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Sunday, January 23, 2011

311. "Flesh Number One (Beatle Dennis)" by Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians

The Robyn Hitchcock online mailing list "fegmaniax" was one of the first "places" I frequented when I first went online in the mid nineties (I put "places" in quotes because, and I mention this because it's personally reasonable that many people reading this wouldn't be familiar with the archaic notion of e-mail mailing lists, and one of the essential characteristics of such lists is that there's even less "there" there than there is with, say, a website) and the only such community of which I'm still a part all these years later. Today a lot of the interactions of it members (fegs) and traffic take place off the list entirely and on Facebook instead, so while those connections continue, it's a little sad to see the list itself finally fading after all this time, going grey in a museum as our boy might have it.

Nonetheless, it was on the Feglist Proper this morning that I saw this notice this morning:
As I was driving in this morning, I heard what I thought was a Robyn Hitchcock
song on the radio. It sounded like 'Flesh Number One (Beatle Dennis)'. But it
wasn't. Musically, it was identical, lyrically, it was different. I called the
station (88.9FM KXLU). The DJ said it was 'Is It Cold In Silverlake' by Buddy.

Apparently the song was on an episode of 'Ghost Whisperer'.

Does Robyn know about this?
Indeed, when we all got to hear it, as you can here, it was a total clone of one of Robyn's very best tunes, which is really saying something when you have as many great tunes as he does. I was doubly vexed because the title presumably refers to hipster haven Silver Lake, the neighborhood in Los Angeles where I just happen to live. Thing is, it's properly two separate words, Silver Lake, not Silverlake (although in fairness a lot of local business make the same mistake in their advertising and storefronts).

Admittedly, Buddy (sometimes it seems to be a guy and sometimes it seems to be a band) may totally admit in some contexts to borrowing the tune, and for all I know they credit Hitchcock in the liner notes, but it's still a little irritating that this thing is floating around in the virtual world positing itself as a different song. It ought to at least have the original title in parentheses and a very prominent tag in the info of the mp3 identifying the original source.

Anyway, I already did a cheap reference to Bono's "song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles" thing on some dimly remembered 39-40 cover last year, but the situation calls for me to repeat it: I'm stealin' it back. And I'm glad I did; there was a lot more to the song than I'd thought for all these years.

Pointless Personal Trivia: The harmony on the original recording was sung by Glen Tilbrook of Squeeze, who was once my wife's boyfriend. That marks the second time in the history of this blog that I've sung a part originally performed by one of her exes. Who was the first one, you ask? Why, that would be telling.

Personnel: Rex


  1. Your wife used to be Patrick McGoohan's girlfriend?

  2. Almost eerily, she has been married to two men who share Patrick McGoohan's birthday. One of them is me, and the other is not Patrick McGoohan.