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Thread: Is This The Worst Prog Rock Song Of All Time?

  1. #1
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    Is This The Worst Prog Rock Song Of All Time?

    Yes, I am talking about that horrendous, side spoiling piece of garbage "Benny The Bouncer" off of Brain Salad Surgery. I recall buying the LP and enjoying side one to the max for the first time through it - and then - Kabam!!! It sounds like a bunch of drunken non-musicians doing their best to destroy a great, majestic album side with a 2 minute, 15 second ode to crappiness. And, as if the barroom brawling "music" wasn't enough to send the listener reeling, there were these unbearable lyrics, which look like they were penned by a pre-pubescent delinquent:

    "Well, they dragged him from the wreckage of the Palais in bits.
    They tried to stick together all the bits that would fit.
    But some of him was missing
    And "part of him" arrived too late,
    So now he works for Jesus
    As the bouncer at St. Peter's Gate..."

    Even if it was a tongue-in-cheek one off, it was completely uncalled for on this classic prog album. What were those three thinking?

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    Quote Originally Posted by smcfee View Post
    It's pretty bad but Close to the Edge is worse.
    Be ready for much trip-trapping over your bridge. Also, be ready to be butted into the river.

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    No because it's not prog. Or is it? What is prog?

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    "Prog" is backwards gorp.

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    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunRunner2 View Post
    What were those three thinking?
    "Fuck'em if they can't take a joke!"

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    Well, it makes me smile, which is more than can be said for Are You Ready Eddie or Jeremy Bender. Now, if they'd stuck it in the middle of the sublime Tarkus suite, that I couldn't have forgiven...

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    ELP had this odd thing for novelty tunes. I don't know why. Were novelty tunes popular with audiences of the time? Was it because the Beatles did a number of them? Did they tend to run short on material for an album, and needed to crank out some quick filler? Keith and Greg never found it easy to get along, and didn't have entirely compatible musical styles; maybe the novelty tunes were something they could agree on because neither took them very seriously, and thus they could come to a workable compromise far more easily.

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    Member Lebofsky's Avatar
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    I'm not sure who's joking about what in this thread... but Benny the Bouncer is a great song. I listened to Brain Salad Surgery a lot as a kid, and this tune brought me such joy. Much needed comedy (or aesthetic) relief in what is otherwise a particularly dense, dark album.

    I'd comment on the lyrics in general, but a majority of prog lyrics are sub par - you just sort of learn to accept them as a charmingly weak part of this particular ecosystem. Like all the big bands of this era could have tried a lot harder on this front across the board, but oh well. Next time.

    - Matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    ELP had this odd thing for novelty tunes. I don't know why. Were novelty tunes popular with audiences of the time? Was it because the Beatles did a number of them? Did they tend to run short on material for an album, and needed to crank out some quick filler? Keith and Greg never found it easy to get along, and didn't have entirely compatible musical styles; maybe the novelty tunes were something they could agree on because neither took them very seriously, and thus they could come to a workable compromise far more easily.
    There was a bit of humour in prog rock at the time, especially Genesis and Tull. Quite pythonesque in places.

    And early Pink Floyd. :-)

    Not sure the later stuff had much humour in it.

  11. #11
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Great tune. Those guys had plenty of time to be pretentious, it was a nice change.
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

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    Clearly the weak link on an otherwise terrific album. If the idea was to provide light relief, well, 'Still...You Turn Me On' already provided that without being 'funny'.

    But, it's obviously better than 'Are You Ready Eddy'!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    ELP had this odd thing for novelty tunes. I don't know why. Were novelty tunes popular with audiences of the time? Was it because the Beatles did a number of them? Did they tend to run short on material for an album, and needed to crank out some quick filler? Keith and Greg never found it easy to get along, and didn't have entirely compatible musical styles; maybe the novelty tunes were something they could agree on because neither took them very seriously, and thus they could come to a workable compromise far more easily.
    I think lack of material was the case on Tarkus, which has two of the damned things. But on BSS? Not so much.

    The only one I ever liked was 'The Sheriff' because it had more musical substance. It wasn't so obviously throwaway.

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    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    The Sheriff has such a great Hammond Organ sound. I love the drums too. But I dig their less serious ditties with the barrelhouse piano.

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    Keith had a love for ragtime music. For me I would say that songs like Jeremy Bender, The Sheriff and Benny the Bouncer were his homage to the style. I don't think it had anything to do with Greg. Greg's songs were more the radio friendly music like Lucky Man, From the Beginning and Still...You Turn Me On. Humorous is probably part of it and not being serious all the time. The only song for me that I can do without ever hearing again from those 5 classic albums is Are You Ready Eddy? I for the most part stopped the record before that started way back when I first heard it in '71 '72 or whenever it was. To me that one is god-awful dreck.

    Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fracktured View Post
    Keith had a love for ragtime music. For me I would say that songs like Jeremy Bender, The Sheriff and Benny the Bouncer were his homage to the style.

    Rick
    Exactly, I have never had a problem with "Benny", but to each their own. Queen used to do the same thing on some of their albums.

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    Member Boceephus's Avatar
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    Imagine this compilation;
    Jeremy Bender (ELP)
    Seaside Rendezvous (Queen)
    Hot Dog (Zeppelin)
    Are You Ready Eddie (ELP)
    Seamus (Pink Floyd)

    And on and on!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Good points (and funny ones as well) made by all. I think I see the aspect of writing humorous cuts to lighten up the affair especially when at least one of the musicians had a liking for certain off key elements which were separate and apart from their more serious output. I would like to add to Boceephus' compilation from hell above with these two entries:

    Wholefood Boogie - Pete Sinfield's "Still" album
    A Cold Old Worried Lady - Triumvirat's "Old Loves Die Hard" (not meant to be funny, but oh my gosh what a long flop it was)
    Plexiglass Toilet - Styx "Serpent Is Rising" Recall Curulewski's lyrics below:

    "A boy of 5 stands close to the toilet
    Holds the lid up with one hand
    Won't let go the lid for fear that
    On his banana it will land
    Don't sit down on the Plexiglas toilet yeah..."

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Boceephus View Post
    Imagine this compilation;
    Jeremy Bender (ELP)
    Seaside Rendezvous (Queen)
    Hot Dog (Zeppelin)
    Are You Ready Eddie (ELP)
    Seamus (Pink Floyd)

    And on and on!

    That's a pretty cool mix actually.

  20. #20
    Old man of prog
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    Any song from Styx.

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    5% For Nothing- Yes

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BravadoNJ View Post
    5% For Nothing- Yes
    Are you nuts? That tune is a gem. Whole thing is in 4/4 too. Listen to the placement of each instrument - highly, highly syncopated shit. Brilliant.
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

  23. #23
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    I'll take Benny The Bouncer over Illegal Alien any day.
    Prog, Metal and Classic rock reviews/interviews - www.velvetthunder.co.uk

  24. #24
    Benny is great, never had the slightest problem with and always makes me smile. The bit about being Benny becoming Jesus' bouncer is awesome as well. If you take them seriously, you maybe do need to listen to something else.

    The reason why ELP always had these sort of novelty or comedy songs is because Keith felt you needed to add lightness to break up all the heavy complexity of the other pieces. So, here was a light bit of fun before the gigantic KE9 suite. You can agree or disagree, but that is what Keith felt was needed, as the composer. He told me this directly. He wanted to show that they had a sense of humor, were fun, not just serious and heady. Somehow that went out the window with "Works" and it certainly was their downfall.

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    Member PixelDelirium's Avatar
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    What? No "Love Beach"?

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