Time flies. One minute I’m graduating with a university degree, wondering what on earth I’m going to do with it. The next minute*, I’m at a university again, only this time with child #1 on his first Open Day visit.
That evening, whilst reminiscing about my student days and bored of our usual radio station, child #2 switches to Pete Tong’s House Nation programme, something we’ve never listened to before. And just at the right time to catch this blast from the past — Kaw-Liga from The Residents.
I don’t think I’ve listened to that since leaving university. Back then, it was their interactive Gingerbread Man and Freakshow CD-ROM work that first caught our eye, I think. (When was the last time you saw the word CD-ROM?)
It’s strange to think that, even though we had the internet in the mid-nineties, it wasn’t anywhere near as easy or as embedded as it is now. This was 10 years before YouTube was founded. It’s taken me just moments to find the original 1950s Hank Williams version and to learn that that bassline in The Residents’ version is deliberate.
The avant-garde band The Residents recorded the song for their 1986 album Stars & Hank Forever: The American Composers Series, replacing its original backing music with the bassline of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. This was more than likely a reference to Williams’ wife, who was named Billie Jean.
* OK, not the next minute, but the 12,610,000th one. Roughly.