I just Googled “definition of fun”. Here’s what I got…

Fun
noun
enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure.
“the children were having fun in the play area”

synonyms: pleasure, entertainment, enjoyment, amusement, excitement, gratification, jollification, merrymaking, leisure, relaxation, levity, vivacity, liveliness, exuberance, ebullience, buoyancy, perkiness, zest, sunniness, brightness, enthusiasm, vibrancy, vividness, vitality, energy, vigor, vim, and many more.

Fun also describes what I like most about Record Archive… the stuff you can buy, the store’s atmosphere, and the people that work there all exude an aura of fun. This carries over to the social media accounts that fall under Archive’s control. I guess this makes sense, since it’s the energetic staff that is posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and probably other places on the internet that I’m too old to know about.

I really enjoy looking at the Record Archive social media for the many pictures posted of things you can purchase in the store. These items usually fall into one of five categories…

1) Hey, I have/had that.
2) I want that.
3) I know someone who would want that.
4) I’m sure there is someone somewhere that would want that.
5) What kind of weirdo would want that? Okay, I guess the crocheted “Willy Warmer” (a heater for your peter) is kind of funny.

Even more than the pictures of stuff, I enjoy the questions posed on the Twitter and Facebook pages of the Archive. Sometimes I spend way longer than I should pondering my answers. Occasionally I like to copy and paste these questions here, and then share my thoughts with the people who take the time to read this. Here are a few of those.

Q: What song would you use as your entrance music if you were a professional wrestler?

A: The same song I would use as my walk up music if I was a professional baseball player… “The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot. Why? Because it would confuse people. I’d also be the only professional athlete to use a song that contains the words “Gitche Gumee”.

Q: Who do you wish you could have seen in their heyday? I would have loved to see Parliament on the Clones of Dr. Funkenstien tour, or Aphex Twin in the 90s.

A: I’m guessing it was Stormy who picked Parliament or Aphex Twin. I’m not cool enough to know who or what Aphex Twin is… I tried asking Alexa, but Alexa said “I’m sorry, but you’re too much of a nerd for me to give you that information.”

This is one of those questions I’ve been thinking about for days. Maybe a couple of weeks.

Technically, I have seen Bruce Springsteen in his heyday… my first Boss shows were the Buffalo stop of the Born In The USA tour in September of 1984 at the hockey arena, and the following summer in Toronto at the old Exhibition Stadium. Bruce and the E Street Band were at the peak of their popularity at that point. I wish I had seen them earlier, like when they played the University of Rochester gymnasium in ’76 or the Auditorium Theater in ’77, but that wasn’t the question.

I also saw the Talking Heads on the tour that led to the album/film “Stop Making Sense”. You can’t get any better or more “heyday” than that for them.

The Beatles aren’t even close to making the list, unless I can see them in a place like The Cavern Club before they got popular… but I guess that’s the complete opposite of “heyday”. Once the Fab Four hit it would’ve been nothing but screaming and chaos, which isn’t fun for me. I care too much about the music maaaaan (and put as much snotty, self righteous inflection as you can into that last sentence as you read it).

I was only lucky enough to see Prince once. That was in 2004… a couple decades after his biggest hits had dominated the radio airwaves… but he put on the most amazing show ever. I’ve seen video of him live in the 80’s, and the concert I saw in Toronto during the Musicology Live 2004ever Tour was just as good, if not better.

I saw The Band a couple times post “The Last Waltz” without Robbie Robertson, and The Who a few times after Keith Moon died. I love both Robbie and Keith, so those are two groups that are very close second and third choices for me. I wouldn’t have wanted to be at any of the huge festivals they played though… being around half a million people at Watkins Glen, Woodstock, or Monterey Pop just isn’t for me.

Sly and the Family Stone and the Doors were also considered by me, but even in their heyday both bands were known for inconsistency. The concerts could be amazing, but had an equal chance of being a train wreck depending on how drunk or high the lead singers were. Sly might not even show up.

Okay, enough of who I’m not choosing… my #1 answer is Elvis Presley. Obviously pre Army Elvis would be incredible, but if I could choose any era it’d be during the time period that goes from the ’68 Comeback Special, to the 1970 documentary/concert film “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” , and on to the Aloha From Hawaii in early ’73.

MTV Unplugged was practically invented in 1968 when Elvis sat down with his original band members Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana for a televised acoustic set on a small stage in the middle of a few dozen people. This same TV show also included huge production numbers, dancers, backup singers, and The King at his most versatile. In my opinion Presley’s voice and stage presence were at its absolute best during that five or six year period from the late 60s to the early 70s. He was also putting out some of the best music of his career, to go along with his early hits.

It’s sad to think about how young Elvis was when he died… only 42 years old. By comparison Kanye West is 43, Luke Bryan is 44, and Beyonce is 39 as I write this. Not that much difference in terms of years, but Elvis seemed way older, even in 1977 when he went to the big Jungle Room In The Sky.

Next question….

Q: The national anthem is dusty, and hard to sing. I would personally replace it with Int’l Players Anthem by UGK ft. Outkast. What song would you pick?

A: Again, Stormy with an answer too hip for me. I’ve heard of Outkast… they have that catchy “Hey Ya” song. I started to once again ask Alexa about UGK, but before I could get half the sentence out of my mouth the magical smart device lady said “Don’t bother. Here are some Hootie and the Blowfish songs for your listening pleasure.”

I enjoyed reading other people’s replies to this one on Facebook and Twitter. A couple people didn’t think the question was very respectful to our country or the song that represents it, but I’m assuming those folks also didn’t realize that our anthem was originally a drinking song that was sung in pubs when Francis Scott Key wrote it.

Other answers included obvious ones (to me) like “God Bless America” , Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land”, and the Ray Charles version of “America The Beautiful”. I guess any version of that one would work, but Ray’s is probably the best.

“Living In The USA” by The Steve Miller Band, Neil Diamond’s “Coming To America”, and “Back In The USA” by Chuck Berry are all decent suggestions, but I liked the ones that were a little more obtuse or just plain silly.

“Cowboy” by Kid Rock anyone? “Life’s Been Good”- Joe Walsh or “That Smell”- Lynyrd Skynyrd? “Build Me Up Buttercup” from The Foundations ? I like them all.

My choice? I bet you think I’m going to say “The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald” again. Don’t be silly. Can you imagine how long baseball games would be if we had to sing that for almost seven minutes before the start of each game? Besides, I want to save that for the 7th inning stretch to replace “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”.

My substitution for The Star Spangled Banner is so high you can’t get over it, so low you can’t get under it, so wide you can’t get around it… “One Nation Under A Groove” by Funkadelic. Do you promise to funk, the whole funk, nothing but the funk? Ready or not here we come.

Yeah, I know that this one is over seven minutes too, but George Clinton will be more fun to dance to than Gordon Lightfoot. That’s what Record Archive cares about…. FUN.

Remember, Record Store Day Drop #3 is just over a week away (Saturday 10/24). Check out what will be available that day HERE. I know what I’m looking for that day, but this time I’m going to keep it a secret until I (hopefully) walk out of the store with it.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll be back next week.

-Billy

PS… I just thought of something. Consider this to be like a post credits sequence in a Marvel movie.

Back to artists I’d want to see during their prime… add James Brown to that list. In 1982 or ’83 Wilson Pickett and James Brown did a show together at the Auditorium Theater here in Rochester. That same night Crosby, Stills, and Nash (no Young) were at the War Memorial. I chose CSN. I think I chose wrong. I’ve seen the folk rockers a few times since, but never had a similar chance with the two soul legends, and now I never will. This wouldn’t have been James Brown as young and energetic as he was in the 1960s or 70s, but I have the feeling he was still a top notch showman with an amazing band. This is probably the concert I most regret missing.

There, now I’m done!! I promise.

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