I was shampooing the carpets on Saturday afternoon (don’t ask) and out of nowhere I remembered a snippet from a song that was a hit when I was a little kid. It was just a fragment—one line of a lyric and a piece of the hook. I couldn’t dislodge it from my head. It kept pinging around and around. It was an unlikely hit in that it was about cannibalism. And not in a funny way—real cannibalism.
I thought my mind might be playing a trick on me and that my subconscious was making the whole thing up so I consulted our old friend the internet and sure enough; in 1971 there was a song called Timothy by The Buoys that reached #13 on the Billboard Top 100 list. Does anyone remember this?
I looked up the lyrics and they’re HORRIFYING! I wondered how something as dark as this could be played on the radio at all, much less become a hit. The Wikipedia entry claims that the songwriter intentionally wrote something so heinous that he was certain it would be banned from radio, believing that there‘s no such thing as bad publicity. It turned out he was right! To everyone’s surprise, including the songwriter, it became a hit.
Take a look at this mess. And stick with it through to its gruesome conclusion.
Trapped in a mine that had caved in
And everyone knows the only ones left
Were Joe and me and Tim
When they broke through to pull us free
The only ones left to tell the tale
Were Joe and me
Timothy, Timothy, where on earth did you go?
Timothy, Timothy, God why don’t I know?
Hungry as hell no food to eat
And Joe said that he would sell his soul
For just a piece of meat
Water enough to drink for two
And Joe said to me, “I’ll have a swig
And then there’s some for you.”
Timothy, Timothy, Joe was looking at you
Timothy, Timothy, God what did we do?
I must have blacked out just around then
‘Cause the very next thing that I could see
Was the light of the day again
My stomach was full as it could be
And nobody ever got around
To finding Timothy
Sweet Mother of Jesus! Upon further research, I found out that this was written by none other than RUPERT HOLMES! This is the same guy that gave the world Escape (The Piña Colada Song) in 1979. It’s a ridiculous song about two bored lovers who try to cheat on each other via the personnel ads only do discover that they’ve answered each others’ ad. I’d be pissed if I found out she was stepping out on me (even though I was doing the exact same thing).
If you like Piña Coladas
and getting caught in the rain…
I dare not quote more for fear of starting an ear worm chain reaction that could take down the world financial markets.
This means that one man is solely responsible for writing not one, but TWO of the worst songs ever recorded! You might think that I’m disparaging Mr. Holmes but I’m NOT.
Rupert, if you’re out there, you are THE MAN! Where are you? We want MORE!