Song Of The Day 2/12/2014: Dave Grohl - "Tiny Dancer"

Quarterly Covers Report: Back when I was a struggling song stylist trying to resuscitate the flagging art of self-aware lounge music, I had this live piano series entitled Cocktail Hell. It ran during the summer of 2003 at Charlie's Tavern in Olympia, which is now closed or in escrow or having its tonsils out or something. Cocktail Hell was partially borne from a March 2003 Rodeo Kill show in which our bassist didn't show up, so we had to scrap the show and improvise on the spot. It was sloppy, half-remembered and a barrel full of laffs. As my now-wife remarked at the time, "It was the most fun I've had watching something fail."

Cocktail Hell emerged as ironic-er-than-thou piano lounge act, in which I'd take songs from literally any musical style and bluff my way through it. Mistakes were made. Guests showed up. There were also occasional moments of glory, in particular one actual incident of three-part harmony featuring my friends Scott Taylor and Paul Plagens. But overall it was intended to be a slap-shod, ego-deprecating meta-act. People told me they enjoyed it, and fights often broke out to that effect. The summer of '03. They tell me it was nice.

ANYWAY, what I never told any of you about Cocktail Hell is that it had one very specific musical performance as its blueprint, its spirit animal if you will: Foo Fighter Dave Grohl's one-off performance of Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" from a 2001 episode of The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn. I am not really overstating it: Grohl's performance was, seriously, the kind of entertainment parcel we strove to emulate for you every single week. For years I'd only heard Grohl's take, thanks to an mp3 I'd purloined from that morally wayward Napster site. Little did I know then that it was just a matter of time before YouTube exhumed it for our edification. I do hope you enjoy it. I think you will.

And "Piano Man" still costs $20 -- $50 if you want me to sing the original lyrics.


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