Monday, January 19, 2009
THE LATEST SONG I CAN'T GET OUT OF MY HEAD....AND IT'S ABOUT CANNIBALISM
Back in 1971, as the Vietnam war raged on, an unknown group out of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania was approached by singer-songwriter Rupert Holmes to record a song that he had written. Holmes, just 20 years old at the time, needed money. His music career was struggling, so he wrote a song about three boys stuck in a mine. The only way they could survive, the song tells us, is by eating "Timothy." He figured controversy would bring recognition to the song. As I was laying in bed, floating in and out of REM, this song was playing on the 70's Cable T.V music channel.
"Timothy" was a one hit wonder and the Buoys never had any future success, but the controversy surrounding the cannibalism aspect of the song had teenagers flooding the request lines of radio stations. Holmes remembers:
"Scepter Records in the beginning did not even know it was on their label. The promotion men for Scepter Records, would say, 'We couldn't get it on that station, they went with this stupid song called Timothy.' Finally, someone said, 'You idiot, it's on our label.' Now they have a problem, because now they're getting up towards the top 20, and they know there are some big stations that are simply not going to play this record. WABC-AM, the biggest station at the time, they never played it. Scepter Records started a rumor that Timothy was a mule to try to get the taint of cannibalism out of the picture and try to make it a Top-10 record. Someone called me and said, 'Was Timothy a mule? You wrote it.' And I said 'No, what can I tell you, they ate him."