Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Great Name Dropper

And now for something completely different - yet still on-topic.

As I've mentioned from time to time, I have a number of search feeds that get me the web sites I discuss here (bless you, RSS!). I get a lot of different things, from ebay auction items to blogs to newspaper articles, and I still have to cull through the posts about the American Legion, the Legion halls, the French Foreign Legion, the Legion of Doom, Imperial Legion, Legion Quest, "legion of fans", "we are legion", etc. Digging through those is where I find things like Shawn Harrison announcing he got the Timber Wolf part before the series was officially announced.

Something else I ran across a while back was a reference to a 1960's music group called "The Legion of Super-Heroes". That obviously couldn't have been a coincidental naming - at the time, the Legion was headlining in "Adventure Comics". All I could find is that they put out exactly one single on Amy Records, #971, in 1967. The name of the A-side song was called "The Great Name Dropper part 1", and the B-side was "part 2". It was only released as a single, and I haven't heard of anyone finding it on a compilation anywhere. Aside from the song lyrics, I wondered would the record sleeve itself have any comic-book Legion stuff on it? How much of a Legion (comics) collectible is this thing really?

Then a little while ago, a guy named John Peel died. I had never heard of him, but he was big in the music/radio business in the UK, and he had a famous box of his 142 favorite 45's, of which the Legion's was #103 (just ahead of the Mighty Avengers!). Lots of people started talking about that list and everyone wanted a copy of this single, myself included. Here's how one music discussion site described the song that he heard on Peel's radio show:

John Peel sometimes plays a very strange record from the early Sixties called "the Great Namedropper" by the Legion of Superheroes. The record has all the qualities of a normal go go record : a great beat, twangy guitars and female backing singers. However over the top of the music an announcer names lots of pop acts of the day (such as Boy Bennett and His Rockets, Rosie and the Originals and Butch and the Bells). People in the studio shout and clap whenever they hear a bandname that they like. It's a brilliant record. I don't know if it's available on any compilations though.

Today, I can't answer the last question about the record sleeve, but I finally found a site with a copy of the mp3 file - today's post on "Living Too Late", a blog from a girl in England who was born 15 years after the song came out. The top of the page has a link to the mp3 file on the YouSendIt site, so you have to jump through a couple of hoops to get there, but it's otherwise a free and painless download. The file contains both the A-side and B-side, separated by a few seconds of blank space.

The song reminds me a lot of those mid/late 60's "surf rock" garage bands, the ones that were "one-hit wonders" like The Rivieras, The Rivingtons, The Trashmen, The Kingsmen, etc. It sounds as if the band was just goofing off in the recording studio and the mic was left on.

I'll drop it onto my iPod.


Matthew E said...



Matthew E said...

Okay, I've downloaded and listened to it now, and... well, I can see why it wasn't a hit song, but it was kind of cool anyway. Especially since there were quite a few bands listed that I had actually heard of (including Clarence 'Frogman' Henry). Neat!

Garth Ranzz said...

That's a great one Michael. Reminded me of my search for the album "Every Seven Seconds" by Yoyodyne. They had a song on it called "The Wedding of Bouncing Boy". Been searching for a copy of this disc for 2 1/2 years and your discovery made me look around again. And guess what. I found one on eBay! And it was a Buy it Now. So sometime next week I'll finally have this in my Legion collection.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mike, I've actually got the single in my collection. The label and sleeve have nothing to do with the Legion. Just a regular, everyday sleeve and typical 60s label. ~Brad Horning

Michael said...

Holy crap! Thanks, Brad! Is there any way you'd be able to (a) get a better mp3 recording than this one, which is 64Kbit, 22050Hz mono, and (b) get a scan of the label and sleeve (unless the sleeve is a generic blank one)?

MaGnUs said...

AGH!!! The link is dead; is there a chance you can upload this song somewhere??

Craigopher said...

Just received a copy of the 45 in the mail today. Don't have a turntable that can play it, but I will be taking it to a service that can transfer the music to a CD and will be happy to send out MP3s to anyone who wants a copy. Will also scan copies of both sides of the record and sleeve.