Friday, October 30, 2009

The Mayberry-Mothersbaugh Connection

Before I start on this post, I want to make it clear that this is in no way disparaging the musical talents of Mark Mothersbaugh, whose musicianship I admire. But a few months ago I happened to catch a snatch of The Andy Griffith Show that arrested my attention because of the familiarity of the song they sang on that episode.

The episode in question is from 1965, season 6, titled "A Singer in Town." This episode re-ran just recently (Oct 27) and I was able to record it this time. A famous (but fictional) pop star who has his own TV show stops in town on his way to somewhere else, and ends up staying a couple of days to go fishing. One of the star's hits was a song about Texarkana, and Aunt Bee thinks that a song she and her friend Clara wrote about Mayberry could be just as good, so she pitches it to him. Right-click and save to hear her pitch (these files are stored at my old Eponym blog--if the bandwidth runs out the links will stop working until next month):

My Home Town - Aunt Bee's demo version

The pop star's manager thinks that this might be just the thing they're looking for, to give their TV show a new twist, so they write a new arrangement and invite Aunt Bee and Clara to be interviewed on the show before singing the song. During a rehearsal, they run through the song and it sounds like this:

My Home Town - rockin' version

This was the version that caught my ear and made me think, well how 'bout that! However, Aunt Bee and Clara object strenuously to this souped-up version and argue very strongly against it, so strongly that the singer creates a new, last-minute arrangement (which they can easily do on TV shows) and when the program finally airs, it sounds like this:

My Home Town - smooth version

Which Aunt Bee loves and greatly approves of (and so does everyone).

Yes, I am eventually coming to a point, of sorts. I had previously detailed one of my favorite oddball records, Potatoes Vol. I from 1987. On this record, Mark Mothersbaugh has a song titled "My Home Town," a 90-second anthem about his home town of Akron, Ohio. Give the "rockin' version" above another listen, and then listen to this:

My Home Town - Mothersbaugh version

I don't know if this was a deliberate parody or an unintentional subconscious copy. But owing to the relative obscurity of the original song, I would think it appropriate to mention something about it in the liner notes, and I think the similarities are too striking to be coincidental.

I don't expect this to be earth-shattering news or anything like that. It's just one of those things that strikes me as interesting.

1 comment:

  1. I think Aunt Bee and Clara would approve...If they got a royalty check, that is.