Sad Song Scenarios Part Two

38 white st ny 10013

Neighborhood: All Over

There are some songs that if heard in the right situation might push you to the brink of something horrid. Some of these situations are real, some are fiction.

Tim Rutili:
1.”Whoop There it is,” rapped over by a Melrose Park wedding DJ with a cordless mic as the dance floor was heating up at my cousin’s wedding.
2. “Summer Wind,” by Frank Sinatra sung by the same DJ with a cordless mic as he paced the empty dance floor about an hour later.

Joe Leatherwood:
Playing “Gimme Three Steps,” by Lynyrd Skynrd in a bar band for the 3000th time while watching a drunk woman dancing barefoot through the vomit her boyfriend was geysering up.

Amy Oviatt:
Hearing Olivia Newton John’s “Have You Never Been Mellow” while high on laughing gas (nitrous oxide), waiting for the dentist to give me a filling.

Rob Vaughan:
Gary Puckett and the Union Gap’s Greatest Hits 8-track tape played on an endless loop while hitch-hiking between New York and Boston in 1970. By the time “Hooked on a Feeling” came up for the umpteenth time, I decided to take my chances standing out in the rain again on I-95 somewhere near New Haven.

Manny Silva:
Hearing a Cantonese “country” rendition of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” in a Guangzhou, China mall’s food court (In March!) momentarily sent me to one of those eleven dimensions those theorists talk about.

Kevin Fahey:
1) At a Boston College football game tailgate in 1991, watching a girl in the group next to ours sing, “Way Down South” every time the chorus to Eric Clapton’s “Lay Down Sally” kicked in.
2) Admitting to a few friends in my dorm room at BC in 1992 that at first I thought Pete Townshend sang, “Livin In A Truck” instead of “It’s An Eminence Front.” Listening to a friend in subsequently admit he thought Hendrix sang, “and I was getting laid” instead of “the hour was getting late” in “All Along The Watchtower.” Another friend admitting he heard “Dirty Deeds and The Thunder Chief” instead of “…and they’re done dirt cheap.” That same friend puking loudly in my bathroom minutes later, prompting another to say, “Damn—he’s the Thunder Chief.”

David O’Neill:
Having the bridal party split along gender lines and scream (none of them could actually sing) Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” at each other across the dance floor at my cousin’s wedding.

Gigi Capetola:
1) “Don’t Stop Thinkin’ About Tomorrow” by Fleetwood Mac while on a tourbus in Bavaria at midnight with a crazy drunker driver speeding down a mountain in the rain.
2) “Waterloo” by Abba in K-Mart, mid-morning, in the cosmetics department, looking for cheap lipstick.

Steve Pollock :
“Like a Virgin”, by Madonna as the first dance at our wedding reception. It was not the mellow Marley song we had agreed upon, and the older guests were not amused. What a welcome to the world of wedded bliss.

Martha Brantley:
1) “Don’t Cry” by Guns N’ Roses, at a 7th grade church lock-in. 5 am, staggering around barefoot in the inexplicably freezing “fellowship hall,” wrapped in a natty old sleeping bag.
2) “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston at an elementary school assembly in 4th grade. The speaker was a black female athlete from MY hometown (Little Rock, Arkansas) who had won the bronze medal in taekwondo.

Kelly Ehlinger:
“Things We Said Today” by the Beatles on the hospital speakers immediately after delivering twins.

Amy Sterk:
“Sad Songs Say So Much” by Elton John, sung off-key by my hygienically challenged lab partner in 8th grade science class.

Bob Metzger:
“Heard it Through the Grapevine,” sung by a drunk National Guardsman in a hotel bar that converts to karaoke at 9 p.m. in Homestead Florida three weeks after Hurricane Andrew struck when you’ve been working down there for three weeks and were supposed to leave that day, but your flight just got cancelled, so you have to hang on in a nasty airport hotel drinking beer and eating a burger at the hotel lounge.

Jane Farrell:
“Lady,” by Kenny Rogers, at 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday in the plus-size section of Fashion Bug on Atlantic Avenue in Ozone Park, Queens.

Adalena:
Three days of not sleeping due to a deadly combination of a severe nasal infection, ear infection and strep throat, not treated because the health center would not allow me to see an actual doctor until I deliriously demanded one pronto. It caused some lightheadedness and general unwanted sensitive feelings to well up in my chest. Trying to sound menacing and full of business was made difficult due to not being able to breathe and shout at the same time. “I beed to zee a boctor dow! Right Dow!” Finally after a cursory examination, it was determined I was indeed very ill and given a paper baggie full of various medicants. The doctor asked, “Why didn’t you see a doctor sooner?” Yes, I thought, why hadn’t I? Back at home as I waited for the pills to kick in and sleep to take over I listened to a friend’s radio show. “Ana Ng” by They Might Be Giants came over the transmitter in the mountains and I was reduced to shameful tears. I could only weep and pray that a roommate would not knock on the door, her voice worried, hoping I wasn’t having some sort of nervous breakdown. Was I having a nervous breakdown? Fucking They Might Be Giants made me cry and I was only saved from the ridiculous nerdly poignancy of it all by the medicated sleep taking over.

Hank McCarthy:
“Love Shack,” by the B-52’s at a Lynchburg Hillcats baseball game. The world’s largest woman, dressed in a jupiter sized red mu-mu is driving a Handi-Kart behind the first base bullpen straight into the Hotdog Hut.

Joshua Lyon:
1) Muzak version of “Mr. Bojangles” at a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
2) “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” by Yes after doing an alarming amount of cocaine at a Williamsburg loft party
3) “Under the Milky Way,” by the Church on the way to the emergency room after your boyfriend beat the crap out of you

Hunter Kennedy:
Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” on the motel radio as you wait to meet your first call girl, who turns out to be Russian.

Erin Flaherty “Hot Hot Hot” by Buster Poindexter first thing on Monday morning when you haven’t had coffee yet.

Gideon Yago 1) “Buffalo Stance”, by Neneh Cherry in an abortion clinic waiting room.
2) “Rich Girl”, by Hall and Oates, on a snack stand radio in Gaza during a street riot.
3) “19th Nervous Breakdown” the Rolling Stones, after getting into a three car accident on an icy road with my girlfriend bloody and screaming.

Steve Martin:
Muzak versions of “Walking on Sunshine,” by Katrina & The Waves and “Dancing On The Ceiling,” by Lionel Richie in the lobby of the Times Square hotel I was checking into following evacuation from my home on Sept. 11.

Joe Bement “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys, at 4 a.m. while sitting in a jail cell with 12 other people, Lafayette, LA.

Jesse Pearson:
“Nobody’s Gonna Break-a My Stride” by Matthew Wilder, heard at the abandoned shopping center in Levittown, Pennsylvania, from a passing car, while looking at the quarter operated helicopter ride I used to love when I was five.

Wells Thiede:
1) “Cry, Cry, Cry,” performed by Third Eye Blind on a PBS documentary about Sun Studios. Sad Sad Sad.
2) “There’s Only One Way to Rock (Sammy Hagar),” I was sitting at a bar near a venue at which Sammy was going to be rocking later that night. The bar was full of people getting ready to rock at the show later that evening. This song was playing on the jukebox I turned to a guy sitting next to me who was obviously going to be in attendance at the show, and, in a rare show of cockiness, I asked him what that one way to rock was…. He turned back to me and completely straight-faced replied, “Uh…I don’t know…Hard, I guess…”
3) “It Wasn’t Me,” by Shaggy. Bad enough in and of itself, but imagine hearing the song while 3 or 4 ten year old girls dance and sing along completely oblivious to the song’s meaning.
4) Nirvana’s “Lithium,” as performed by Papa Roach at some MTV new year’s special.

Jenny Eliscu:
1) “Takin’ Care of Business,” 1990. On the car stereo, accompanied by the operatic karaoke stylings of my mother, who articulates every single syllable (“tay-kingg care of bus-i-ness…”) while tapping her hands slightly off-tempo on her brown leather briefcase.
2) “Who Are You” as the theme song to “CSI.”
3) “Smooth” by Santana/Rob Thomas. Summer, 2001. A car stuck at a red light outside my apartment has the windows down and the volume cranked. I hear a voice singing along and am chagrined to discover that it is my own.
4) OMD’s “If You Leave.” Jones Beach, 1992. Heard on the boombox of a humongous German dude in a hair-shirt and itty-bitty Speedo that leaves little about his cock and balls to the imagination.

***

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Click here for Sad Song Scenarios Part One

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