Friday, August 20, 2010

Rant #316: Eaten Alive

Andy Warhol once said that eventually, everybody will achieve their own 15 minutes of fame, and with reality television, Hollywood and other show biz stars that come and go in an eye blink, and the photo-op society we have become, boy, was he right.

That's how it is with one-hit bands. They have their one hit, and then fade away forever, although that one hit is indelibly etched on your mind forever.

So it is with a band which was known as Cannibal and the Headhunters. Certainly one of the greatest name choices that there ever was for a band, they had one hit--but it was a real good one--and then faded off the scene, at least nationally.

The one hit was "Land of 1,000 Dances," and even though Wilson Pickett's version of this song charted higher nationally, Cannibal and the Headhunter's Top 30 hit, at least to me, was much, much better.

Who could forget the "Na na na na na, na na na na, na na na na na" opening? As a kid, I found this so infectious. It just grabbed me and didn't let go.

Pickett's version was much more soulful, and it was good, but Cannibal and the Headhunters' version was so, well, tribal, it just got you and once it got me, I was hooked.

And once the song was over and done with, for all intents and purposes, this East L.A. band, made up of young Latinos, was gone. Sure, they made other records and still performed, but I didn't hear their records being played on any New York stations.

It was reported that Richard "Scar" Lopez, a member of that band, died the other day at age 65. He is at least the second band member to leave us, as Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia died of AIDS several years ago.

I just remember that song to be one of the most memorable of my childhood. Believe it or not, I remember a DJ, probably on WABC or WMCA, commenting about all the "crazy" names that rock groups were using back then, and saying something like, "We have the Zombies and Cannibal and the Headhunters ... what's next?"

Although I have thousands of records in my collection, "Land of 1,000 Dances" wasn't one of them. I don't know why, but I never owned the single.

As an adult, in the 1970s, I finally found the song in a used record store, on an LP of oldies. I snatched it up for $1, and I remember playing the record all the way through, waiting for that song.

Once it came on, it brought back so many memories of my childhood. And I think I loved it even more than when I originally heard it in 1965.

So, thank you Richard Lopez, thanks to Frankie Garcia, and thanks to the rest of the band. Your moment in the sun lasted a bit more than two minutes, but boy, were those a great two minutes!

Thanks again.

1 comment:

  1. I saw Mickey Dolenz at the IKEA in Burbank back in about 1997 while sitting in the waiting room to pick up a dresser. Just sitting there with his g/f or wife, no entourage. I didn't approach him but my first thoughts were exactly what was mentioned in this blog - 'what a grounded, all-around 'cool' guy.'



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