Monday, 22 September 2008

News, Views and Music (Top Five): National Wombat Week


And this week’s top five: how could I miss commemorating ‘National wombat week’ a fortnight or so ago? Had I known I would have used this subject on this list sooner (curious fact for you too—’wombat week’ is the same as ‘fibromyalgia week’ which is why I missed celebrating it earlier- are the two weeks related?!) So, in honour of the Australian mammal that simply doesn’t get enough publicity, mainly because he’s usually asleep when other animals are getting busy for the cameras,  here is our list of the top five wombat ditties (sort of):



5) I Am Wombat (hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore)… (Helen Reddy/ I Am Wombat... Err, sorry, I Am Woman, 1972). We all thought this was a feminist anthem when it came out, but could it be that Helen Reddy actually meant to sing about wombats in this song and couldn’t pronounce the word? No? Ah well, she should have done!



4) Wombat (Lindisfarne/ Back And Fourth, 1978) “Wombat so mild, wombat so meek, wombat so devastatingly unique, wombat be good to me…” OK, so Geordie favourites Lindisfarne had probably never even heard of wombats when they wrote this song, but given how itchy and scratchy my old battered vinyl copy of this song is, that might just as well have been singing ‘wombat’ in the chorus…



3) Bald Headed Wombat (The Kinks/ The Kinks (1st album), 1964) “I’ve been driving with a bald headed wombat, gonna make me mean, yes lord, make me mean”. This old traditional blues number, allegedly ‘re-arranged’ by Kinks producer Shel Talmy in order to get the song-writing royalties (it sounds like every other version ever made of the song to me) never did make any sense anyway, so this interpretation can’t possibly be any more daft than the real story behind the song, whatever that might be. Curiously enough, I own a wombat who likes watching formula one, so this song fits rather too well…



2) Wombat (John Lennon/ Double Fantasy, 1980) “Wombat, I can hardly express my emotions and my thankfulness” Lennon’s more or less final release in his lifetime showed just how much the ex-Beatle had changed his outlook on life since his heady days as one of the fab four. ’You Can’t Do That’ and ’Run For Your Life’ are often trotted out as two of the most sexist songs the 60s ever produced, but to be fair on Lennon he went overboard trying to re-dress the balance once he met Yoko (His 1972 song ’Woman Is The Nigger Of The World’ remains one of the most controversial songs of Lennon’s solo career and is routinely absent from Lennon best-ofs, despite the fact that it was actually one of his bigger solo hits). The (almost) last song of Lennon’s  lifetime finds him toning down his political slant for something  that caused rather less controversy when it came out, despite being just as flag-waving in its own quiet way. For the purposes of our site, however, Lennon is surely celebrating loving wombats (honest he is).



1) Remember You’re A Wombat (Wombats, err sorry Wombles/any of the Womble best-ofs on the market which-are-nearly-all-filled-solely-with-tracks-taken-from-the-first-album-anyway-because-that’s-the-only-one-that-sold-before-the-novelty-passed, 1974) Novelty hit about green-fingered beings who live on Wimbledon common or a deep meaningful composition about snooze-loving Australian mammals who spend most of their time sleeping while upside down, which interpretation out ofd these two makes more sense to you?! Incidentally, music has long been associated with wombats...well, since about 2005 actually, when a promising new group called The Wombats released their first record. So proving that we at the Alan’s Album Archives are not the only monkeynuts people in the world. That’s all for this week, see you next time (if you haven’t run away screaming!)

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