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Five Fun Pop Culture Facts


 American Pie by Don McLean is one of the most analyzed songs of all time. It's lyrics have been said to refer to the 1968 Democrat Convention, the Kennedy assassination, the Manson murders, and all sorts of other things. These can all be debated, but the song is certainly also about the history of rack and roll. The day the music died is the day the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper went down. The Jester is widely said to be Bob Dylan, the King is obviously Elvis, the girl who sang the blues is likely Janis Joplin. The marching band is almost definitely the Beatles, Jack Flash I believe has been confirmed to be Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones by McLean himself. One reference that seems clear to me but I have only seen mentioned in a parody article, is the line Lenin read a book on Marx. I think this is referring to the movie A hard Day's Night, and means John Lennon and Groucho Marx. But that's not what this is about. This is about a confirmed nod to musical history hidden in plain sight (or sound as it were) in the song that I am sure almost everyone listening to it has missed. Like I said earlier, the song is about the history of rock and roll (even if it is also about other, more important things). As a nod to the technical advancements made during that history, the song starts out in mono and gradually moves into stereo, because the music that was made in 1959 (the year of the day the music died) was recorded in mono but as stereo was introduced and became more popular by 1969 (the year of Altamont and the murder of Meredith Hunter, which is obviously the subject a one of the last verses of the song) when most recordings were made in stereo.


Mojo Nixon is a musician who has gone out of his way to try to be controversial. The fact that I had to write that indicates that it may not have brought him the attention that he hoped. Still, he did manage to stir the pot a little with songs like Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two Headed Love Child, Stuffin' Marth's Muffin (about MTV VJ Martha Quinn), and Bring Me The Head Of David Geffen. The song that goy him the most attention was Don Henley Must Die. But it wasn't because Don got mad and sued or anything like that. On July 31, 1992 Henley showed up at a Mojo Nixon show at The Hole in Austin Texas. From descriptions of the evening it sounds like Don had maybe had a drink or 6. Mojo Nixon was alerted to his presence. In his own words: "There I was, the king of bullshit, completely flabbergasted," remembers Nixon. "I took my guitar off, put it back on, did that like three times, then got on the mic and said, 'Don, do you want to debate? Do you want to fist fight?' He was shit-faced and he goes, 'I want to sing that song, especially the part about not getting together with Glenn Frey!'" Henley got onstage, sang the song with the band, was complemented by Nixon as having "balls as big as church bells", and left. Nixon may have found a little new respect for Henley, but it didn't seem to change his overall attitude. In 2014, when talking about the fact that Don had been invited to play an anniversary show at The Hole with Nixon, Mojo said "I'm pretty sure he's busy with his Eagles reunion nonstop cash grab."


Shirley Kilpatrick was not a huge success as an actress. In fact, she only had one credited part, in The Astounding She-Monster in 1957. But she did bust out in at least one way. She was so voluptuous that she kept making the seams of her costume burst in the back. To cover this she never turned around when exiting a scene. She apparently did a lot of photoshoots for men's magazines, but never had another major part in a movie despite being too much woman to be contained by this part.


John Williams is a great composer whose scores helped make a lot of great movies even greater. There's no denying that his music made Indiana Jones and E.T. even more thrilling than they were on their own. If there is one complaint that can be made, it's that his scores sometimes may sound a bit similar. Fans may bristle at this suggestion, but there is evidence of it's truth. When he was writing the music for Star Wars Williams wrote a theme for the Jawas, the junk trading aliens who scavenge C3PO and R2D2 in the desert of Tatooine. Lucas didn't care for the theme, so a different one was written and used in the movie. But the original one wasn't scrapped. It found new life as the theme for Lex Luthor in Superman The Movie.


John Ratzenberger had a small part in The Empire Strikes Back, but in Star Wars no character is too insignificant to be merchandised. So when trading cards were made for the movie John's character Bren Derlin was given a card. On the card it says "At Mos Eisley Cantina, everybody knows his name".

Speaking of Mr. Ratzenberger's stint on Cheers, when the show was beginning filming John had an edge on the rest of the cast. He was the only one who had ever been to Boston before starting on the show.





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