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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Episode 25 – The Name Game

Episode 25 – The Name Game

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[The Name Game Excerpt]

As usual, a Dylanesque statement - this time from Episode 35, the "Women's Names" episode - got me to thinking.

Our Host states a couple of times in that show that they could have done an alphabetical 26-song Theme Time using women's names and, mid-way through the show says, "Don't believe me...?" and precedes to list 26 names, some of them fairly unusual.

So, with a little research, I came up with a list using those names... well, kinda.

Rules were that I had to semi-program it as an episode of Theme Time. I had moderate success with that. I'm not sure Mr. D. would let some of my picks on the show , and there's not enough country or R&B).

Plus I'm stuck on three. I think Dylan says "Kathryn" but I'm not a 100 percent sure, and if it is Kathryn, damned if I can find a song about her. K-K-K-Katie, yes, Kathryn, no.

I have no clue on the spelling of the "O" name, and haven't made up my mind whether it's Irish, Welsh, or African. Whatever it is, me I'd go with Hamlet's drowned sweetheart instead, who has had dozens of songs written about her. I think she's even made a couple of appearances in Dylan tunes. (Note: I've decided he's saying, "Olivia." See the full list below.)

And I've come up with zip for "Quincy," at least as it concerns women. I could program the theme music from the old TV show, of course [Theme from "Quincy"]

If any of my listeners wants to take on "K" "O" and "Q" feel free to leave a comment on the Dreamtime blog. Or if you want to offer alternate picks – especially country and R&B – that fit better in the Theme Time Schemes and Dreams, go right ahead.

Here's a few highlights from my Women's Names countdown, inspired by Mr. D's recital. The full list is on the Dreamtime blog. Just put Dreamtime podcast in your favorite search engine and we'll be #1 on your hit parade. Let's start our countdown...

1. Abigail – Abigail Beecher, Freddy Cannon

She knows her history from A to Z
She digs the Monkey and the Watusi
It's Abigail Beecher, our history teacher.

An easy one, by Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon. Abigail Beecher, that sexy teacher, would peak at #16 on the 19 and 64 charts. Freddy's earlier hit was Palisades Park, written by Chuck Barris of "The Gong Show" fame.

4. Diane – Diane, R Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders

There's lots of Diane's you could pick for "Theme Time," including versions by Charles Mingus and Chet Baker, or "My Diane" performed by The Beach Boys. I went for something a little more eclectic – "Diane" performed by R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders.

R. Crumb is better known as a cartoonist, and the creator of such `60s icons as Mr. Natural and Fritz the Cat, as well as the being the artist for Janis Joplin's Cheap Thrills album. Although he isn't active with the band anymore, Crumb recorded three albums with the Cheap Suit Serenaders, all songs either from the early 1900s or in that style.

We're skipping down to the Fs now and "Francine." You can take your pick with this one. A natural "Theme Time" play would be Francine, by ZZ Top…

but I decided to go with another Francine, performed by Louis Bellson & His Orchestra.

Francine was named after Bellson's current wife. His first wife was the singer-actress Pearl Bailey. After Bob Hope, Bellson and Bailey hold the second highest number of White House appearances.

The letter "J" is for "Judy" and you could get all mellow and `60s with Crosby, Stills, and Nash's classic Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, a song supposedly written for Judy Collins, but I decided to get all sedated and `80s instead with Judy is a Punk, by the Ramones.

Judy is a Punk was on the Ramones first album – the one that cost $6,200 to make and, as the joke goes, "you wonder where the money went." The song is supposedly about an over-zealous Ramones fan who may, or may not, have later died in a plane crash.

Now, I gotta tell you about this one, I had no idea who "Stacey Adams," was when I picked this for the letter "S". I just liked the idea of Snoop Dog on "Theme Time."

19. Stacy/Staci – Stacey Adams, Snoop Dog and Kokane

Turns out that "Stacy Adams" is neither a girl nor boy, but a shoe company



Apparently Snoop added the "e" to avoid the lawyers. But you know what? I think I'll keep it in anyway. You purists can go find your own Stacy.

Sometimes I think I hear Dylan is saying "Wendy," other times "Windy." If it's the first I'd go for Wendy, performed by the Beach Boys.

And, if the second, it'd have to The Association's 1967 # 1 hit.

"Windy" was The Association's second U.S. number-one, following "Cherish" in 1966.

Did you know that the name "Wendy" wasn't in popular use until 1904, when the character "Wendy Darling" was created by J.M. Barrie for his children's book, Peter Pan. A lot of people think Barrie invented the name, but it was in use as far back as 1840, and was once a boy's name.

Speaking of boys, one famous "Wendy" is composer Wendy Carlos, who did the music for "A Clockwork Orange" and was known as "Walter" until her gender switch in 1972.

We're winding up with #26 – that letter "Z." Theme Time probably would have done Zelda, by Pete Townsend, but I'd like to think that they'd consider My Zelda, Allan Sherman's parody of Harry Belafonte's Matilda.

If you're old enough, you'll remember Sherman – one-time comedy writer for Jackie Gleason and Steve Allen – as the "Weird Al" Yankovic of the `60s. There was a time when you couldn't get away from his song about a letter from summer camp, "Hello Mudda, Hello Faddah,"" At least I couldn't get away from it. My father was a giant Allan Sherman fan, had all of his albums, and played them constantly…

… which may be why I know Yiddish as well as I do.

Well. we're at the end of the alphabet and at the end of our show. Go to work on the letters "K" O" and "Q" for me, will you. I hate loose threads.


Now largely forgotten, by the time of "The Name Game" Shirley Ellis had been an accomplished songwriter for more than a decade. From December 12, 1964 through June 26, 1965, she dominated Billboard's charts with "The Name Game" (#3), "The Clapping Song" (#8) and the "Puzzle Song" (#78). You can learn more about her and her recordings here.

Info on Allan Sherman, Freddy Cannon, R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders, the Ramones, and The Association are from their respective Wikipedia pages.

Wendy Carlos has lived a fascinating life. You can learn more about her here.

There's a lot of conflicting opinions about the origin of the name "Wendy," although the popular conception that that the name was invented by J.M. Barrie seems to be an urban myth. If you're interested, you can follow many links on the subject here.


You've been listening to the Dreamtime podcast – occasional commentary on Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour.

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Until next time, dream well.

The list

1. Abigail – Abigail Beecher, Freddy Cannon

2. Beth – My Beth, Link Wray

3. Carly – Carly Simon, The Groovie Ghoulies

4. Diane – Diane, R Crumb and his Cheap Suit Seranaders

5. Eve – Eve, The Carpenters

6. Francine – Francine, ZZ Top (alt. Francine, Louis Belson & His Orchestra)

7. Gloria – Gloria, Jimi Hendrix (cover of the classic)

8. Hilary – Hotel Hilary, Poutnici (a Czech Bluegrass group)

9. Isabelle (Isabel) – Isabelle Blues. Hot Quartet de France

10. Judy – Judy is a Punk, Ramones (alt: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, CSNY)

11. Kathryn? (I'd go for Katie Cruel, Karen Dalton)

12. Laura- Dexter Gordon, (alt. Ella Fitzgerald version or just the movie theme)

13. Melissa – Melissa, The Allman Brothers

14. Natalie – Natalie, David Crosby

15. O? (I'd go for Ophelia, The Band): UPDATE: After repeated listenings, I've decided Mr. D. is saying "Olivia," neither African, Irish, nor Welsh. So, our pick here would be Olivia, by The Whispers)

16. Penelope – Penelope, Wayne Shorter

17. Quincy? (Not a clue with this one)

18. Rachel – Little Rachel, Eric Clapton

19. Stacy/Staci – Stacey Adams, Snoop Dog and Kokane

20. Tracey/Traci – Dear Tracey, Sara Hickman

21. Ursula – Ursula, Miles Davis

22. Vivian – Vivian, Nerf Herder

23. Wendy (Windy?) – Wendy, the Beach Boys (Windy, The Association)

24. Xenia – Xenia, Stephen Bennett

25. Yvonne – Yvonne, Marshall Crenshaw

26. Zelda – My Zelda, Alan Sherman (alt: Zelda, Pete Townsend)

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