McDonald's Girl #1 in Norway
Volume 2, Issue 1 - July 1998
First of all, for those of you that have never gotten email from me before and are scratching your heads wondering, "Who is this guy? And how did I wind up on his email list?" - you were probably overheard on some newsgroup talking about the 'real origin of "McDonald's Girl" or some other obscure song trivia relating to this list.
Anyone that would like to be removed from this list just send a "REMOVE ME" reply.
The rest of you have no excuse and will be forced to read the rest of this missive regardless of how vague, confusing and convoluted its train of thought becomes because, much as we'd like to deny it, we are all - and I include myself in this grouping - helpless media babies suckled on the glowing phosphorous milk of the constantly flowing, beneficent boob tube and irradiated by the fuzzy warmth of its mind-numbing scanning electron beam.
O.K. Maybe I'm overstating the case. The point is, you've read this far and clearly only the rare contrarian will have the rigid self discipline and perverse will power necessary to be able to stop reading at the period at the end of this sentence.
Good. Now that we've gotten rid of those assholes, I can get on with the rest of my message intended for the rest of you who obviously possess exceptionally good taste and an appreciation for rare lyrical craftmanship and consumate songwriting skills.
All right, enough of all that. How are you all doing? I'm just fine. Still here in London promoting the new album, doing radio, TV and press interviews all over the UK. I spent an exciting week in Ireland doing all sorts of media and enjoying a great reception to the new album. I'm looking forward to going back there in October on the first leg of tour which will continue in the UK in November. I'll keep you all posted with the tour dates once they're all confirmed.
In the meantime, allow me to mention two brief upcoming summer festival appearances...
- I'll be doing a short 1/2 hour spot on Saturday, August 1st (8pm Club Tent stage) at the CAMBRIDGE FOLK FESTIVAL.
- I'll be doing another short 1/2 hour spot August 8th) at the GUILFORD '98 FESTIVAL in STOKE PARK. (The festival runs Aug. 7,8 & 9. (call 01483-454159 for more info and time)
"But, what's really happening these days?", you innocently ask.
It's difficult to explain. Here's what I mean:
There I am, sitting in a hotel room ( in Dublin) talking to Alison on the phone (in London), as she explains to me that Amelia, her monkey (in New York), escaped.
For those of you that have never met her, Amelia is a small hairy Capuchin monkey that lives in our dining room in Peekskill and is being looked after by Chris and Sabine who are housesitting for us and looking after the menagerie.
Anyway, Amelia ran out of the house and spent the night up in a tree and finally came down the next day for grapes but not until an army of 60 people, including the police, a cherry picker, emergency crew, and staff from the Bronx zoo tried to coax her down. She's fine and had what by all appearances was a fun excursion but Chris and Sabine and Alison are still recovering. (As a point of information, if anybody is wondering why we live with a monkey - it's because she was originally rescued from customs quarantine and has no place else to live.)
These types of unusual incidences occur more frequently than I care to admit but the following event definately bordered on the surreal...
Many of you are familiar with the saga of my song "McDonald's Girl". For those not, it goes like this...
- "McDonald's Girl" was the first single released off of my third album "Rumpled Romeo" and was immediately banned by the BBC for mentioning a commercial tradename. CBS promptly thereafter dropped me from the label and I suddenly found myself out of the record business. That was 17 years ago.
- Around 1992 the Canadian band Bare Naked Ladies recorded a cover version of "McDonald's Girl" for a Toronto radio station which apparently got a lot of airplay because people still ask about it on their newsgroup alt.music.barenaked-ladies. By the way, BNL are a very cool, fun band and their new album "Stunt" just went to #3 on the US charts. Check it out! (One of their members, Steve Page, sings some backups on my new album) Their version of McDonald's Girl is a riot and you can hear a sample of it by going to:
Anyway, ever since BNL covered it I get email every month from some BNL fan asking if I'm the guy that wrote McDonald's Girl and where can they get a copy of the original. (On my website, of course http://www.deanfriedman.com)
That's where things stood until a few months ago when I got a call from a guy named Marc Nathan at Univeral Records informing me that a newly signed band called The Blenders was about to record another cover version of "McDonald's Girl".
He followed this announcement by saying, "there are just a few lyrics we'd like to change..." At first I thought, damn, I can't believe it; here it is 1998 and they're still giving me a hard time about mentioning McDonald's.
But I was wrong. Instead, there's a line in the second verse which refers to the McDonald's Girl as "...She's not afraid to be the only other virgin I know." It also refers to her as "...she's only 15 years old." Marc told me that they were nervous about using the word "virgin" when referring to a McDonald's Girl and that they wanted to make her 16 years old instead of 15. I thought to myself, I guess they don't think anyone will believe that there are any 15 year old virgins left in America.
I can't express how absurd and ludicrous this seems to me, even now, but I said, "Marc, it's a great song the way it is, but if you want to make her into a 16 year old slut, go right ahead."
I don't think he fully appreciated my attempt at humor but they went and covered the song.
Fortunately, upon hearing the Blenders version I was delighted to find that, her virginity notwithstanding, their arrangement and production of my song was absolutely terrific. I genuinely love it and get a real kick everytime I hear it.
- Here's where it gets really weird: 6 days ago I received email from an executive at Universal Records - Norway informing me that "McDonald's Girl" had gone straight to #1 on the national radio charts in Norway!!
Now, I know it's only a tiny Scandinavian country with 5 million people in it living on pickled herring, but, as you can imagine I was delighted to hear this news.
Let me hasten to add, to those of you that I owe lots of money to - and there are more than a few of you out there - a #1 hit in Norway will not make me rich, so just calm down. It still feels good though. And you never know, maybe if it goes #1 in territories all over the globe I'll finally make some money in this business and be able to pay you all back - that is if you can ever find me!
Anyway, I thought you'd all appreciate this most recent chapter in the ongoing saga of how Dean manages to survive on this planet without actually holding down a real job. Don't be jealous, now; it's a lot harder than it looks.
That's all for now. If you haven't bought the new double CD "Songs For Grownups" what are you waiting for???
go to: http://www.deanfriedman.com
Check out The Blenders (http://www.singers.com/blenders.html) and buy their new single "McDonald's Girl". It's terrific. (Plus, I get royalties on it!)
Check out the Bare Naked Ladies (http://www.cs.mun.ca/~craig/bnl/docs/online.html) and their new album "Stunt". All their stuff is very cool.
Stay tuned for announcement of tour dates for my upcoming tour of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales in October/November...
And, finally, take care of yourselves and enjoy the rest of the summer.
Keep in touch.
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