Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Warrant -- "Cherry Pie" (1990)

Swingin' on the front porch
Swingin' on the lawn
Swingin' where we want
'Cause there ain't nobody home
Swingin' to the left
And swingin' to the right
If I think about baseball
I'll swing all night!

2 or 3 lines is a woefully lacking when it comes to hair metal content.  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I was inspired to write about this song by a chance comment from a work friend, who mentioned recently that Jani Lane -- Warrant's lead singer -- had just died.

John Belushi overdosed in one of the bungalows at the Chateau Marmont hotel, a celebrity hangout on Sunset Boulevard whose guests have included Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hunter S. Thompson, and Lindsay Lohan.

Sid Vicious stabbed his girlfriend while they were staying at the Chelsea Hotel, a New York City hotel that has hosted Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac (he wrote On The Road there), Stanley Kubrick, Joni Mitchell, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Dylan Thomas (who died there).

Lane in 2011
By contrast, poor Jani Lane breathed his last (at age 47) at the Comfort Inn on Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, California.  You can get a room there for $94.99 a night -- not bad for a hotel that may be in a really crappy area but does have a Denny's on the premises.

When my friend mentioned Lane's death, I concealed the fact that I had only the vaguest notion who Warrant was.  (By the way, Lane's real name was John Kennedy Oswald.  Let me know if you can think of any excuse for parents to do that to an innocent child, because I sure can't.) 

I can't say this song rings any bells, although it was a top 10 single and the first track on the band's eponymous double-platinum album.  I guess I was too busy listening to Jane's Addiction and Fine Young Cannibals and Inspiral Carpets in 1990.

I don't know for sure how old my friend is, but my guess would have put her in her early twenties when Warrant was popular.  It turns out she must be a lot younger than I thought, because I don't see how anyone older than 12 or 13 could have liked this song.

I like a good double entendre as much as the next guy.  This song has plenty of double entendres, just not any good ones.

You younger readers may wonder what that "think about baseball" reference in the lyrics quoted above means.  Guys were supposed to think about Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays as they approached a "certain moment" . . . so as to delay that "certain moment" . . . hopefully until after the girl's "certain moment" arrived.

Willie and the Mick
Warrant had completed recording their second album when their record company told them they wanted one more song -- preferably a rock "anthem" that would make people want to sing along to it and also buy the record.  The story goes that Lane wrote "Cherry Pie" in 15 minutes. 

What took you so long, Jani?

Nancy Gribble
Here's a great piece of trivia about "Cherry Pie": it's the ringtone of Dale Gribble's cheating wife Nancy on King of the Hill.

The comments about "Cherry Pie" on http://www.songfacts.com/ are hilarious.  Most of the commenters debate whether Warrant or Nirvana were the better band.  The Warrant fans find Nirvana depressing -- one commenter says "I'd much rather hear a song and watch a video about a sexy girl than listen to Kurt Cobain whine and complain about how much his life sucks."

Others say that "Cherry Pie" was so bad that it is responsible for the success of Seattle grunge music.  One commenter opines that Warrant represents "the nadir of hair metal -- the low point of the most popular type of rock in the late 80's -- a sign that a change had to come. It couldn't go any lower after them."

The video is so sexist that the Canadian equivalent of MTV refused to air it. (Canada is an extremely politically correct country, but you'd have to have the sensibility of a Larry Flynt not to find this video a little over the top.)

The hot blonde in the video is Bobbie Brown, a successful beauty pageant contestant and Star Search winner who also appeared in Great White's "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" video (a personal favorite of 2 or 3 lines) and three episodes of Married With Children.

Jani Lane and Bobbie Brown
Obviously, sparks flew during the filming of the "Cherry Pie" video because Brown dumped her boyfriend and married Jani Lane.  They got divorced a few years later. 

Since then, Brown has dated several other rock stars, including the legendary Mötley Crüe drummer, Tommy Lee.  I wonder if he's ever had to think about baseball?

Here's the "Cherry Pie" video:

Here's a link you can use to buy the song from Amazon:

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