.

Neyer: "Siebern wasn't the player Maris was. But the difference between them certainly wasn't huge, particularly considering that Maris probably enjoyed at least some advantage from batting just ahead of Mickey Mantle…From '60 through '63 the Yankees finished eight, eight, five and ten games ahead of the runners-up. They'd have won those titles with Siebern in right field rather than Maris.

"Did trading Maris hurt the A's? They didn't finish within twenty games of first place in any of those five seasons…" Considering that Maris batted only .235 in 1957 and .240 in 1958, there was nothing to suggest he'd be a huge star, even for one season. Compare what Siebern did in 1958. Just 24, and a promising star, he batted .300 with 19 doubles, five triples, and 14 home runs. He walked 66 times and, irony of ironies, won a Gold Glove for his play in left field. The Yankees had every reason to think they had the best left fielder since Charlie Keller. Considering that the great Yankee outfielders were always in enter (Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle) or right (Babe Ruth), Casey Stengel had welcomed Siebern to New York by boasting that he "finally" had a solution to the team's left field "problem."

When Siebern came to Kansas City, the 6'2" player moved from left field to first base. This helped his confidence. In 1962, while Maris was fading (after earning MVP honors in '60 and '61), Siebern was coming on strong, playing in EVERY one of the season's 162 games, batting .308, smacking 25 doubles and 25 homers, and leading the league in several categories. He was the only member of his team selected to the All Star Game. He even made a run at the MVP, finishing 7th in the voting (Mickey Mantle was the winner that year.)

Norm was traded to the Orioles after four years. The manager was none other than Hank Bauer. In his first game against his old team, Norm came up in the bottom of the 10th and smacked a "walk off" home run.

The number of players who make it to the major leagues is few. The numbers who stay around for more than a year or two is fewer. Norm Siebern was in baseball for a dozen years. He had made it his life, after leaving Southwest Missouri State Teachers College where he was studying for a degree in journalism. In another era, he might've been able to keep studying and play in the minor leagues, but not then. He also had to give up a few years for Army duty. But after that, he progressed quickly to the majors, and was a top player from age 24 to about age 30.

Overcoming a potentially career-ruining day was one reason I admired Siebern. Generally, my favorite baseball player tend to be the ones who had good careers even without the perfect bodies of a Derek Jeter or Reggie Jackson. There was the cranky "fat kid" Thurman Munson, the also improbably built Yogi Berra, little Phil Rizzuto, and iconoclastic Jim Bouton. Add players overcoming mental blocks or physical problems (such as one-handed Jim Abbott). I also liked anyone with an odd name, from John Wockenfuss to Rusty Kuntz. No less a baseball fan than poet Marianne Moore once commented on how much she admired Bill Monbouquette. She noted that the last name translates as "my basket," and Bill had the common baseball player habit of adjusting his "basket" between pitches. But, I digress.

Both Roger Maris and Norm Siebern retired at the age of 35. Norm went on to become successful in the insurance field. He was invited to "Old Timer's Day" events once in a while by the Yankees, and much more often by the doting Kansas City A's (and their replacement team, the Kansas City Royals.) Little known fact: when new owner Charlie O. Finley came up with the idea of gaudy yellow and gold uniforms, it was Norm Siebern who donned the duds and had to pose for reporters. He later said, "I was quite frankly embarrassed, embarrassed to death!"

Still, he recalled his years with the Athletics with fondness. "I had such a great time with Kansas City," Norm said at an Old Timer's Day event there a few years ago. "I was traded from the Yankees and people thought "Well gee whiz, you're going from New York to Kansas City." I told them, "No, listen, I'm a native Missourian, I've been to Kansas City, I love Kansas City. it's a great thing to come back here and play ball with the A's."

Norm will have memorial services both in Florida, and in Missouri. Asked if he had any advice for today's players, the humble All-Star said, "Give it 100% and hope for the best. It's a tough, competitive business, but a lot of times if you give it your best, you'll win out in the end."

Below a song called "Kansas City Star," which was a pun on the town's newspaper. It's also a fitting term for a little-known but great baseball player whom true fans have always admired.

The Cover of the Kansas City Star

Sacrilege Series #10 Buddy "Hiccups" Holly and "The Day the Music Died"

The "Sacrilege" series returns, with a new entry. It features some nose-tweaking satire from the rock group Wilderness Road, who dare to ridicule the Father, Son and Holy Ghost of classic rock, "The Big Bopper," Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly. Or rather, they ridicule the ridiculous rejects who've solemnly made the dead pop stars into religious icons.

Thanks largely to Don McLean, there are young fools and old mopes who will morbidly insist that on February 3, 1959 "the music died." No, not if you consider that the greatest rockers, The Beatles, had yet to hit the airwaves. Not if your tastes in music include anything from the 60's onward, or jazz from the 20's or classical music from the 19th Century.

A snickering disc jockey died. A somewhat greasy and porcine Latino, too. And a hiccuping Texan. While they were all entertaining, and some of their work is star quality, they weren't the only stars on the charts in the late 50's. It was a shocking, tragic incident and there haven't been many air disasters where three well-known people were aboard. But it wasn't the fucking end of music as we know it. Christ, even greasy bop, dance and novelty would continue with plenty of great performers. Just look at the Billboard charts for 1960 and have a reality check. You'll find plenty of catchy and near-genius stuff on the charts after these three died.

And you'll find, in the download link below, a little bad-taste fun with a tune that mockingly mimics just how unimpressive some of that trio's music is to most people.

Had they lived, chances are that "Big Bopper" J. P. Robertson [sic...note comment below] would be dead by now, and largely forgotten. Without the added aura of early death, his cackling, leering and vaguely pedo-esque one-hit-wonder "Chantilly Lace" might only be anthologized as much as "Babalu's Wedding Day" (by the non-eternal The Eternals) or "Baby Don't Forget My Number" by the forgettable Milli Vanilli. Odds are he wouldn't have had another novelty hit, any more than Sheb Wooley ("Purple People Eater") or Larry Verne ("Mister Custer").

As for Ritchie Valens (nee Valenzuela), if he was still around, he'd be like Chubby Checker. He'd be appearing at oldies shows to sing his ONE hit. Chubby had "The Twist" and Valens had "La Bamba," and IF YOU'RE BEING HONEST, that song is as big a piece of drivel as a soggy, dripping burrito. Listening to Valens babbling "La Bamba" is probably no different from what guys with stomach aches yowl in the bathroom of a Taco Bell.

That leaves the hiccuping genius Buddy Holly. Del Shannon and Roy Orbison had vivid hits but then played the 70's and 80's getting sick in too-cold or over-heated little clubs. They sang the same fucking songs to a small circle of aging fans till they were ready to have a heart attack or commit suicide. Do you doubt Buddy Holly would've had a similar fate. He would've sung "Peggy Sue" till he dropped of slightly more natural causes than a plane crash. At best, he'd be like Chuck Berry, who hasn't written a decent song on 40 years and tours places you never heard of.

To all the morons who whined, "the music DIED," here's two words for you: Bob Dylan. He came after "the music DIED." Another two words? "The Beatles." Another two words? "Martin Briley." Oh, pick any two words. Including "the old two word suggestion," as Art Garfunkel once called it.

And now, the "mean" bit of satire called "Bad Hopper, Hiccups and Havana."

It's an outtake from Wilderness Road (another "two words" for you). This brilliant, under-appreciated Chicago group could rival The Band (first album on Columbia) or offer a blend of rock and iconoclastic smugness that might impress a Zappa fan (their second album on Warner Bros.)

As you'll hear, they mercilessly dispatch all three deceased artistes for what they actually were: creepy, hiccupy and greasy. Usually parodists roast their their victims alive (Bob Dylan, Jagger, Baez, Neil Young, Kate Bush, Lennon, Paul Simon are all lampooned on this blog via amusing novelties). Is it cowardly that the band attacks these dead guys? Actually, they are attacking the fans more than the guys. The guys are all ok. Fans who worship them and get all spooky-somber about the crash need to lighten up a bit. I mean, Lennon got killed at that's an equal trauma, but nobody pretentiously calls it "the night the music died."

Needless to say (but it has to be said, because a lot of people are stupid, including browsing bozos who are not regulars to this blog), nobody is laughing or happy that three people (and a pilot) died back in 1959 on a foggy rainy night near Clear Lake, Iowa.

The three singers aboard obviously did have talent that was wasted in that crash. "Donna" by Ritchie Valens was a gentle piece of melancholy, although anybody could've sung it. "Chantilly Lace" IS a unique novelty (which inspired Jayne Mansfield among others to do a variation on it) even if the rest of J.P.'s work (enough to fill an album) isn't too amusing and is pretty repetitive. As for Buddy Holly, he influenced a lot of people. Without the hiccuping, a few of his songs are decent late 50's rock. But how many people skip past the Holly, Berry AND Perkins tracks on those early Beatles albums because they are inferior songs to Lennon-McCartney? Give him credit for "That'll Be the Day" the riffy "Not Fade Away" and "It's So Easy," but Jesus, enough with "Peggy Sue." And understand that Shannon and Orbison wrote just as many classics, if not more, AFTER the music supposedly died.

PS, I rhetorically ask the God-fearing and perpetually sobbing people who feel "the music died" in 1959, why Waylon Jennings was spared. Did God think more highly of Waylon Jennings than the other three. He's a fuckin' country music fan? God knew that if Waylone was spared, music fans would get "I'm A Ramblin' Man," "I've Always Been Crazy" and the theme for the "Dukes of Hazzard" TV show???

How would the world have been different if Waylon died in 1959 and "The Big Bopper" lived to 2002 (the year God chose to end Waylon's life)?

This blog asks the tough questions. You sure can't turn to Zinhof for this kind of literate shit and provocative music discussion. All you get is a regurgitation of stolen Neil Young albums over and over, with an annoying "password" you have to type in. Right, steal from somebody who stole the music, and make sure to add your name as the "password" to give yourself credit. Credit for what, exactly? WHAT a player in the music world, what a rock scholar, that guy.

You'll notice a bonus track below.

It's a reliable dead baby joke.

Who likes babies? "They are here to REPLACE YOU," noted Mr. Seinfeld. They are noisy, smelly, stupid, and often come out of a Kardashian kunt. So here's a fake commercial for something better than "bronzed baby shoes."

HUGE HOPPER, HICCUPS and HAVANA Wilderness Road BABY BRONZER (Sick Commercial!) Wilderness Road


"You're a hot country woman…" Well, just the slightest pause between syllables on country, and you've got some amusement. Sing about a woman wearing so little clothes you can see "all that skin wavin' in the breeze," and you have even a more bizarre and vivid picture. Add one of those Lee Hazlewood downward spiraling guitar licks, and you've got a near classic. That's "Don't Go City On Me," your choice to remember Tommy Overstreet by.

Instead of Jeannie C. Riley standing up against slut shaming, or Nancy Sinatra bitching about her boots goin' walkin', Tommy is goin' all Okie from Muskogee on a girl who has the NERVE to look "city" and wear her dang dress too dang high. (Tommy was born in Oklahoma). Lordy. Walter Brennan would've approved. Brennan, by the way, was once signed to Dot, the record label that in the late 60's relied on Nashville exec Overstreet for guidance.

What did he do? Within two years, he had signed HIMSELF, moving from the desk to the recording studio! Yes, if you want to get ahead in show biz, maybe acquire enough power to make sure your records get made and played!

Tommy (September 10, 1937-November 2, 2015), was the manager of the whole shebang at Dot Nashville. Overstreet didn't make a mistake in signing a virtual unknown named Overstreet, nor did he ask the guy to change his name. His first Top 100 hit was "Rocking a Memory (That Won't Go to Sleep)." Tommy also did well with girls names and a parenthesis. He had his biggest hits with "Gwen (Congratulations)" "(Jeannie Marie) You Were a Lady" and "Ann (Don't Go Runnin')."

If I'm Being Honest…Tommy, cousin of crooner Gene Austin, was not a favorite of mine. For me, the approach of Tommy, Vern Gosdin or Conway Twitty doesn't have the pathos of George Jones or the grit of Johnny Cash. Still, I think the track below would be of interest to most any C&W fan, and it's the only single of his that I have.

Well liked and genial, the handsome C&W star turned up on "Hee Haw," and toured enough to wreck his first marriage. As tastes in music changed, he spent the last years of his career in Branson, Missouri, the town that carved itself into an Old Performer's Home, with tourists flocking to hear everyone from Ray Stevens to Andy Williams.

He enjoyed the relaxed pace in Branson in the 80's. He had exhausted himself in the previous decade: "There were 329 one-nighters, then 36 days in Nashville in a year's time," he said. "I also recorded two albums and did a European tour for 18 days. Unfortunately, my ex-wife and I separated and divorced. The music business and what we do in that career is not great for relationships. You're gone too much. I wouldn't encourage anyone to work that hard. I shouldn't have. I should have stopped and smelled the roses and spent more time with my family. But you learn those things in hindsight. Hindsight is 20/20. As you go down this road, you do what you think is the best thing at the time, and I did. Unfortunately, it cost me some heartbreak and disappointments, but that's how life is."