Tom Tom Club were a side project of the rhythm section of the Talking Heads. They had a hit with their song “Genius of Love” (you’d know the melody instantly). I’ll be honest–I thought they only had one album out, but I see they had quite a few out and had recently re-formed and put out new records.
This set contains three songs. “Wordy Rappington” which was on their debut, but which I’d never heard of. I am shocked to see that it was a double A side with “Genius of Love.” The song is a kind of amusing rap with a chorus of the children’s song “A Ram Sam Sam.” It is very kid friendly.
I will also be honest that I didn’t like The Tom Tom Club when they came out. So even though I know the melody of “Genius of Love” I don’t know the song very well. It’s kind of amusing though in that it name checks all kinds of musicians. At one point they repeat “James Brown” over and over and then climax with “hit me!”
The music is surprisingly spare: an acoustic guitar or two, some bongos and an accordion (which plays the “Genius of Love” melody).
“Only the Strong Survive” is a cover of song by zydeco band The Franks. Lead vocals and washboard are supplied by Mystic Bowie.
The band is having a ton of fun. Considering Talking Heads were always kind of serious it’s nice to see Chris and Tina being silly..
[READ: September 29, 2015] The Complete Peanuts 1959-1960
This book marks more or less the ten-year anniversary of the first Peanuts strip. Even though Patty (not Peppermint Patty) is on the cover, she gets very little time in the book.
The big news in this book is the arrival of Charlie’s little sister Sally! In May of 1959 Charlie’s mom goes to the hospital for a few days. And then Charlie is a proud big brother. For a time, Snoopy is jealous and acts like a “fuzzy baby.” However much Charlie talks about Sally, we don’t actually see her until August! On a random Sunday Charlie is seen pushing her in her stroller (and missing out on baseball because of it). There’s no really babyness for Sally. She has a bottle, but while we saw a lot of baby time for Linus, there’s hardly any for Sally. In fact, in October Snoopy gets her to dance. And much later she gives Schroeder a hard time when he won’t play a lullaby for her.
She doesn’t really come into the picture all that much. But by August of 1960, Sally thinks (still no speaking) that Linus is the cutest thing and has hearts floating around her when she sees him. Charlie even has to wonder what’s going on here. But Linus says, “I’m almost five years older than she.”
Some other important events are that in March of 1959 we see the first instance of Lucy at her Psychiatric Help Desk 5¢. Charlie says to her “I have a feeling of depression, what can I do about this?” Her answer: “Snap out of it. Five cents please.”
Lucy gets mad at Linus for listening to Christmas carols… in February.
There’s funny moment when Lucy says to Violet “in about 12 years some poor girl will be marrying Charlie Brown.” In 12 years Charlie would be 18 tops!
Linus is also becoming a very prominent character with great lines. He gets a funny joke that “By the time Sally grows up there will be three major leagues!” Linus tries to give up his blanket on his own but fails. He also resumes his by now annual quest for the Great Pumpkin. This year it is all about sincerity. And in 1960, he rises out of the patch (it’s only Snoopy).
Speaking of Snoopy, he is becoming every more prominent. He gets many strips just to himself. He talks about being the Big man on the campus. He pretends to be a vulture (probably his most popular disguise) as well as a whirlydog (whirlybird) flying with his ears.
There’s a few moments of Lucy “beeping” Snoopy’s nose (which he does not like). I really laughed when Snoopy is happily following around a butterfly and then says “ooo, what a face. He was a lot better looking from a distance.” Although in 1960 he;s surrounded by them and thinks “Butterflies like me.” And as 1959 draws to a close we see Snoopy’s first “suppertime!’ dance.
There’s some darkness even with snoopy who watches a leaf fall and comments “the first leaf to die.”
Some future famous quotes from the movies: In June 1959 Linus says “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest.”
In Nov there’s a pig pen section and Charlie says he might be carrying “the dirt and dust of some past civilizations…the soil of ancient Babylon” Pig Pen replies, “Sort of makes you want to treat me with more respect, doesn’t it?” (This is not in the context of a play or anything).
In Feb 1960 Lucy says she doesn’t eat January snow, only February. Linus says “they sure look ripe to me.”
Linus and Snoopy fight over his blanket a lot. And there’s some really bizarre strips where Snoopy has a boxing glove over his nose and he beats up Linus, Charlie and Lucy.
And then Linus begins speaking even more in fanciful language. Lucy gets him really mad and he screams and tears his shirt “good grief she hath caused me to rend my garment.”
In April 1960 Linus gets a library card, calling it “my citizenship in the land of knowledge.” But he’s afraid to go in”they’re always so still and when you walk in your footsteps echo like you were in a great tomb and then when you go to the front desk the librarian looks at you with her great big eyes and she… Charlie gets all worked up by this and runs off screaming “AAUGH!” Later when he does march in to the library he says “I feel not unlike a fool.” Later he repeats a similar phrase when he runs away carrying his kerchief on a stick “I feel somewhat akin to a fool.”
In a funny meta- joke, Lucy mails a political cartoon to the paper and after posting it Charlie says “I never understood how cartoons get in the newspapers.”
And there are jokes about leaves and baseball (Charlie is the goat when he fails to steal home), and football (Lucy annually pulls the ball away), kites are mangled, bad food is eaten (Linus is eating “sugar lumps with honey”). TV is watched (Snoopy is an antenna for a few strips).
Beethoven’s birthday is celebrated a lot (Dec 16). In fact, he often spends a few weeks leading up to it (instead of Christmas).
And speaking of Christmas, on October 23, 1959, Charlie complains, “I went down to the store to get a Halloween mask and they were all out of them” Violet asks, “Aren’t they going to order any more?” Charlie: “Ha are you kidding? They were busy putting up Christmas decorations!” In 1959! So, clearly people have been complaining about that for decades.
And speaking of holidays, I thought this was a weird intro to July 4. Charlie says, “Years ago people used to shoot off firecrackers on the fourth of July” Did they stop in the 1950s? Snoopy ends by saying “And all the dogs ended up under the bed for the rest of the day.”
The Great Pumpkin “appears” in 1960. Although it’s only Snoopy (one “used dog.”
In April of 1960 he went on a brief “Happiness Is” kick. I tried to find out if he popularized the phrase, as he did with security blanket, but i couldn’t track that one down. The first one of the bunch is “Happiness is a warm puppy.” Still true today.
The introduction was written by Whoopi Goldberg.
I am a little puzzled by that. It’s even more unusual because it’s not a written introduction, it’s an older interview. True, it is an interview about her connections to Peanuts (she really connected with the strip and eventually interviewed Schulz for her show), but it just seems like an odd choice.
Or perhaps it was an odd choice for this volume because she talks a lot about things that happen in later years (hello, spoiler!) she talks about Peppermint Patty and Franklin and even Spike. So this seems like it would have been more relevant in a later book.
But she does raise some interesting ideas about depression and art (I always forget that Goldberg’s early early material was very artsy and quite clever).