Thursday, May 2, 2013

Rant #955: Plane Simple

Recently, sequestration hit the airline industry, as air traffic controllers were faced with losing their jobs due to belt tightening.

Of course, politicians, faced with extra delays in getting from one place to another, lifted this threat, and people in these jobs don't have to worry about being out of work, and the general public doesn't have to worry about facing incredible delays when they are flying.

That's good, but our legislators should do more to get rid of sequestration and put us on the right path for the future.

They won't, and will only do things when it is convenient for them and meets their own agendas.

We know that all too well.

Throughout recent history, there has always been uneasiness between the public and the airlines, and this ties in with a record I have in my record collection, believe it or not.

"The Great Airplane Strike," by Paul Revere and the Raiders, features one of the most unlikeliest topics for a hit Top 20 song: an airplane strike that grounded flying in the Los Angeles area in 1965.

Based on a true incident, the song, written by band leader Paul Revere, lead singer Mark Lindsay, and producer Terry Melcher (Doris Day's son), talks about the utter confusion about getting from Point A to Point B during an airline strike in 1965.

Sounding like a first cousin to the Rolling Stones' "19th Nervous Breakdown," the song stands on its own, and there are actually two versions of this song that were released in late 1966.

There is the album version, on the band's "Spirit of '67" long player (one of my favorite LPs of that era), which basically is a standard tune from beginning to end.

There is the single version, which goes at a pretty quick pace, and which has one of the oddest endings to a record that I have ever heard, as if your pipes are in the process of backing up. That is the only way I can describe it.

The song hit #20 in October 1966, one of a handful of successful singles to come from that album.

The Raiders were looked at as nothing more than a bubblegum band, but let me tell you, they put out some of the finest pop/rock records in the 1960s and early 1970s.

I mean, there is really nothing more to say about the song, but it is clever, catchy, and one of those hits from that era that you will never hear on the radio, even oldies radio.

I have no idea why, and over the years, I think it sounds better to my ear than it did to my ear as a kid.

The flip side to the single, "In My Community," is pretty much a standard rocker, and also pretty good, making for a really solid all-around 45.

Listen for yourself (although what I put up here has a clipped ending), and let me know what you think, and by the way, here are the lyrics, which tell a pretty interesting story.

I was down in L.A. town
When our manager said "jump"
I threw my clothes and my saxophone
In a two by four-bit trunk
I pushed it to the airport
And I ran to the ticket line
Man said "Son, you could have saved the run
Those airplanes just quit flyin'"

If I can't leave here
I just might stay
And that L.A. flyway
Is goin' to be my home

I ran through the terminal building
To fly by my airline
The man said I could ride the wing
And I said that was fine
He said I'll confirm your reservation
And put the plane on hold
He come back and said "Sorry
But that wing space just been sold"

If I can't leave here
I just might stay
And that L.A. flyway
Is goin' to be my home

I walked into the washroom
And I built myself a fire
Threw on lots of paper
And the flames kept gettin' higher
The janitor come runnin' in
So scared his face was white
So, I explained my situation
He said "That's all right"

If I can't leave here
I just might stay
And that L.A. flyway
Is goin' to be my home

Next day I thought that I would leave
So I packed my things again
I waited fourteen hours
For a taxi to come in
I spotted one that wasn't full
And I threw myself in fast
The driver said "I'm sorry
But this taxi's out of gas"

If I can't leave here
I just might stay
And that L.A. flyway
Is goin' to be my home

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