Song Lyric Sunday – Mod Sox

Jim Adams has announced the topic “Animal” for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday. Here’s my thinking: Insects are animals, and grasshoppers are insects, so grasshoppers are animals. Right? Well, The Grasshoppers were also a Cleveland, Ohio, band founded in 1962. Two years later, Grasshoppers founder Dante Rossi left the band, and Benjamin Orzechowski replaced him on rhythm guitar and vocals. The Grasshoppers became the house band for a teen dance show, The Big 5 Show, and lead singer “Benny 11 Letters” became a local teen idol. (A decade later, he changed his last name to Orr and co-founded The Cars. But that’s a different story that you can read about here.)

The Grasshoppers recorded two local hit songs: “Pink Champagne (and Red Roses)” and “Mod Socks.” I featured “Pink Champagne,” the more lyrical of the two, as my contribution to SLS on August 5, 2018. Although Benny sang lead, “Mod Socks” was written by Grasshoppers lead guitarist Louis Pratile and record producer Carl Maduri. It’s a very simple, good-time song that, to me, epitomizes the mid-60’s innocent crossroad of 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll and the late-60’s psychedelic/acid rock, prog rock, hard rock, country rock explosion.

 

 

Mod Socks

Well who wears mod socks?
Well, girls wear mod socks.
My sister wears mod socks.
My mother wears mod socks.
My aunt wears mod socks.

Now Benny wears mod socks.

Girls wear mod socks.
My friends wear mod socks.
My mother wears mod socks.
My aunt wears mod socks.
My cousin wears mod socks.
My fans wear mod socks, let’s go now….

Well I said who wears mod socks?
Girls wear mod socks.
Your sister wears mod socks.
Your mother wears mod socks.
Your aunt wears mod socks.

Now Benny wears mod socks.

Girls wear mod socks.
Your sister wears mod socks.
My granny wears mod socks.
Your cousin wears mod socks.
Your sister wears mod socks.
Your mother wears mod socks

I said who wears mod socks?
I said who wears mod socks?
My baby’s got some mod socks.
Yeah I think those are mod socks.*
Go on and grab some mod socks.*
Come on and grab some mod socks, yeah right now*

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday — “Down Boys”

Even when she’s not feeling great, Helen Vahdati still manages to come up with a theme for Song Lyric Sunday. I hope she’s soon feeling 100%. Thanks for giving us “boys.

In my world, there’s a Cars song for every occasion. Here’s “Down Boys” written by Ric Ocasek; sung by Benjamin Orr for The Cars 1980 Panorama:

 

Down Boys

you were trying to be cute
and it didn’t work out
you were trying to be charming
and it didn’t come off
you were trying to be clever
a big waste of time
you were trying to get rough
but you’re waiting in line

[Chorus:]
you can’t make it with the down boys
they don’t hear a word you say
you can’t make it with the down boys
just stay out of their way

you were trying to be sharp
but they couldn’t wait
you were trying to be eternal
but that didn’t rate
you were trying to be smooth
you’re rough on the edges
you were trying to be hysterical
well i still ain’t laughing

[Chorus]

you were trying to be in
but they left you out
you were trying to be in
two different worlds
you were trying to be in
oscillation in shame
you were trying to be in
but you’re lost in the game

[Chorus]

 

Another Review: Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars

About two months ago, I reblogged Read ~ Rock ~ Review’s “Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars” book review. That review gives a  fuller, well-rounded insight into the book being published November 11, 2018, than a more recent review has. Like the reviewer I reblogged a couple of days ago, Read ~ Rock ~ Review’s reviewer was lucky enough to read an advance copy — one of the earliest, in fact. RRR’s detailed review makes clear that reviewer actually read the entire book. Go to the link highlighted above; it’s worth a re-read. (I would reblog it for your convenience, but apparently WP will only let me reblog the original article once and won’t allow me to reblog my own posting even once.)

 

 

Let’s Go!: Benjamin Orr and the Cars (Reblog)

My copy is on the way. Can’t wait to read this!

Reblogging this without much comment may have been a knee-jerk fan-girl move on my part, but, after reflection, I have a little more to say.  First, I’m impressed that this reviewer, who doesn’t seem to be a rabid rock’n’roll / Cars / Benjamin Orr fan, has given it a respectable 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Second, the review focuses on Ben’s early life as a musician, covering roughly five to six years up to 1969 when he would have been 22 and met Ric Ocasek. Granted, you don’t want a book review to tell the whole story, but this review doesn’t do justice to either Benjamin Orr or to the writer, Joe Milliken. Ending with ” They would later become The Cars and famous, The rest is in the book and history” leaves the impression that this is just another behind-the-band story. It isn’t.

Benjamin Orr passed away at 53 years old on October 3, 2000, thirty-one years after meeting Ric Ocasek. This reviewer tossed away more than half of Orr’s life, including twelve years post-Cars. During that time he evolved as a complex man and musician. Blithely ending the review with the vague “rest is history” tells me that this reviewer likely didn’t read the entire book.

BookZone

Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars

This was a well-researched book about The Cars and Benjamin Orr, born Orzechowski aka “Benny 11-Letters” because so many of his friends and acquaintances had trouble pronouncing his name. He was almost universally liked as he was making his way in the music business, seemingly a genuinely nice and caring man. Ben was also quite talented when it came to singing and drumming, and learning other musical instruments from what many of his friends had to say in the book. You certainly could use a scorecard for this one to keep up with all of the band incarnations and band member rotations. I was amazed at the number of times the name of the band changed, and it didn’t always depend on whether any members were moved in or out. There were some interesting anecdotes in the book of things…

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