Every decade has it’s share of weird music. I’m not talking about novelty, parody or comedy songs like those from Weird Al Yankovic or something you might have heard on the Dr. Demento radio show. No, I’m just talking about music that’s odd, strange, off-beat, or peculiar. These are songs that feature unusual lyrics, funky sounds, or something really odd like a marimba solo for example. My last post featured music from the late 60s and early 70s so let’s continue with that theme and listen to some of the weird tracks from the 1970s.
The tracks that I’m including on my list all achieved at least some commercial success on the pop charts. I’m not going to include music nobody’s ever even heard before.
5. “Coconut” – Harry Nilsson – 1971 – iTunes
This song was featured on the 1971 album titled, Nilsson Schmilsson. Nilsson is the only singer on this track but he plays the role of three different individuals, the narrator, the sister, and the doctor. As best as I can tell the sister put lime juice in coconut milk and “drank em both up.” This gives her a stomach ache, so she calls her doctor, wakes him up, explains what shes done and asks if there is something she can take for relief. The doctor thinks she’s a bit crazy and needs to confirm she’s really drank this concoction. Once that’s cleared up, the doctor tells her the remedy is to put more lime juice in more coconut milk and call back in the morning. Humm, weird!
4. “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” – Creedence Clearwater Revival – 1970 – iTunes
Here’s a song that sounds like it should really be about drugs. “There’s a giant doing cartwheels, a statue wearing high heels, look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn.” What was John Fogerty smoking when he wrote these lyrics? Not to mention, “Won’t you take a ride on the flying spoon?” The wikipedia states that it’s really a song for Forgety’s son about a parade and that it was inspired by a Dr. Seuss book. I don’t know if I believe that.
3. “Midnight at the Oasis” – Maria Muldaur – 1974 – iTunes
Okay, this is “love” song with some suggestive lyrics about getting freaky but, weird none the less. With lyrics like, “Send your camel to bed” and “Cactus is our friend” you have to admit that this is an odd choice for a song about having sex. I realize the lyrics suggest some middle eastern desert love affair but I still find it strange. What about the lyric that says, “And you won’t need no camel, no, no.” What’s that supposed to mean?
2. “Spill the Wine” – Eric Burdon & War – 1970 – iTunes
Here’s a song about a dream so I guess that’s why the lyrics are about some odd stuff. The lyrics for most of this song are more like spoken word rather than singing. It’s not until at least half way into the song that we really hear Burdon begin to sing. I’m not going to get into the lyrics on this one, you just have to listen for yourself. You figure out why you should, “Spill the wine and take that pearl.”
1. “Moonlight Feels Right” – Starbuck – 1976 – iTunes
A marimba solo, seriously? What other pop songs can you think of that feature the marimba, much less a solo? Like the rest of the songs on this list, this song was actually successful. It made it to number 3 on the charts. Like I mentioned at the beginning, this track was not intended to be a novelty. It seems like a summertime love connection. The lyrics, “I finally made a tricky French connection. You winked and gave me your okay.” seem to indicate that the singer was trying to hookup with a girl and he finally got the timing right and his girl agreed to have sex with him. Everything about this song is just a little odd and that’s why I’ve selected it for my number one on this list.
What do you think? Do you have your own list of weird 70s songs, share it with us in the comments.