Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, “Bang Bang”
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet are probably best known for doing the interstitial music and theme for the excellent sketch show “The Kids in the Hall.” I’d long wanted one of their CDs, but never stumbled upon one until a few days ago. I went to my comic shop, then saw a sign for “Neptune Music Co.” pointing down towards the sidewalk.
Naturally, the sign actually pointed to underground stairs leading to a secret underground bunker full of obscure music. I got a near-mint vinyl copy of Eric Burdon & the Animals’ “The Twain Shall Meet” and a CD copy of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet’s “Dim the Lights, Chill the Ham,” which contained the song above. While I was in the store, an old blues collection was playing, and the singer was contemplating cutting down a woman with a 32-20. This is remarkably similar to a song by my favorite blues musician, Skip James, “22-20 Blues.” The following conversation occurred:
Mr. Div: “Isn’t is supposed to be 22-20?”
Clerk: “Ha ha… … What?”
Mr. Div: “22-20. Like the Skip James song.”
Clerk: “I’m sorry, I’m just not catching you.”
Mr. Div: “‘22-20 Blues.’ It’s a Skip James song.”
Clerk: “What are you, the king of non-sequiturs?”
Yes. Yes, I am. Banana sleeping bag. Although, in that particular instance, I was being the king of obscure blues references. (I figured that I was in a safe place, like if I’d made a joke about Ambush Bug in the comic store.) Obscure blues knowledge is something that we sheltered, hermit-like white folk all used to have. Frankly, I’m disappointed in my generation of shut-ins for abandoning the tradition.
I listened to Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet on my drive home, and this song was driving me fucking insane. I knew it, but I just couldn’t pin it down. About two-thirds of the way through I remembered that it was from a Tarantino movie, checked the liner notes (while deftly avoiding getting into a fatal collision), and sure enough, it’s a cover of “Bang Bang,” which I knew as a Nancy Sinatra song. Thanks, Quentin.
So Nancy Sinatra had TWO good songs. Take that, whoever the fuck it was the other day telling me that she sucked because she only had one good song. How dare you besmirch the good name of Nancy Sinatra? The Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet and I are simply ashamed of you.
Also, did you know this song was written by Sonny Bono and originally performed by Cher? Holy shit, right? I did NOT see that coming.