It’s positively ubiquitous! According to Gizmodo …
The sound effect that’s been heard in countless movies and TV shows over the decades technically has two birthdays. As a sound itself, it originally debuted in the 1951 film Distant Drums from singer-songwriter Sheb Wooley. But it was officially given its name with the minor character of Private Wilhelm in The Charge at Feather River, a western that came out July 11, 1953. In that movie, Wilhelm (played by actor Ralph Brooks) screams after being shot in the thigh with an arrow, which would come to define its use: in all of its appearances in future media, it would be used when someone got shot, blasted back by an explosion, or fell from a high distance.
Recently, CBS News did a story on the Wilhelm Scream, and the outlet revealed that it managed to find a tape with the first recording session Wooley did for the scream. CalArts researcher Craig Smith explained to CBS that he found the tape among many from the archives of the University of Southern California’s film school that were close to being trashed.
This video is only concerned with the artists who contributed to Mad in it’s first two decades – even if some of them carried on for longer. I’ve got nothing against those who came later but I’m selfishly only dealing with the ones who inspired and influenced me as I grew up. They taught me more than 4 years of college ever did. Apparently in the early Kurtzman comic years Mad was printed in colour, although all the examples I found were black and white only, and according to a particularly grumpy viewer Dave Berg didn’t die until 2002. Mea culpa.
Billion Dollar Babies is kicking my ass today, this song in particular.
Finally got a ride, this old broad down from Santa Fe
She was a real go-getter
She drawled so sweetly “Think child, that things’ll get better”
We pulled off the highway
Night black as a widow
“Yeah, I read the Bible”
She said, “I wanna know of you”
Hey, I think I got a live one
Hey, I think I found a live one
Hey, I think I got a live one
Yeah, Yeah, think I got a live one
Felt like I was hit by a diesel or a Greyhound bus
She was no babysitter
“Get up now sugar, never thought you’d be a quitter”
I opened the back door, she was greedy
I ran through the desert, she was chasing
No time to get dressed so I was naked
Stranded in Chihuahua
Alone, raped and freezing
Alone, cold and sneezing
Alone, down in Mexico
I was reminded of this today and felt it needed a reposting. As the story goes, I first saw this issue of MAD at my friend Geoff’s house when we were in the third grade. I was a sensitive, sheltered kid, and remember feeling nauseated after reading MAD’s “Punk Rock Group” of the Year. Punching fans! Vomiting and urinating onstage! Self-mutilation!
But a few years later, when I actually got into punk in middle school, I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for it at Memphis Comics and Records. (I never had any success, mostly because I only had a rough timeframe for when that issue would have been published, and no Internet to assist me.)
I did, however, finally find it when my in-laws gave me every issue of MAD on CD one Christmas. These days, I’m positively obnoxious about reposting it.
BONUS: Here’s an interview with artist Harry North.
I’m sure you all have a lot of music you have to hear a few times a year. On my list is Bach’s Goldberg Variations. I’m kind of addicted to theme and variations pieces, and this is one of the best, inventive and resourceful as hell. Bach can get too dour and Lutheran for me, but not here. Consists of an aria, 30 variations, then the aria again at the end. The common theme is not the aria but the bass line, which is repeated in every variaton, although not always overtly. The melodies of the variations are not necessarily related to one another. A huge range of material from a single bass line. Reminds me of how many rock songs use the same bass/chord structures a million different ways. But these are all from one work by one guy.
If I’m in the mood to hear a crazy young person play it, I go to Glenn Gould’s 1955 recording. This record made him an overnight sensation, and I would guess that it’s the #1 selling classical album of all time. If I’m in the mood to hear a crazy middle-aged person play it, I like GG’s 1981 re-make. When I want to hear it played by someone from this planet, I like the one posted above.
Musicologists wet their trousers when Bach is played on a piano instead of a harpsicord. They shit themselves too if the pianist is as individual and “inauthentic” as GG. All the more reason to love these records.
A musicologist is a man who can read music but can’t hear it. -Sir Thomas Beecham
Without music, life would be a mistake.-Friedrich Nietzsche
Should you? Whether you do or not, this is fascinating stuff.
Japanese pressings are regarded by many as the best sounding vinyl in the world, but what does it do for The Beatles? Over the decades Japan has issued countless issues of The Beatles albums and there are so many to choose from to collect, but are they worth it?
In this video we take a look at how The Beatles’ original albums were released in the 1960’s and find out which of the subsequent reissued are worth buying and which are not.
Join us on this fascinating trip and do let us know your thoughts about these amazing records.
I’m addicted to Andrew Hickey’s A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs. I started at #1 after finishing Cocaine & Rhinestones, and have grown progressively more impressed with it. It’s impeccably researched,and so full of good stories and facts you never had any idea of. The episode on “Brand New Cadillac” is masterclass. Highly recommended. I will avoid spoilers.
My house went on the market yesterday. My office (that I never use and I threw a bunch of old hifi stuff and a midi controller I had laying around into to stage) has now flicked off almost 2,000 people on Zillow.
According to both Al Green and Willie Mitchell, they earned by far the most royalties for this song not from their own version, nor from those of Syl Johnson or even the Talking Heads, but from Billy Big Mouth Bass. Even Queen Elizabeth had one.