Author Topic: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED  (Read 1762 times)

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« on: May 10, 2019, 07:01:22 PM »
I'm a Nilsson fan, but this song - one of his most well-known - is dodgy as fuck.

It is, as I'm sure you're all aware, a whimsical ditty about a witch doctor sung in some sort of comedy African/Caribbean accent. In the video, Nilsson dresses up as a gorilla. Eesh.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbgv8PkO9eo

Different times, I know, but still...

So, which song by an otherwise good and credible musical artiste makes you think, "Err, bit dodge that, mate"?

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2019, 07:05:02 PM »
I've always meant to source some opinions on this but The Kinks' 'Black Messiah' is supposed to be ironic....right? Because if there a joke there then it's a bit opaque

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2019, 07:06:57 PM »
A local karaoke bar has some songs crossed out in the binder, presumably because they don't want people getting up and #cancelling themselves.  Among them are Sublime's 'Date Rape' and Oingo Boingo's 'Little Girls'.  Those songs don't seem to be glorifying rape/paedophilia to me, but there you go.  'Little Girls' was on the playlist at my wedding, it's a club banger.

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2019, 07:14:27 PM »
I've always meant to source some opinions on this but The Kinks' 'Black Messiah' is supposed to be ironic....right? Because if there a joke there then it's a bit opaque

Ape Man though.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2019, 07:16:01 PM »
There are more than a few Beatles songs that have aged badly. Run for your Life is the one that comes to mind, but it’s not the only one.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2019, 07:22:00 PM »
I've always meant to source some opinions on this but The Kinks' 'Black Messiah' is supposed to be ironic....right? Because if there a joke there then it's a bit opaque

Yeah, I think so. Probably? I mean, Davies often writes in character so, to give him the benefit of the doubt, Black Messiah is merely another entry in a long line of satirical pieces from the wry songsmith.

It's uncomfortably ambiguous, though. Are we meant to feel some sympathy for the racist character he's inhabiting, or is Davies mocking his attitudes? I know his songwriting thrives on ambiguity sometimes, but you can usually get the gist of what he's saying. The final verse is a pretty blatant condemnation of bigotry, granted, but that twist doesn't work quite as effectively as the punchlines in his better songs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRdsI0FLPDY

It's probably coming from a good place, but the delivery is misjudged. Still, at least he doesn't sing it in a cod-Caribbean accent a la Ape Man.* Thank heaven for small mercies.

God, what with this and the Danny Baker thread, I appear to be defending a lot of 'accidentally racist' white men today. Sorry, not my intention.

* The video for which also features a musician dressed up as a gorilla.

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2019, 07:29:01 PM »
I think there's a line in Viv Stanshall's Sir Henry at Rawlinson End where he refers to PC Gibbon as the long arm of the law - which is ok because gibbons possibly do have long arms - but then does a cod Jamaican accent for PC Gibbon saying "de poor man got de head screwed on wrong".

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2019, 07:29:59 PM »
I've always found that coconut song incredibly annoying.
No better when Kermit does it. Fuck it off into #cancelled land, it's shite.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2019, 07:41:24 PM »
There are more than a few Beatles songs that have aged badly. Run for your Life is the one that comes to mind, but it’s not the only one.

Actually, just read through the track listing for Help! and there’s a few dodgy ones. You Like Me Too Much is like a stalker’s manifesto (“if you, leave me / I will follow you, and bring you back where you belong”).

It’s my fave Beatles album and now I think it may need to be canceled.

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2019, 08:13:32 PM »
Fire Brigade by the Move

Cast your mind back ten years to the girl who's next to me in school
If I put my hand upon her leg she hit me with a rule

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2019, 08:23:01 PM »
The Coconut song nearly ruins Nilsson Schmilsson for me, so I wouldn't care if it was eradicated from existence.
A local karaoke bar has some songs crossed out in the binder, presumably because they don't want people getting up and #cancelling themselves.  Among them are Sublime's 'Date Rape' and Oingo Boingo's 'Little Girls'.  Those songs don't seem to be glorifying rape/paedophilia to me, but there you go.  'Little Girls' was on the playlist at my wedding, it's a club banger.
Not familiar with the Sublime song, but "Little Girls" seems pretty explicitly to be about how pathetic men who date much younger women are. "They don't ask me questions/they don't want to scold me", etc. I'm surprised a karaoke bar even has that to be honest.

buzby

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2019, 08:58:37 PM »
10cc's Dreadlock Holiday (though it was apparently based on experiences Eric Stewart and Justin Hayward had on holiday in the Caribbean).

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2019, 09:10:30 PM »
I'm aware she was attempting to repurpose the word to mean 'outsider' or 'mistfit', but I reckon Smith would struggle to justify Rock 'n Roll n**ger in these times.

rue the polywhirl

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2019, 09:30:41 PM »
I reckon that Harry Nilsson video is totally safe. There’s no commentary, comment or barely even content to draw any much offence from. The patios it is sung in is more idiosyncratic and less ‘aping’ than other examples such as Kinks and 10cc which makes it more natural and less cloying. Also, the song has been gilded by Quinten Tarantino pop culture appropiation which means there will always be a kind of authorative, ironic distance about it that will keep it protected.

In other news I’ve heard that Damon Albarn outfit Gorillaz have been cancelled and also gorillas as a species are being cancelled because their existence is a reminder of the horrible racist tropes that are used to shackle and subjugate people.

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2019, 09:33:44 PM »
There are more than a few Beatles songs that have aged badly. Run for your Life is the one that comes to mind, but it’s not the only one.

Sounds great sung by a woman though

https://youtu.be/2r0ToC3sdl8

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2019, 10:37:49 PM »
In the video, Nilsson dresses up as a gorilla. Eesh…

There could be various things at play, for instance, it’s been claimed that Harry was making an incredibly subtle dig at The Monkees, but the video often said to be a homage to Ernie Kovacs’ The Nairobi Trio skits. I was unaware of this when I first saw this video, but instantly thought that it had been been lifted from Kovacs.

The trio were three figures in gorilla masks moving as if they were automated as music was played, the effect sometimes compared to a music box. Celebrity friends, Frank Sinatra and Jack Lemmon (the latter and Kovacs also co-starred in Bell, Book & Candle - Oliver Platt essentially lifted from Kovacs in that film for his scene-stealing turn in Lake Placid) were among the ones who donned the masks.

Here’s one of the versions - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=416o9b_pjQk - and Wikipedia has a decent entry about the trio.

Kovacs used music in his work a lot including a performance of Swan Lake: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PqR2twY6fak

He also used Mack the Knife as the audio backdrop for series of blackout sketches, such as https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hfB3jj8vKlo - I’m particularly fond of the bath one; I understand that the car in another, was a write-off and accounted for the bulk of the production budget for the episode.


non capisco

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2019, 11:40:49 PM »
Stray Cat Blues by The Rolling Stones. "I can see you're just fifteen years old/But I don't want your I.D" leers Mick. It's not even "hiding in plain sight", that, is it?  And that's just the album version. On the live version on Get Your Ya-Ya's Out he somehow gets to sing "I can see you're just THIRTEEN years old" in front of a crowd of people without a belligerent cockney calling himself something like DARREN HUNTER rushing the stage and filming him on his phone going "The police have been called and are on their way, Mr. Jagger. I'm filming this for your safety and mine. If you turn your back on me I WILL put you on the floor." 

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2019, 12:31:31 AM »
“A’righ’ I’m Mick! ‘Ere to play this private show!”

“Why don’t you take a seat Mr Jagger? Right over there.”

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2019, 12:38:28 AM »
The Hokey Cokey - Sickeningly ableist. 'I haven't got a left leg though!' 'Fuck off then, this dance is for normal people..

non capisco

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2019, 01:10:45 AM »
“A’righ’ I’m Mick! ‘Ere to play this private show!”

“Why don’t you take a seat Mr Jagger? Right over there.”

OH BOO HOO, MICK. I'VE HAD TO COME ALL THE WAY FROM ORPINGTON TO THE 1960'S FOR THIS, MATE. DO YOU STILL NOT WANT TO SEE MY I.D, NOW THAT YOU KNOW IT'S ME? THIRTEEN YEARS OLD, MICK. YOU WERE TALKING TO ME ALL ALONG. THIRTEEN YEARS OLD, MATE. STOP CRYING. YOU WERE EXPECTING THE CLICK-CLACK OF A THIRTEEN YEAR OLD'S FEET ON YOUR STAIRS TONIGHT, WEREN'T YOU? NOT THIS HANDSOME BASTARD. CAN I READ YOU SOME OF THE TRANSCRIPTS, MICK MATE? THEY'RE ALL HERE, MY SON. DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON ME, I WILL PUT YOU ON THE FLOOR. "THERE'LL BE A FEAST IF YOU JUST COME UPSTAIRS." THAT'S YOU, MICK, YOU SAYING THAT. THIRTEEN YEARS OLD, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? I COULD GO ON MATE. "YOU LOOK SO WEIRD AND YOU'RE SO FAR FROM HOME BUT YOU DON'T REALLY MISS YOUR MOTHER." THIRTEEN, MY MAN! COME ON, MAN!  THIS IS BEING STREAMED ON FACEBOOK, BY THE WAY. I DON'T THINK DECCA RECORDS WILL APPRECIATE THIS, DO YOU? I DON'T THINK YOU'LL BE PUTTING ANY MORE RECORDS OUT FOR A LONG TIME, LET ALONE GOING ON WOGAN. I'VE COME ALL THE WAY FROM ORPINGTON FROM THE FUTURE, MATE, DON'T TRY MY PATIENCE.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2019, 01:50:03 AM »
There are cameras there and over there. What do you have to say? Why did you say that?

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2019, 03:52:00 AM »
OH BOO HOO, MICK. I'VE HAD TO COME ALL THE WAY FROM ORPINGTON TO THE 1960'S FOR THIS, MATE. DO YOU STILL NOT WANT TO SEE MY I.D, NOW THAT YOU KNOW IT'S ME? THIRTEEN YEARS OLD, MICK. YOU WERE TALKING TO ME ALL ALONG. THIRTEEN YEARS OLD, MATE. STOP CRYING. YOU WERE EXPECTING THE CLICK-CLACK OF A THIRTEEN YEAR OLD'S FEET ON YOUR STAIRS TONIGHT, WEREN'T YOU? NOT THIS HANDSOME BASTARD. CAN I READ YOU SOME OF THE TRANSCRIPTS, MICK MATE? THEY'RE ALL HERE, MY SON. DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON ME, I WILL PUT YOU ON THE FLOOR. "THERE'LL BE A FEAST IF YOU JUST COME UPSTAIRS." THAT'S YOU, MICK, YOU SAYING THAT. THIRTEEN YEARS OLD, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? I COULD GO ON MATE. "YOU LOOK SO WEIRD AND YOU'RE SO FAR FROM HOME BUT YOU DON'T REALLY MISS YOUR MOTHER." THIRTEEN, MY MAN! COME ON, MAN!  THIS IS BEING STREAMED ON FACEBOOK, BY THE WAY. I DON'T THINK DECCA RECORDS WILL APPRECIATE THIS, DO YOU? I DON'T THINK YOU'LL BE PUTTING ANY MORE RECORDS OUT FOR A LONG TIME, LET ALONE GOING ON WOGAN. I'VE COME ALL THE WAY FROM ORPINGTON FROM THE FUTURE, MATE, DON'T TRY MY PATIENCE.

Mate I had to get a 358 bus just to get to fucking Orpington.

WHAT FUCKER DECIDED TO PUT THE TIME MACHINE TO THE 1960'S IN ORPINGTON?

bigfatheart

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2019, 09:45:07 AM »
The Drifters, "Kissin' in the Back Row of the Movies".

Quote
Every night I pick you up from school
Cause you're my steady date
But from Monday through to Friday night
I leave you at the gate

...

You know we can't have too much fun
Til all your homework's done

Our intrepid protagonist drops his school-aged girlfriend off at school - presumably flicking Vs at the school's safeguarding officer all the while - and then bemoans the fact that her schoolwork is getting in the way of his 'fun'. And what is he doing while she's working to procure herself a future?

Quote
I sit alone at night and watch TV
But I still think of you

Yep, sits in his pants and vest, illuminated by the soft blue light of his television, 'thinking of' his underage sweetheart. Our hero.

Quote
And I am in the game for life

A brief moment of tragedy, in which the chief Drifter - so named due to their constantly being run out of town by irate parents - accepts that his psychological make-up will make it impossible for him to form meaningful relationships with adult women, and as such the cycle - bounced in and out of prisons, from town to town - will continue indefinitely.

Quote
Smooching in the back row of the movies on a Saturday night with you

Aha, the smoking gun - no-one has ever used the word 'smooching' except when trying to make their seedy designs sound palatable to a child with an underdeveloped sense of sexuality. Put 'em on the register and bang 'em up for life.

Quote
Your mama says that through the week
You can't go out with me

Not sure I blame her exactly.

Oh well, at least they don't look dodgy as fuck.



...hanging's too good for 'em.


Howj Begg

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #24 on: May 11, 2019, 10:11:30 AM »
Gang rape of underage boys by tanked up prostitutes...

Yah but The Threepenny Opera is explicitly set in the underworld including a brothel and pimps. One song translates to "Pimp's Ballad". I don't think it's in much danger of cancelling.

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #25 on: May 11, 2019, 10:40:22 AM »
I'm a Nilsson fan, but this song - one of his most well-known - is dodgy as fuck.

It is, as I'm sure you're all aware, a whimsical ditty about a witch doctor sung in some sort of comedy African/Caribbean accent. In the video, Nilsson dresses up as a gorilla. Eesh.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbgv8PkO9eo

Different times, I know, but still...

So, which song by an otherwise good and credible musical artiste makes you think, "Err, bit dodge that, mate"?

Is it about a witch doctor? I always thought it was just about a normal doctor. There doesn't seem anything in the lyrics to suggest otherwise. Cod reggae was a thing in the 70s. Just ask Paul Nicholas

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2019, 12:00:00 PM »
Stray Cat Blues by The Rolling Stones. "I can see you're just fifteen years old/But I don't want your I.D" leers Mick. It's not even "hiding in plain sight", that, is it?  And that's just the album version. On the live version on Get Your Ya-Ya's Out he somehow gets to sing "I can see you're just THIRTEEN years old" in front of a crowd of people without a belligerent cockney calling himself something like DARREN HUNTER rushing the stage and filming him on his phone going "The police have been called and are on their way, Mr. Jagger. I'm filming this for your safety and mine. If you turn your back on me I WILL put you on the floor."

That song is uncancellable because it's fucking brilliant. Probably a good reason why they haven't done it live in donkeys years though, funnily enough I think they stopped it around the time the bass player got married....

biggytitbo

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2019, 12:26:58 PM »
Frozen Jap.

Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2019, 12:32:16 PM »
TURNIN' JAPANESE I THINK IM TURNIN' JAPANESE I REALLY THINK SO.

Also, Scottish singer going full on racist for Japanese Boy.

Better Midlands

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Re: Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' #CANCELLED
« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2019, 01:11:26 PM »
I feel the message "Blackman" was trying to get across in this 1993 club track might be misconstrued in these modern woke times.