on the way home thru the park; or a tuna, darkly

The fashionably oblique \”Angie Baby\”, penned by Californian musician turned professional songwriter Alan O\’Day, provided the Antipodes\’ born Reddy with her first Billboard #1 in the US, and a top 5 position here in the UK. Allegedly inspired, in part, by the Beatles\’ \”Lady Madonna\”, I freely admit to being less intrigued by the lyric at the time than vaguely irritated. In fact, prior to my stumbling across the copious speculation it appears to have provoked over the decades since its release, I had not given it much headroom. From Wiki:

\” O\’Day said he also thought to his own childhood, since as an only child who was often ill, many of his days were spent in bed with a radio to keep him company…

Originally the character was just supposed to be mentally \”slow,\” but while writing the song, O\’Day showed it to his therapist, who pointed out that the character\’s reactions in the song were not those of a retarded person, so O\’Day changed the lyric from \”slow\” to \”touched,\” and the character switched from retarded to \”crazy.\” \”

Well. There you go. Don\’t shoot the messenger. Despite its conceit, I have always secretly harboured some fondness for this disposable slice of psychopomp, oddly. File next to Bobbie Gentry. Or Bobby Goldsboro. For those of you well acquainted with or simply dumbfounded by Mr. Beer N. Hockey\’s fixation for Grammy Award winner – and celebrity golfer – Anne Murray, this is one you might want to ponder.

Go now. Before I open the Pandora\’s Box that is Jimmy Webb\’s \”McArthur Park\”.

Written by Alan O\’Day. Arranged by Nick De Caro. Produced by Joe Wissert.

HELEN REDDY: ANGIE BABY from \”Angie Baby b/w I Think I\’ll Write A Song\” 45 (Capitol) 1974 (Australia / US)


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