The Friday Five: EBS Specials!

I want to give a Holton Howdy (I just thought of that) to Marian Allen, whom I appreciate for featuring me on her blog this morning. She said she likes the term “EBS Special” that I use to signify any song that I consider so bad I’d rather listen to an Emergency Broadcast System test. I used the term yesterday in a reply to Dan, who said that “September Morn,” the song in my latest Battle of the Bands, is not really his favorite song.

Everyone had their own criteria for what constitutes a song they like and a song they don’t, and what’s an EBS Special to me might be your favorite song. Hey, de gustibus non est demonstrandum (there’s no arguing matters of taste). Some of these songs are on my list, not because they’re bad songs, but because they got played to death when they were on the Top 40, and I got sick of them. Rather than draw this discussion out, let me give you some examples.

Seasons in the Sun – Terry Jacks This oft-maligned song combines morose lyrics that talk about death with a perky tune. Not ncessarily the worst thing in the world, but it was played so frequently in its heyday you’d grab that radio dial and give it a spin whenever it came on.

Playground In My Mind – Clint Holmes Does anyone else get the image of a man sitting in a windowless van across the street from a busy playground?

Beginnings – Chicago Actually, this is a great song, at least the original, 8-minute version was, complete with Jim Pankow and Lee Loughnane trading fours on the trombone and trumpet (respectively) and the extended Latin percussion jam at the end. Columbia Records evidently needed a single, and rather than reissuing something like “Questions 67 and 68” (the next song on the Chicago Transit Authority album and the band’s first single that hadn’t sold due to lack of promotion), they decided to turn “Beginnings” into a Frankenstein’s monster so it would fit on a 7″ single. Anyone familiar with the original gave the radio dial a spin.

Run, Joey, Run – David Geddes Basically a song about a guy who gets his girlfriend pregnant and has her daddy after him with a shotgun while the girlfriend tells him to run away. Might be tolerable without the overwrought female voice… no, it wouldn’t be…

American Pie – Don McLean Again, not a bad song on the face of it, but was the victim of being played and analyzed to the point of people looking for something more soothing, like an EBS test.

That’s The Friday Five for September 16, 2016. What are your “EBS Specials”?

21 thoughts on “The Friday Five: EBS Specials!

  1. I’m another one who still loves American Pie. It still holds that sweet nostalgia factor for me. I’d add “Their Coming to Take Me Away (ha ha to the funny farm…..) ” as a song on this list. I don’t even want to think about DOA.


    1. I think if they didn’t spend so much time analyzing “AP” to death and just let it be a song, I wouldn’t want to give the dial a spin as much as I do now.


  2. Brown Eyed Girl….turn it off every time. It ties with the already mentioned American Pie. Also that crazy Mickey song by Toni Basil. Ugh.


  3. American Pie? Really? Gah, I love that song.

    I don’t know the songs I can’t stand, but they’re usually power ballads. And my husband usually loves them, and sings them loudly. Dreadful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thumbs up for Jacks, Chicago, and McLean. Just not feelin’ it with the others. But yeppers, it seems that familiarity breeds contempt in music, too. Even for the three I like, the time and place must be right.


  5. Don’t have a specific song, but I hate singers who SCREAM at me. Bruce Springsteen comes to mind.


    1. There was a period during the Seventies where “lite rock” generally meant “depressing.” “Seasons in the Sun” is an example, as is “Feelings” by Morris Albert, and any version of “Send In The Clowns.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. When I was very young, I really liked Seasons in the Sun. I still kind of do.

    I still really like American Pie. 🙂

    And, yes, I do get that weird mental picture you mentioned about the van and the playground. LOL


  7. Remember DOA? By Bloodrock? Scared the crap out of me. When it came on I couldn’t get to the radio dial fast enough. Also, They’re Coming to Take me Away. I guess that one was too close to the truth. And Minnie Ripperton’s “Loving You” to me sounded like fingernails on a chalk board. Definitely EBS material.


    1. I can’t say I remember “DOA,” but yes, it’s pretty awful.

      Nothing is worse than a singer with some incredible vocal range who has to demonstrate it in every song. Mariah Carey has finally learned, I think, not that she’s a favorite of mine.

      I liked the flip side of “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, HA-HAAAA!” where they ran the song backward. They even printed the label backward.


  8. I never heard the Playground or Joey songs that much, but if I did I’m sure they would have worn thin on me. If I never heard them again that would be fine with me. “American Pie” is a song that I never tire of hearing. Maybe if I heard it on constant replay it would start getting very old for me, but having heard it many times over the years it’s still a song that stirs me a bit within.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The only song I can think of off-hand that I’d put into this category would be “The Macarena.” The song was played MUCH too often on the radio… and at parties, wedding receptions, whatever. Our younger son came very close to making me dislike one of my favorite songs, though. When he discovered the song “Turn, Turn, Turn,” he must have played it like a HUNDRED times in a row. I ended up telling him to close his bedroom door. Whew!


    1. “The Macarena” is like “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” It gets old in a real hurry…

      I think we were supposed to sing “Turn, Turn, Turn” for a school Mass once, and had to sing it over and over because the nuns didn’t like how we were doing it. A nightmare…


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