Browsing the "Music History" Category

A Continuing, Very Serious Anthropological Study: Where Did the Special Lyrics in Billy Idol’s Version of “Mony Mony” Come From?

January 1st, 2018 | by Alan Cross

It was probably in the spring of 1987 when I first heard the special audience lyrics in the Billy Idol version of the Tommy James classic, "Mony Mony."  I was hosting one of the old CFNY Video Roadshows at a high school somewhere in Southern Ontario. When Martin Streek, the guy in charge of playing the videos, flipped to this clip, the dancers erupted.

At first, I couldn't make how what they were yelling.  "What are they shouting?" I asked Martin.  He helpfully translated with the appropriate arm gestures.

Billy:  Here she come now singing Mony Mony
Billy:  Well, shoot 'em down, turn around, come on Mony
Billy:  Hey she give me love and I feel alright now

I looked at him weird.  "How do they know what to say?"

A puzzled look came across Martin's face for a moment; it was apparent that he'd never considered the question before. Then he just shrugged and turned to deal with a very angry principal who was appalled that such obscenities would be chanted by his students in his gym at his school.

The question of the origins of the special audience participation lyrics has been in the back of my mind ever since.  Perhaps it's time to address it once and for all--if that's even possible.

In Praise of the DJ

December 31st, 2017 | by Alan Cross

If you’ve ever found yourself losing your mind in a dance club or at a festival, you may have glanced

The Real Story Behind The Pogues “Fairytale of New York”

December 19th, 2017 | by Alan Cross

One of the most beloved modern Christmas songs of all time is "Fairytale of New York" from the Pogues with a guest appearance from the late Kirsty MacColl--even though it's really not about Christmas at all.

The song was born sometime in 1985 when Jem Finer, the Pogues' banjo player, started messing about with an idea.  He showed it to singer Shane McGowan who like it but didn't really know what to do with it.

For the next two years, Jem and Shane struggled with the song. Coming up with the lyrics was especially difficult.  The original idea was to tell the story of a sailor heading to distant seas, but that didn't work.  The song was abandoned.

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