Monday, November 1, 2010

Underground Sunshine -- "Birthday" (1969)

I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you!

I remember the day "2 or 3 lines" was born as if it were yesterday.  And now it's one year old!  Hard to believe, isn't it.  Happy birthday, big fella!

Happy Birthday to "2 or 3 lines"

The song featured in this very special birthday edition of "2 or 3 lines" is a no-brainer.  But how many of you remember the Underground Sunshine's version of the Beatles' "Birthday"?  It hit #26 on the Billboard "Hot 100" singles chart in the summer of 1969.  

When I listened to it recently, it sounded totally unfamiliar.  But I definitely do remember that there was a non-Beatles version of the song played on AM radio when I was in high school.  This must have been it.

The song had originally appeared on The Beatles (a/k/a "The White Album"), which was released late in 1968.  Paul McCartney said in a 2008 interview that the song was "50-50 me and John [Lennon]," but the producer remembered the song as being mostly Paul's.  John Lennon said it "was sort of made up in the studio.  It was a piece of crap."

Enough about "Birthday."  Let's get down to the task at hand -- which is to list the top ten posts from the first year of "2 or 3 lines."  (I know what you're thinking.  "There were so many great posts last year!  How can we limit ourselves to just ten?")

Here's my list, which was chosen based on the following factors: (1) how good the song is, (2) how good the post accompanying the song is, (3) how popular the post is, (4) how personally significant the song and the accompanying post are to me, (5) how badly I messed up the HTML code in the post (in other words, how much work would be required to put the post into good enough shape to feature on this list), and (6) other.

Each song title below serves as a link to the corresponding post.  (If you missed them the first time, now you have no excuse.)

Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics
Just possibly the most honest "2 or 3 lines" ever.  Except I lied about why I liked the live video, of course.

A very obscure movie, and an even more obscure song.  And Christopher Jones shouldn't be forgotten.

This post has enough material for a B or B+ paper in a college American popular culture course.  (Go ahead and try it.  You'll see.)  

14 or fight!

This post kills two birds with one stone -- playing time for three of my kids, plus I fire off a couple of dozen cheap shots at the Boston Red Sox.  I just hope Kevin Youkilis doesn't see it and decide to pay me a visit.

Paul Revere in Joplin
My high-school reunion opened the floodgates of memory and "2 or 3 lines" has never been the same.  I wrote as many posts in July as I had written in the first six months of the year.  Most of them were inspired by my experiences growing up in Joplin, and this one -- which goes back to the 8th grade -- is about an event that was kind of a big deal, and which a surprising number of my classmates witnessed.  It features some wonderful video of 1960's groups.

This is a surprisingly popular post -- given the relative obscurity of the song, I can only guess that the cartoon references are generating most of the hits.

This is the post that put "2 or 3 lines" on the map.  It was an unusual post that presented a close reading of a very interesting song, and none of my usual autobiographical nonsense -- yet it is perhaps the most personal post on the blog.  The artist who wrote and recorded the song posted a link to this on her website, which attracted visitors from all around the world, and was kind enough to write a very complementary note about it to me.

This post -- written by a friend who has been a loyal and thoughtful reader of "2 or 3 lines" -- deserves to be here on the strength of the very interesting story it tells.  But it also symbolizes all of the wonderful friendships that were reinvigorated or, in some cases, formed for the first time as the result of my 40th high-school reunion this past summer.  Those are the people I'm really writing for.

Fee Waybill of the Tubes
This post has it all -- a memorable but half-forgotten experience that came to life when I researched and wrote it, a clever and obscure song . . . and a lot more hits than I would ever have expected.

The people have spoken.  No post on "2 or 3 lines" has attracted more viewers -- and those viewers are from all over the world.  Cult bands like Blue Oyster Cult obviously have a hardcore fan base, and the band's music, lyrics, and artwork generate considerable interest. 

This was the song that inspired me to create "2 or 3 lines."  I chose this song for my first post for a reason, and nothing's changed since then.  This post doesn't have all the bells and whistles that some of my later ones feature, but it has everything it needs -- most of all, it's about a great song.

Here's "Happy Birthday":

It appears that this song is not available for purchase from either iTunes or Amazon.

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