Thursday, October 03, 2013

BATTY INDUCTEE NUMBER 3

THE THIRD SONG I'M INDUCTING INTO MY HALLOWEEN HALL OF FAME is also a song I first heard on the exact same Dr. Demento Show in 1978 on which I heard David Bowie's "PLEASE MR. GRAVEDIGGER".  The song was written by Rupert Holmes (best known for his number one hit single "The Pino Colada Song") in 1971 and recorded by an unknown group at the time.  In order to gain some publicity for the group, Holmes suggested that the song be about something which was guaranteed to get it banned from radio play.  Agreeing, the group signed a one-song contract with Holmes to create it for them.  Holmes took inspiration from the number one song "Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford which prominently features workers in a mine and combined it with the 50's hothouse film "SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER" adapted from the Tennessee Williams play starring Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor; the film featured strong suggestions of cannibalism.  Combining these two themes, Holmes wrote the song which is my third inductee into the Batty Halloween Hall of Fame:

TIMOTHY by THE BUOYS

The song deals with a mine cave-in (one of my favourite subjects for a song, natch) in which three miners are trapped.  When they are rescued, however, there are only two miners.  As the first person singer wails in the chorus:  "Timothy?  Timothy?  Where on earth did you go?  Timothy?  Timothy?  God, why don't I know?"  The song made barely a ripple when first released until savvy listeners picked up on lyrics which describe the singer as "hungry as hell" and then, after being rescued, singing "stomach was full as it could be" and "nobody ever got around to finding Timothy" and radio DJ's began to receive multiple request to play the song.  After a while, radio stations twigged and banned the song which, after gaining such notoriety, only produced a higher demand.  "TIMOTHY" miraculously spent eight weeks on the Billboard Top 40 charts in 1971 reaching as high as #17!  Here the gruesome goodness for yourself over in the box in the right hand column.  Bon appetite and see you tomorrow for more music.  

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