It’s not an exaggeration to say that not everybody in Rock is the brightest spark, or the sharpest tool in the box. Rock is filled, even attracts, those who are one sandwich short of a picnic. Nothing wrong with that, mind you. If I want to hear some good rock n roll, I don’t want my guitar hero’s mind to be cluttered up with thoughts of existentialism, the musings of Plato, or whether if a tree falls in a wood and nobody’s there, does it make a sound? I want said hero to be bending strings with a mind emptier than Mariah Carey’s bookcase, possibly whilst feeling annoyed that the other guys in the band have their monitors up too loud.
But Every Record Tells A Story is nothing if not a public service, so I thought I would come to the rescue of the musicians in bands who have written some muddle headed songs, who wanted some answers to some fairly basic questions, which as far as I can tell no-one has yet answered.
1. Question: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
Answer: You should stay.
Workings: This is a pretty easy one to start with. A bit of low-hanging fruit, if you will. It’s one that The Clash will be kicking themselves over. Let’s go through things step by step.
We know the following: a) If I stay, there will be trouble. b) If I go there will be double.
The answer is therefore obvious. There will be twice as much trouble if you go than if you stay, therefore you should stay. Next…
2. Question: Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?
Answer: No. Not with the examples stated.
Workings: I suspect there are still as yet undiscovered tribes in the Amazon jungle that are aware that none of the examples of irony in the song by Alanis Morissette are actually ironic. We might look at ways the examples might have become ironic of course:
It’s like rain on your wedding day…..If you were a TV weather forecaster and you had predicted a sunny day for the wedding.
I’ll leave you to come up with some more examples…..
3. Question: How Soon Is Now?
Answer: Really really soon.
Workings: I feel like I may have missed Morrissey’s point on this one, but the clue is in the question isn’t it? It’s now, and that’s really, really soon.
4. Question: Who’ll Stop The Rain?
Answer: No-one. It’s a natural phenomenon caused by clouds and stuff.
Workings: Credence Clearwater Revival sang about how they wonder who’ll stop the rain, suggesting they weren’t paying attention in Geography lessons. To be fair, this was in the days before Wikipedia, and they were pretty stoned most of the time by all accounts, so let’s leave it there.
5. Question: Who’s Driving Your Plane?
Answer: It’s the pilot. And, by the way, the word you are looking for is “flying” or “piloting” rather than “driving”.
Workings: This early, bluesy Rolling Stones B-side showed a disturbing lack of awareness of the basics of aviation from a band that had already travelled extensively across from the UK to the USA.
6. Question: Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever?
Answer: Because of the way the Earth spins around, thus causing the sun to sometimes be shining on you, and other times not shining on you.
Steve Perry of Journey is a lovely singer, but showed a disturbingly poor grasp of simple physics – or, if you prefer, an understanding of how day and night works – with this question from the Raised On Radio album. The only excuse I can think of is if he was raised close to the North Pole and remembers some very long winter nights. His Wikipedia page has no mention of his being raised an Inuit or similar (slightly surprised he wasn’t born in South Detroit, given he sings about it a lot) so I suspect he just neglected his studies.
NB. We have an interesting situation here, where The Flaming Lips have actually answered Perry’s question in their song “Do You Realise?”. The Flaming Lips say: “You realise the sun doesn’t go down / it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round…”
7. Question: Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?
Answer: There are many reasons. It’s uncomfortable. There are hygiene issues. There’s a strong probability of being run over. It’s probably illegal.
Workings: The Beatles seemed to pin all their hopes on this being okay based on the premise that “no-one will be watching us, so why don’t we do it in the road?” McCartney clearly forgot about traffic issues, pot-holes, the law of the land and basic comforts when assuming that a lack of nosey neighbours might be the only impediment to being able to do it in the road. And let’s not get started thinking about having to pick bits of grit out of your more sensitive areas for weeks afterwards. It’s bad enough if you have a picnic on a beach and the wind whips up some sand in your tuna mayo sandwich, if you’ll forgive the analogy…
Of course, there is the possibility that he was referring to mending pot-holes, in which case there seems little option but to do it in the road, but then that begs the question why anyone would worry about being observed….
8. Question: Is This The Way To Amarillo?
Answer: It depends. Are you in Texas? If not, and you’re not a) in the USA or b) on a plane, then it probably isn’t the way to Amarillo.