Rock Flashback: “Freakin’ At The Freakers Ball”
Much of rock’s history is shrouded in the haze of legend, or even in danger of being forgotten. Join J.A. Bartlett of the Hits Just Keep On Comin’ as he reminds us why we love this music like we do …
The more concerned modern American society gets about policing bad thoughts and “protecting the children” (thereby keeping adults from encountering anything not fit for 8-year-olds), the more amazing some of the pop culture of the 1970s becomes.
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Shel Silverstein[/lastfm] is known today as the author of children’s books such as The Giving Tree, A Light in the Attic, and Where the Sidewalk Ends. His whimsical stories, poems, and drawings are beloved by millions of kids and also by their parents. But Silverstein was also a prolific songwriter with several famous hits to his credit.
The [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Johnny Cash[/lastfm] novelty “A Boy Named Sue” is probably the best known of his songs, along with several tunes recorded by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Dr. Hook[/lastfm], “Cover of the Rolling Stone” and “Sylvia’s Mother” among them.
And it was in collaboration with Dr. Hook that Shel Silverstein recorded something that would cause overprotective parents of the year 2011 to freak out and die right there in the record store.
In 1972, Silverstein released an album called Freakin’ at the Freakers Ball, which is a document of a more freewheeling age, and of an entirely different side of the popular author. The title song features lines about “leather freaks and “plaster casters” and…well, you just have to hear for yourself.
Freakin’ at the Freakers Ball, which featured Dr. Hook as backing band (when they were still known as [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show[/lastfm]), remains in print today, despite having reached only #155 in Billboard during an eight-week run early in 1973. Dr. Hook gained more exposure for “Freakin’ at the Freakers Ball” by putting it on their 1972 album Sloppy Seconds . A toned-down version of “I Got Stoned and I Missed It” crept into the top 40 in 1975, covered by country-rock parody singer [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Jim Stafford[/lastfm].
Man, the ’70s were awesome.
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