She'll Grow Back: Silly Sundays - The Buoys - Timothy

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Silly Sundays - The Buoys - Timothy

For the month of August, Silly Sundays will be devoted to some tracks written and performed by renaissance man Rupert Holmes (official wiki AMG), the only man to win a Tony and an Edgar for the same work. (We'll be hearing a song from that work later this month, methinks.)

In 1971, Holmes was writing and recording and producing songs with his friend Ron Dante (of The Archies fame/infamy), and his friends The Buoys (official wiki interview). The Buoys were signed for a major label single, but the label wouldn't set aside even a penny for promotion. As such, Holmes had to promote the single himself. He set out to write a song so offensive it would be banned and censored, thereby achieving fame. Inspired partially by Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons," what he came up with was "Timothy," a dark tale of implied cannibalism.

Holmes' plan worked -- the song was quickly banned by some stations, and the record label issued two different censored versions (boo hiss for censorship!), but it slowly moved up the charts. Which means at one point Casey Kasem introduced the song when it entered the Top 40. The label also tried to defuse the controversy by announcing that Timothy was a mule, which claim was immediately denied by Holmes and the band. The Buoys went on to record two more albums, only one of which was released. The members have occasionally reunited in different formations, and here's a live video of the song from 2005. Holmes went on to record many more albums, write Broadway shows and novels and work with Barbra Streisand, of all people.

Most weeks, I provide a buy link for anything in print, but apparently the available commercial release is unofficial, and The Buoys, and Holmes, aren't getting any royalties, so I won't do it this week. Shame.

The Buoys - Timothy
mirror 1 -- mirror 2

PS -- It's my mom's birthday today. She doesn't read this blog, but it's worth pointing out that once, she made the creepiest Donner Party joke I've ever heard. Happy birthday, Mom!


Timmy said...

Very nice. I dig the Casey Kasem aircheck...

Cr Swan said...

I love that Casey Kasem could not just introduce the song - he also had to give a history lesson. Also, if I'm reading between the lines, if you ever get stuck somewhere with Mr. Kasem, he *will* eat you.

Mark H. Besotted said...

What *I* think is cool is that that's clearly from the artist's personal recording off the radio that day.

And, yeah, it's great to hear Casey Kasem being all creepy, but I like how impressed Jerry clearly was to hear his song introduced on the radio by a famous DJ. Totally human.