Sunday, April 22, 2018

Songs from '78: "King Tut"

Yes, my focus here is on all the great pop and rock that laid foundation for my radio addiction, 40 years ago. But why not include a joke song like Steve Martin's "King Tut"? 1) It was one of the biggest hits of the whole year (not surprising given that some major city radio stations played the song constantly when the traveling exhibit Treasures of Tutankhamun was in the are). 2) It was included as a track on Martin's A Wild and Crazy Guy, a Grammy-winning double-platinum comedy album that is easily one of the greatest stand-up sets ever recorded. 3) It's still the 70s, people; I can do my best to recollect all the excellent music of the era, but still, I can't change the decade it was part of.

Anyway, I have no idea when I first heard this. I wouldn't be surprised if I learned the song from other kids on the elementary school playground, even before I heard it on the radio. (I didn't discover Dr. Demento until sometime in the mid-1980s.) Where would those kids have heard it, seeing as they likely weren't buying comedy albums in the 5th grade? From their older siblings, no doubt, who may have caught the world premier of the song on Saturday Night Live, April 22, 1978:

Oh, incidentally, Steve Martin's achievement wasn't the only cultural breakthrough which made the episode of SNL broadcast exactly 40 years ago tonight one of the most important in the show's entire history: that show also saw a couple of numbers done by a brand new musical outfit, a cool little duo who called themselves, for the very first time, "The Blues Brothers." (And yes, that is Paul Shaffer introducing them. Sorry for the quality of the clips, but you've got to accept what YouTube offers.)

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