Song Of The Day 8/12/2013: Tony Randall & Jack Klugman - "You're So Vain"

Quarterly Covers Report: In the '70s, those wearing the pants in the entertainment industry came upon the curious idea to give sitcom stars their own music albums. This strategic programme gave us such landmark recordings as Ted Knight's Hi Guys!, Danny Bonaduce, Archie & Edith: Side By Side, Laverne & Shirley Sing, about 300 albums by The Brady Bunch and, moment of silence, John Travolta's debut album. And believe it or not, each and every one of those albums makes more inherent sense than Tony Randall and Jack Klugman donning their on-screen personnae of Felix Unger and Oscar Madison for the 1973 album The Odd Couple Sings.

Even in the singing TV star sub-genre that includes such doozies as William Shatner's The Transformed Man, this album was one of the, well, oddest in the bunch. I'm unclear about who the intended audience would have been at the time. Maybe easily amused senior citizens, or Hugh Hefner. What separates The Odd Couple Sings from the rest of the pack is song selection. They relied on Broadway musical comedy classics like Kiss Me Kate, Anything Goes, Gypsy and more, a ukulele novelty song with a title so ridiculous I'm not repeating it, and most baffling of all a ten-minute-plus operetta restating and developing the premise of the sitcom (Oscar was a slob, Felix was a neat freak, they were roommates). None of that was remotely sellable to the pop or comedy audiences of the time, especially when recorded with the venerable-sounding Roland Shaw and the London Festival Orchestra & Chorus. This came out the same year as Dark Side of the Moon. Think about that. Just chew on that one for awhile.

In addition to the more anachronistic songs Rand & Klug recorded, they took a crack at Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" too. It's the most head-scratching choice for the album, and yet the shrewdest. Klugman sings lead, with one verse sung by the aforementioned "chorus," and Randall reacts indignantly as only men as prim as he can do. As plainly gawky as this track is, at the same time it's... kind of... satisfying.

This is what we did in the '70s, kids. This is why Prozac was invented.


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