by Chris Ledford
I recently lost my iPod so I’ve been listening to the radio in my car. Atlanta radio offers a diverse array of traphouse hip hop and classic rock. I don’t mean to knock the trap, but, frankly, it’s scary. Classic Rock is safe.
The vanguard of Atlanta oldies stations is 97.1 “The River.” For a station that offers “less talk, more rock,” there sure is a lot of what I could only categorize as, well, “talk.” Every afternoon a DJ named “English” Nick goes on endless tangents about dreams he’s had and offers tickets to “the Australian Pink Floyd Show,” a Pink Floyd cover band so good that Roger Waters said he thinks they’re “even better than the real Pink Floyd!”
At first, the novelty of listening to my dad’s head-banger anthems felt ironic and fun. (“I’m cruising around to Foghat just like in Dazed and Confused!”) But, after a couple of weeks, it was exhausting to hear Joe Walsh every hour. I remembered why I learned to hate this stuff in college and got really into New Order and Boards of Canada.
Among the songs that now haunt my nightmares are the following:
“Big Shot” by Billy Joel– The Piano Man gets preachy and scolds a lady for partying too hard. What’s that saying about people in glass houses? They better beware of Billy Joel crashing his car into their garage?
“Behind Blue Eyes” by the Who– Pete “Pity-Party” Townsend makes Morrissey look like John Wayne.
“Happy X-mas (War is Over)” by John Lennon– John Lennon is your angsty college-freshman cousin who ruins Thanksgiving by bringing up the Trail of Tears. While Paul McCartney was “simply having a wonderful Christmas time,” John was guilt-tripping us for not doing enough to “stop the war” while lying in bed.
“Layla” by Derek and the Dominoes– Eric Clapton is such a monster that he rented a studio and hired some of the world’s best musicians just to cuckold his best friend George Harrison.
“Slow Ride” by Foghat and “Free Ride” by Edgar Winter– Why are these two different songs? Couldn’t somebody have called dibs on the “ride” song?
“Cat Scratch Fever” by Ted Nugent– I once stumbled upon a hunting show hosted by Ted Nugent where he shot deers and then stood over their dying bodies while ranting about Nancy Pelosi. That was only half a bad as listening to him brag about getting the clap while ripping off the “Smoke on the Water” riff.
“In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly– One of my most disappointing experiences as a young recordphile was buying In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida on vinyl. I’d long been told Iron Butterfly invented heavy metal, which is a lie. This record is way less “Iron” and way more “Butterfly.”
“For What it’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield– The official anthem for Baby Boomer Delusional Nostalgia. Every time an aging Aquarian says their generation “changed the world” I can hear the opening “Ping…PING” and I remind myself that they also elected Reagan and invaded Iraq.
Chris Ledford is a writer and comedian from Atlanta. He hosts Song Missing, a monthly music-themed comedy/lit variety show at the Village Theatre in Atlanta. You can follow him on Twitter @chrishledford.