Before we begin, please be sure to follow and download The Flyover Podcast on Spotify for extended song clips and the full experience.
(New Theme Song)
Welcome to a special preview edition of the all new Flyover Podcast, thank you so much for spending some time with us today.
We’ve been making some changes in the month we’ve been away to improve the podcast and your listening experience. Little things like updating our logo and website. And bigger things, like changing the entire format of the show.
The central theme of The Flyover Podcast has always been about conversations and community built around current events, culture, and entertainment. That remains the goal as we enter our second season, we’re just doing it a little differently. The Flyover Podcast is now the place where music, and comedy, intersects with current events and culture – we hope to use our love and knowledge of music, along with the new Anchor Podcasting platform from Spotify, to enhance our conversation with you, and provide you with even more entertainment.
Oh, and that’s important. All of the music we will be playing comes to us from Spotify – if you’re listening to us there, you can hear all of the great stuff we have planned for you. If you aren’t, you won’t be able to hear any of it. It’s a drag, but I think you’ll agree it’ll be worth it to take a second, look for The Flyover Podcast (with the new logo) on Spotify, follow us, and listen there.
Now, that you’ve done that, let’s get to the show!
This week’s special preview edition is entitled “Happy Birthday.” We’re taping this on December 7th, a date which will live in infamy, as known as my birthday. Your gift to me is taking the time to listen, so thank you in advance!
A birthday is a special day – we use it to gather with friends, celebrate, indulge, maybe take a day off work. We use birthdays to mark the passage of time, and occasionally to grieve. At its best, a birthday is a day filled with laughter and joy, shared drinks, and stories. At its worst, they’re a sullen reminder that our time on this planet is finite. There’s a loneliness in that one fact that unites us all. But, we’re not alone right now, and in the next half hour or so we’re going to take you through all of those emotions that come along with turning one year older.
With that said, we’re gonna kick off the show with an actual party. Let’s go hang with Sam Cooke over at Mary’s Place.
(Meet Me at Mary’s Place)
That was the great Sam Cooke, with “Meet Me at Mary’s Place.” Many of you may be familiar with a more recent song that not only evokes Sam’s version, but also steals the title for its chorus. In 2002, Bruce Springsteen released “Mary’s Place” on his incredible “Rising” album, a record that similarly deals with the mixed emotions that come with celebrations, not only of the living, but also those who have been left behind. That song, and album, marked the beginning of Springsteen’s now twenty-years-and-counting rededication to his work and companionship with his fabled E Street Band.
We’re not going to play that one, but instead, we’ll jump forward a few years. On 2009’s “Working on a Dream” album, Bruce and the E Street Band perform a song called “Surprise, Surprise,” the very first line of which is “Well today is your birthday.” The song is basically an expanded version of the birthday song we sing each year, filled with the blowing out of candles, raised glasses, and wishes hoped for. So blow out the candles on your cake, and we’ll raise a glass or two…
That song always reminds me of the Gin Blossoms and their perfect early-90s sugarcoated jangly guitar pop. As Springsteen began to disappear commercially in the 90s, bands like the Gin Blossoms, Wallflowers, and even Hootie and the Blowfish filled the void, didn’t they, singing the same sort of deeply emotional lyrics masked in the glory of great, uplifting music.
Speaking of, here’s an artist that predates them all, but who knows a thing or two about covering up her sadness, teenage heartbreak, and disappointment with pure, time-tested, major key pop. It’s Lesley Gore’s party, and god damnit, she’ll cry if she wants to.
(It’s My Party)
Did you know that song was actually inspired by a real event? It was written by Seymour Gottlieb, whose daughter threw a tantrum the night before her Sweet Sixteen party. The reason? It turns out her grandparents had been invited, and, well…young Judy didn’t want them there. After her father tried to console her and told her not to cry, she retorted with, “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.” She’d struck gold without even knowing it.
Another fun fact about this one: it was produced by the incomparable Quincy Jones, becoming his first number one hit.
Let’s bring up the mood for a little bit. Here’s The Beatles!
(Happy Birthday Dear Saturday Club)
Ah, not the one you thought I was going to play, was it! That was actually a quick version of “Happy Birthday” by the Fab Four on September 7th, 1963, the fifth anniversary of the then-hit BBC Radio show The Saturday Club. The Beatles performed six songs that day, this one in the style of one of their musical heroes, Eddie Cochran.
While birthdays usually mean a great deal of importance for most people, for others, like our next artist, they’re just another day. That’s certainly the case for Greta Kline, the lead singer of Frankie Cosmos: “Just because I am a certain age, doesn’t mean that I am any older,” she sings.” Her birthday is not only just another day, it’s also a sad remembrance of a lost lover. Here’s Frankie Cosmos with “Birthday Song.”
That line, “Just because I am a certain age, doesn’t mean that I am any older,” sounded so familiar to me the first time I heard it. Then I remembered why. In December 2010, the night of a birthday that didn’t end so auspiciously, I wrote the lyrics to a song that I wouldn’t end up finishing until 2016 called “Thunder in the Hallways.” It may not be about birthdays, but it’s a very similar theme: I’m older, but I don’t feel like it. I still have these dreams that I believe in, but they’re beginning to feel further away than ever before. In fact, the very first line is eerily similar to “Birthday Song,” “I’m three years older though nothing has changed; I’m still a little boy I’ve just been rearranged.” Here is “Thunder in the Hallways,” a song, and a protagonist, with no chorus, though perpetually in search of one.
(Thunder in the Hallways)
We’re going to stay down here on the depressed side of the birthday coin…six feet under to be exact. The passage of time, the ticking of the clock – no one wants to think about that shit on their birthday! Fun! Party! Presents! Gimme that! Gwen Stefani and her band know that, but they also know that when the balloons all fall to the ground, it’s hard to believe, but someday we’ll be six feet underground.
They ain’t gonna let them bother them, not at all. This is not Morrisey singing “Unhappy Birthday,” and of course Morrisey has a song called “Unhappy Birthday,” no, this is a full on RAVE! The long black limousine one day comes for us all, but until then, let’s party!
(Six Feet Under)
One thing I love about listening to music is that you’re never really done discovering. There will always be new music released, and if you know where to look, there is always something that will inspire you and turn you on. There’s nothing quite like that very first time you hear a song that you absolutely love and can’t wait to tell your friends about.
You can also go the other way, and continue to dig deeper and deeper into the past. Who inspired your favorite artists? What were they singing about? What made them unique? It’s still the same feeling whenever you hit upon something exciting, like finding that perfect piece in an antique store. Oh my god, what is this!
“Happy Birthday” released by Loretta Lynn in the fall of 1964, is one of those rare finds. It’s incredible, not only for the performance but also for the sheer confidence and defiance in the song. This was 1964, in Nashville no less. There wasn’t a whole lot of female empowerment going on in music, and certainly not at the Grand Ol Opry. But this is Loretta Lynn we’re talking about! Johnny Cash may have sung about shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die – Loretta Lynn might actually have done it!
“Well, I know where you’re going and who’s gonna meet you there
I know how late you’ll be coming home but guess who doesn’t care
Tonight I’ll step out too and since I won’t be here
Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
Talk about a phenomenal “F you” to a cheating lover. Tell him, Loretta:
Next up, Blur, with “Birthday.” You know Blur from “Song 2,” the WOO HOO song. You may be more familiar with Damon Albarn’s work as Gorillaz. However you know him, his work is very signaturely his. I love the sound of this record, sort of a modern Beatles production – this song owes quite a bit to a song like “Because” the way it sounds and builds in all of its glory.
No hiding behind major chords and vocals from the heavens here – Damon Albarn doesn’t like today, it makes him feel too small.
We’re almost at the end of our show, but we’re gonna keep it weird for our second-to-last song. This one, also called “Birthday,” was released in 1987 by a band called the Sugarcubes. That’s right, The Sugarcubes: I didn’t know who they were, you didn’t know who they were, who gives a fuck? Turns out, before Bjork was Bjork, she fronted this very 80s, very Bjork band from Iceland.
As Adrian Cepeda wrote for “The Trebel,” this is:
“the quintessential Björk single. It has all of her trademark qualities, her sexy shriek, the vivid imagery and otherworldly lyrics that we have come to know and love. “Birthday” is the song that started it all, the one that introduced a tiny Icelandic chanteuse to the world.”
It really is a great song, looking at this wondrous day through the eyes of a precocious five year old, taking in all the joy and wonder of celebrating one’s birthday. At least, I think that’s what it’s about, I’m not entirely sure. It’s Bjork, after all. But, it’s damn good.
Well, that’s it, that’s our Special Preview Edition of The NEW Flyover Podcast, thank you so much for listening. We are hard at work planning our second season, but if you want to check out some of our previous podcasts or articles, head over to www.theflyover.site or official_flyover on Instagram. We may even have a Special Holiday Edition coming up for you in a few weeks, so please stay tuned.
We’re going to leave you today with The Beatles song that you were expecting at the top of the show, although a little bit differently than you’ve heard it before.
So, Happy Birthday to me, and Happy Birthday to you if you’re celebrating out there. We’ll be seeing ya!
(Beatles – Birthday outtake)
The Flyover Podcast is recorded and produced by Kyle Pucciarello in Chicago, Illinois. For more information, please visit www.theflyover.site, official_flyover on Instagram, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.