Songs Of The Day 11/4/2014: Neil Diamond - "The Pot Smoker's Song" vs. Sonny Bono - "Pammie's On A Bummer"


Song Wars! Well, the winner of yesterday's Song War was David Ackles, who beat Rufus Wainwright by a final tally of -- let me look this up here -- ah, yes: One vote to none. There was one vote the whole time. I mentioned there's a poll at the bottom of the entry, didn't I? Oh, wait, nope, no I didn't. Okay, then. For the sake of clarity: You can actually vote in the Song Wars. There's a poll at the bottom of the entry. I'm doing this to increase our interactivity. It's good for blood circulation. Fall in line, all right? Great. Moving on.

Today's Song War subject is: Late '60s "With-It" Uncle Figures Trying To Keep You Away From Drugs.

The first contestant, from Brooklyn NY, is Neil Diamond with "The Pot Smoker's Song." I wouldn't be surprised if this number kept you away from the dangers of contraband for a whole fifteen minutes, which I'm allowing to you for possibly misplacing your keys while trying to get in touch with your dealer. We're talking a chorus of somewhat, no, make that verywhat inane proportions intercut with real-life, unfocused testimonials about the dangers of pot from people in rehab. Slight problem: They were recovering from heroin abuse, not pot. Gap's pretty wide there. This song haunted Diamond for awhile. Amusing side note: He was busted for marijuana possession in 1976. However, it was kind of chill: He only had an ounce, was a very gracious host to the cops, and gave them all signed copies of the Beautiful Noise album upon their departure. Class act, all around!

Don't you dare call Diamond's song a slam dunk, though: In the other corner, from Detroit, Michigan, we got Sonny Bono with his anti-pot-heroin-LSD-prostitution-scuzball-gluten-artifical-sweetener epic, "Pammie's On a Bummer." Holy moustache ride, this song never fails to get me. I've read that musically it's supposed to represent the sound of a "bad trip." That it does, if you're thinking of someone taking a bad trip over the monster cable in the studio. Look, we all know Sonny wasn't anti-establishment, so by right he gets a buffer zone where he's permitted to be unhip. But this sucker abuses the privilege, telling a story of teenage girl's Hollywood descent with some... thought-provoking lyrical details. "She had nimble feet." "It wasn't strong enough, so she graduated to tripping." "They gave her one more vicious blow -- she got hung up on an untouchable cat." Um... Well, look, there's a message there somewhere, and if it resonates with you, please know there's life beyond Terre Haute, so get yourself a Greyhound ticket.

All right, kids, straight to your room. After you take the poll:

Who scared you straight?
Neil Diamond and his army of introspective burnouts
Sonny Bono and whatever the hell he was smoking at the time
Poll Maker

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