Back in December, I kidded Simon Warner on here about his entry celebrating (in a measured way) the continual rebirth of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” as a populist anthem of sorts, and I cited Graham Parker’s “Passion Is No Ordinary Word” as a song I’d prefer to hear over Journey any day. Thus I got a real kick this month when I discovered on Graham Parker’s (newly-refurbished) website that he’d boycotted watching the final episode of The Sopranos “out of spite,” to avoid “having to stomach a Journey tune.” All right! Another reason you’re still my hero, Chairman Parker . . .
In the meantime, however, I’d gotten my comeuppance in a way that almost made “Don’t Stop Believin’” sound better. Around Christmas, Christ Hospital here in Cincinnati began running a TV commercial for its services, often timed to interrupt the dinnertime news broadcasts we analog types insist on following. The theme song of this commercial is a chirpy, wimpy chorus of otherwise-adult men intoning, “Give a little bit, give a little bit of my life for you!”
Ugh! I knew I’d hated that song in a past life, when it was a hit on our radio, but I couldn’t think WHO it was. I ran through my mind’s usual suspects, all the terminally-dire bands from Air Supply to Bread, but none of them seemed to fit precisely. It was time for a lyric search via the Miracle of Google, and in a few seconds I had my quarry, the most abject “rock” band of all time for my money, SUPERTRAMP! Oh, how I loathed their sound back in the day! Admittedly I’m not a fan of prog in general, but Supertramp were so sub-prog to my ears, they almost made Asia or even Jethro Tull(!) seem doable.
Supertramp strike me as some sort of Monty Python skit inflicted upon us hapless Colonials; they sound like a chorus of developmentally-disabled inmates recruited from Her Majesty’s Royal Asylum for Incurable Twits. Blimey! Can any of our English readers explain if there’s anything at all redeeming about Supertramp?!? Do they sound better somehow in the Old Country? I’ll admit that their Breakfast in America album had a neat cover concept, and I think a local acquaintance of mine even bought it for that reason, but I had no intention of going anywhere near the music I knew I’d find inside.
Each time I think the Christ Hospital commercial has finally tramped its course, it comes burbling out of our kitchen tube once more, making me sick enough (ironically) to crave an actual Journey side in its place. I need to remind the hospital (where our daughter was born, no less) that they were supposed to have long since taken an oath to First, do no harm!