OTR: Fictional Band’s Music Featured at WKRP in Cincinnati | Archives

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Q: An old episode of “WKRP in Cincinnati” features a band called Scum of the Earth. During the show, they perform a song that sounds familiar to them. Was it a real song or was it written for the show?

A: The episode you are referring to was the fourth episode of the first season of “WKRP” and aired in October 1978. The leader of the fictional band Scum of the Earth was singer/actor Michael Des Barres. Prior to 1978, Des Barres had split his time between starring in films like “To Sir with Love” and forming bands like early ’70s glam rock band Silverhead and mid-’70s rock band Detective. Detective released two unsuccessful studio albums and disbanded in 1978. The song Scum of the Earth performed on “WKRP” is called “Got Enough Love” from Detective’s 1977 debut album. After “WKRP”, Des Barres recorded two solo albums and went on to star in various movies and TV shows.

Q: Can you tell me if there is a real connection between “The Boys Are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy and “Kitty’s Back” by Bruce Springsteen? If there is, I don’t hear it.

A: According to published reports, “The Boys Are Back in Town”, the only US hit by Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, borrows part of its melody from “Kitty’s Back”. Most people cite Mike Putterford’s 2002 book, “Phil Lynott: The Rocker,” as the source of the claim. According to the book, Lynott struggled to complete a song called “GI Joe is Back in Town” about a Vietnamese soldier returning home after the war. Lynott eventually changed the song to a story about a group of friends hitting the town but still couldn’t get the music right. At the suggestion of producer John Alcock, Springsteen’s “Kitty’s Back” was used as the basis for the bass line, guitar breaks and vocal phrasing in the new track “The Boys Are Back in Town”. While it can be hard to recognize the similarities when you only hear the songs occasionally, one listen to the two songs back to back is all you’ll need to hear the similarities.

Q: Is Jeff Tweedy talking about anyone in particular in his song “Glad It’s Over”?

A: Definitely among the most biting humorous breakup songs written in recent memory, “Glad It’s Over” is the type of song anyone whose romantic relationship ends abruptly would love to write once the immediate pain subsides. Written and sung by Wilco lead vocalist/songwriter Jeff Tweedy, the upbeat, upbeat tune dulls the sharpness of the lyrics a bit. So when he sings the lines, “I said what I meant, that’s an understatement/I hate you 100%, I mean sweet/oh, you’re not for me, no to me”, the listener is more likely to smile knowingly than to think that Tweedy is planning to physically hurt someone. The song was originally slated to appear on Wilco’s 2007 album, “Sky Blue Sky”, but failed to make the final cut. Instead, it was proposed as one of the songs to complete the soundtrack for the NBC series, “Heroes”. The soundtrack was released in 2008. Despite our best efforts, we have not been able to determine if Tweedy is singing about a specific person. This leads us to conclude that this is a song about a fictional breakup.

What’s the name of this song ? Where are they now? What does this lyric mean? Send questions about songs, albums and the musicians behind them to MusicOnTheRecord@gmail.com. Bradford Brady and John Maron are freelance writers based in Raleigh.

What’s the name of this song ? Where are they now? What does this lyric mean? Send questions about songs, albums and the musicians behind them to MusicOnTheRecord@gmail.com. Bradford Brady and John Maron are freelance writers based in Raleigh.

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