My love of weird underground “popular” music began in my teens. I subscribed to LMNOP and got the New Music Distribution Service catalog to find more of it. I listened to KPFK’s “12 O’Clock Rock” with Andrea ‘Enthal, Chris Morris, Beau Clifford and company. And at the time the local teen radio station, KROQ, was inventing the Rock of the 80s format and hadn’t quite got it down yet, so they played a lot of weird stuff too.
Sometimes it was hard to find out what anyone had played, though. There wasn’t any Internet for looking stuff up. The stations were terrible at saying what they’d played, too. If I was at home I could call the station and ask, but there weren’t any cellphones either, so if I heard it on a portable or in a car I was SOL. What was that SONG? It was so GOOD!
When I was in high school, my mother and I went to see Diva in Santa Monica. I liked the movie and the soundtrack. But in the theatre before the movie I heard a song, too. It was catchy and fun, and the bits of lyrics I could catch were funny. And it had that New Weird Sound I liked so much. I couldn’t catch the refrain properly, though. On that sound system it was hard to pick things out, and the lyrics were obviously obscure and hard to intuit. What was that SONG? It was so GOOD!
I spent more than a year tracking the thing down. I only heard it twice more on the radio. The first was on KROQ when I was in a car. I totally had a full-on cow due to my inability to find out the name of the song, and of course the DJ only backannounced two songs and not the whole set. Asshole! What was that SONG? It was so GOOD!
The second time was on KPFK and I was at home, months later. I ran out of my bedroom in the middle of the night and called. Andrea was surprised that anyone didn’t already have the record, of course. The song was “King’s Lead Hat” from Brian Eno’s album Before And After Science. It remains one of my favorite songs and favorite albums. Here it is: King’s Lead Hat (.mp3, 3.7M).
The lyrics are mysterious and loads of fun. There’s a tiny bit of a story line and a lot of nonsense.
Twenty-five years later I finally hear that the song title is an anagram of “Talking Heads.” I wonder what other mysteries lurk? That song is so GOOD!