It will come, it will come, it will surely come

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!

14 thoughts on “It will come, it will come, it will surely come

  1. One of my favorite songs as well. I’m surprised you didn’t find out about the Talking Heads reference until so much later. The second half of that album makes me all swoony, especially “Spider and I”.
    Charming picture, by the way!

  2. That’s a great story, and it resonates. I had a great college radio station nearby when I was a sprout, and would hear the strangest things I’d ever heard in my young life by tuning in late at night with the big clampy headphones on. I remember the time that I was about to take the cans off, thinking the station was going off for the night (‘member when stations went off the air?) because of a particularly long pause after a song. When all of a sudden a vocordered “AaaAh Ah AaahA Aaaha Ah,AaaAh Ah AaahA Aaaha Ah,AaaAh Ah AaahA Aaaha Ah ,AaaAh Ah AaahA Aaaha Ah” came on with
    “Good evening. This is your Captain.
    We are about to attempt a crash landing.
    Please extinguish all cigarettes.
    Place your tray tables in their
    upright, locked position.
    Your Captain says: Put your head on your knees.
    Your Captain says: Put your head in your hands.
    Put your hands on your hips. Heh heh.”
    I still believe nobody should hear that song for the first time UNLESS it’s in the wee smalls of the morning, pitch black, with good ‘phones. I don’t listen to Laurie Anderson much these days, but every so often I toss that disc on the turntable, and still like it.

  3. every time I read your music-related posts I feel more and more certain that we were at a number of the same shows throughout the mid-eighties to early-nineties

  4. First time I heard that song I must’ve been 16. It nearly blew my mind at the end where the feedback is overwhelming the noisegate, or whatever is happening there. It’s ineffable, really. We did this spasmy dance to it in my friend’s basement.

  5. You made me a mixed CD once with King’s Lead Hat on it. I must have heard it before than, but I don’t think I had ever paid much attention to it. It has been a staple on all of my play lists since you gave it to me a few years ago. Great song.

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