Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Echo & the Bunnymen – "Pictures on My Wall" (1980)

Can you hear it?
The sound of 
Someone thinking

Did you know that the official name of Mexico is the “United Mexican States”?  (In Spanish, it’s Estados Unidos Mexicanos.) 

Did you know that there were 31 states in the United Mexican States?  That’s not counting Mexico City, which is not part of any state.  (Until recently, Mexico City was officially the “Federal District” – or Distrito Federal – sort of like our District of Columbia.)

Like American license plates, Mexican license plates indicate the state of issuance.  The photo below – which was taken as a Mexican restaurant in my 'hood – shows license plates from Tlaxcala (which is abbreviated “TLAX”), Nuevo León (“N L”), Morelos (“MOR”), Tamaulipas (“TAMPS”), Chihuahua (“CHIH”), and the Distrito Federal (“D F”):

I found it interesting that Mexican license plates use English numbers instead of Spanish numbers.

*     *     *     *     *

When I was a kid growing up in Joplin, Missouri, in the fifties and sixties, I remember that Chevrolets dominated the local automobile population.

Here’s a painting of a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air – a real classic – that was hanging on the wall of that aforementioned Mexican restaurant.  This painting and the other ones featured in this post were accurate enough that I was able to figure out the year and model of each car or truck:

Here’s a 1959 Chevy Impala:

The ’59 Impala weighed 3900 pounds.  You could get it with a six-cylinder engine, but most people went for one of two V-8s.  The smaller of those V-8s displaced 283 cubic inches and generated 230 horsepower, with a top speed of 106 miles per hour.  It got an estimated 9 miles per gallon in city driving and 12 MPG on the highway.  (That sounds terrible, but we didn’t care.  Regular gas went for 20 or 25 cents a gallon in the sixties.)

By contrast the 2018 Impala weighs 370o pounds.  Its base four-cylinder engine displaces only 150 cubic inches but generates 197 horsepower and has a top speed of 140 MPH.  According to the EPA, it gets 22 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway.

Here’s another 1959 Impala:

*     *     *     *     *

Ford was the second-most popular car in Joplin back in the day.  

For some reason, my family never owned a Ford or Mercury.  We mostly had GM cars – Chevys and Oldsmobiles and at least one Pontiac – although my parents once owned a 1956 Plymouth and my grandparents had a 1957 DeSoto, a Chrysler marque that was discontinued in 1960.

Here’s a 1957 Ford Del Rio station wagon.  Note that it has only two doors, which seems odd for a station wagon:

The Ford Thunderbird eventually got big and flabby, but the early T-birds were hot little works of art.  Here’s a 1956 Thunderbird – it’s subtly different from the ’55 and ’57 T-birds:

I had a friend whose uncle occasionally let him drive around town in his late-fifties Thunderbird (which had a removable hardtop).  The friend came by my house on January 12, 1969, and we drove up and down Main Street a few times before stopping at the Dairy Queen.

I remember the date because that was the day that SuperBowl III was played.  You would have thought that a couple of red-blooded American teenagers like the two of us would have been glued to our televisions during the SuperBowl, but everyone know that Joe Namath’s New York Jets had no chance against the 13-1 Baltimore Colts.

Joe Namath in SuperBowl III
So instead of witnessing the greatest upset in SuperBowl history – perhaps the greatest upset in the history of American professional sports – we were cruising Main Street in a classic T-bird convertible.  I guess I can live with that.

By contrast, this 1953 Ford Crestline sedan was dull as dishwasher:

Finally, here’s a 1961 Ford F100 pickup:

I didn’t know a soul who owned a pickup truck back then.  I assumed that pickups were just for farmers. 

*     *     *     *     *

Echo & the Bunnymen were a Liverpool band that formed in 1978.

“Pictures on the Wall” – the group’s first single – was included on the first album, Crocodiles, which was released in 1980.  (You best believe I bought Crocodiles – it was a silly album.)

How did Echo & the Bunnymen get their name?  Here’s what the band’s original guitarist, Will Sergeant, had to say about that:

We had this mate who kept suggesting all these names like The Daz Men or Glisserol and the Fan Extractors.  Echo and the Bunnymen was one of them.  I thought it was just as stupid as the rest.

And you were right, Will Sergeant.

*     *     *     *     *

Click here to listen to “Picture on My Wall.”

Click on the link below to buy the song from Amazon:

No comments:

Post a Comment