Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Have You Tried Backyard Burger's "Grilled Salomon" Burger?

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Fly on the Wall has always been a sucker for a nicely misspelled sign. Here's one from the BYB on Perkins near Poplar. 


Not sure what "salomon" is, but it sounds like something you don't want to catch. 

Remembering John Jay Hooker's Campaign Jingles

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 11:38 AM

John Jay Hooker
  • John Jay Hooker
Fly on the Wall joins with other Tennesseans celebrating the life of progressive crusader, eccentric, and serial candidate John Jay Hooker this week. But instead of asking for a moment of silence, we say, "Turn it up!" Hooker first started running for public office in the mid-1960's, during the golden age of the campaign jingle. Although he is no longer with us, the music lives on.

Let's listen, shall we?

Hooker's most ambitious campaign jingle came out in 1966 when he ran for Governor against incumbent Buford Ellington. It doesn't really compare to "What About Frank," the Prisonaires extraordinary homage to Frank Clement, and that's unfortunate for a song that name checks Clement throughout. Of course, there aren't many jingle artists that can measure up to The Prisonaires, and "Watch John Jay," is a fun, fully realized storytelling song inspired by country artists like Johnny Cash and Jimmy Dean's 1961 hit "Big Bad John" in particular.

Sample lyric: 

Watch John Jay... Watch John Jay...

Now Buford and Frank got together one day and said we’d better watch this young John Jay.

He’s young and handsome and honest and clean and he might throw a wrench in our power machine

I don't remember that one. My family moved to Tennessee at the dawn of the 1970's, so the first big ear war between campaign jingles I recall started when Tammy Wynette sang variations on "Stand By Your Man" for Tom Wiseman. Wiseman sought the Democratic nomination in a contest with eventual winner and textbook disgrace, Ray Blanton. Blanton, a West Tennessee native, was raised on country sunshine. So, naturally, ol' "Pardon Me Ray," saw Wiseman's Wynette and raised him a Dottie West

This one's not a John Jay tune, but as long as we're talking Blanton...

In the 70's Hooker adopted a dumbed down but versatile jingle based on Ray Conniff's song "Happiness is."

"Vote for Hooker," and "Time for Hooker," are the same song with only a few lyrical changes.

Sample lyrics: 

Vote for Hooker!
Vote for Tennessee!
Vote for progress!
Vote for you and me!

Because he was a hip guy down with all the latest crazes Hooker also released a disco version of "Vote for Hooker." 


The song samples linked here are all collected from a history of political jingles in Tennessee archived at The Gore Center. It's a fun read with lots of links. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

When "Whole Oats" Opened for Bowie in Memphis

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2016 at 1:17 PM


There's an old adage stating that the three hardest dates for a musician are, in order, "Christmas, Easter, and Memphis." Few things illustrate the point like this review of David Bowie's first Bluff City concert. Commercial Appeal reporter Joe M. Dove wasn't merely unimpressed by the Spiders from Mars. He described Bowie's 1972 concert at Ellis Auditorium's North Hall as, "mostly noise."

And get off my lawn!
  • And get off my lawn!

"David Bowie probably could be a talented musician," Dove wrote in a merciless review of the concert. "But his show is not selling music. He has substituted noise for music, freaky stage gimmicks for talent, and covers it all up with volume." The writer had been led to believe The Spiders were, "a ballad group," and was surprised to discover an artist capable of "out-freaking Alice Cooper on stage." His harshest lines, however, were reserved for an opening act identified as Whole Oats:

At the least, Bowie's show can objectively be called better than that of his warm-up group, "Whole Oats", a country rock quartet.

Playing all of their eight numbers in a simple four-four time, the group could not even keep the attention of the crowd which spent much time milling up and down the aisles and tossing several plastic Frisbees.

One of "Whole Oats" final numbers was titled "I'm sorry." It should have been dedicated to the audience.

So, whatever happened to this forgettable straight time-obsessed country rock quartet slammed by critics and ignored by frisbee crazed Memphians? Nothing happened to them. Because the quartet never existed. The detestable act was, in fact, Daryl Hall & John Oates who went on to become the most successful pop duo in history.

"Whole Oats" isn't a typo. Dove didn't get available facts wrong, exactly. Daryl & John were new on the scene and preparing to release their first Atlantic Records LP. 

"We'd like to dedicate this song to the audience," said Daryl Hall never. 

Before the duo signed with Atlantic they'd also named their partnership "Whole Oats." So, when the label released a promotional single for the forthcoming album,"Whole Oats" is the name the company went with. The group was identified as Daryl Hall & John Oates when their debut album Whole Oats was released in November, 1972, only two months after the Bowie concert. For the period between the promotional release and the official release, "Whole Oats" it was. 

  • Ladies and gentlemen, Whole Oats!

Memphis was apparently one of H&O's first stops on the way up. Nobody noticed. Even Ron Hall's fantastic concert history Memphis Rocks doesn't clarify the listing, identifying Bowie's opening act only as Whole Oats. 


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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Celebrate the 38th Anniversary of the Sex Pistols in Memphis with a Taco, a Concert Bootleg, and Anarchy

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 11:08 AM


On Jan. 6, 1978 the Sex Pistols, a boy band assembled by Malcolm McLaren to perform punk rock music and look good doing it, played Memphis' Taliesyn Ballroom. It was one of only seven successful stops on the influential band's disastrous U.S. tour.  The defunct venue was located at 1447 Union Ave. It has since been torn down and replaced by a Taco Bell that was subsequently torn down and replaced by a different Taco Bell

As we do every year at this time, Fly on the Wall encourages fans to visit the concert site to enjoy a taco, or a burrito, or an enchirito, and play the following video as loudly as their mobile devices will allow. 

You may also want to read Chris Shaw's interview with Peabody Hotel enthusiast, John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

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