The Stories Behind the Songs on Our Second Single
Fri., Mar. 12. 2021 12:01am EST
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our second single of 2021:
THEY DIDN'T BELIEVE HER
Although we'd already addressed Mary Magdalene's Easter encounters with the risen Lord and His doubting disciples in a previous parody, "Magdalena," this was my first chance to sing about them, since my daughter Janna sang that one.
The movie Jesus of Nazareth did a great job depicting the scene where Mary Magdalene tells the Apostles she has seen Jesus alive but they don't believe her. I just realized something ironic about that while writing the article you're reading right now:
One of the famous mixes of "Macarena," the song we spoofed as "Magdalena," uses a sample that says, "I am not trying to seduce you." It was taken from the movie The Graduate, and the line was originally uttered by Mrs. Robinson, played by Anne Bancroft, who also played Mary Magdalene in Jesus of Nazareth!
I got the title and part of the chorus for "They Didn't Believe Her" in July 2020. It's our seventh Monkees parody (if you count "I'm a Receiver," which spoofed the Smash Mouth version of "I'm a Believer"), but it's the first time we've done any of the songs that Davy Jones sang. And suddenly I feel so much cuter.
"Daydream Believer" was a #1 pop hit for The Monkees in 1967, but it was also a #1 adult contemporary hit (and a #12 pop hit) for Anne Murray in 1980 — the same year the other song we spoofed on this single, "Hungry Heart," hit the pop charts, peaking at #5 for five weeks.
Whenever somebody tries to tell me I'm humble, I usually add, "And proud of it!" Then I'll go on to say that I achieved my humility through years of humiliation.
Now, I got the "humble and proud of it" from the title of a sermon I heard decades ago by famous Presbyterian preacher Steve Brown. But the humiliation part I got firsthand countless times from other kids during my grade-school and junior-high years.
Both Peter and James say in their epistles that if we humble ourselves, God will lift us up (1 Peter 5:6, James 4:10). And Jesus Himself said, "For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted" (Matthew 23:12, Luke 14:11).
I remember when I first heard "Hungry Heart" on the radio back in 1980. I thought, "Is this the same guy who was mumbling on 'Born to Run'? He sounds so different!" I had a similar reaction when I first heard "Lay Lady Lady" by Bob Dylan.
Initially, I considered spoofing this song as "Ugly Heart," dealing with Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" But the title just seemed too … uh … ugly.
GREETINGS FROM PNC PARK PA
Pittsburgh was a lucky town for baseball fans in the 70's; the Pirates reached the promised land twice. Since then, there's been a lot of darkness on the edge of town by the river Allegheny. And it doesn't look like it'll fade away any time soon. But that's the price you pay when you don't want to pay the price of free agency.
I grew up about 30 miles from Pittsburgh and started following the Pirates in '71. They won the World Series that year, then went to the National League Championship series three more times in the next four years, and finally won another World Series in '79.
It was a great time to be growing up (especially with the Steelers also winning four Super Bowls), but it set me up for decades of disappointment on the diamond ever since. In that sense, the theme of this parody echoes Bruce Springsteen's mid-80's hit "My Hometown."
I got the idea while texting with my old friend and fellow long-suffering Pirates fan Thom Passante. He was talking about Springsteen, and I started sending spoof lyrics to him about our once-proud franchise. I had just sung "Humble Heart," our biblical parody of "Hungry Heart," the week before.
Later it dawned on me that I could record a baseball parody using the same tracks. Longtime fans of the band know I've made references to the Pirates before in "We're in a Parody Band" and "Strangestfolks." I wanted the words to be humorous but not mean-spirited. It's a "we" song, not a "they" song.