Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Tardily Celebrating the Ides of March with The Ides of March
Yesterday was the Ides of March which marks the death of Julius Caesar and the birth of the delicious Caesar salad.
As a visit to Wikipedia will tell you:
The Ides of March (Latin: Idus Martiae) is the name of March 15 in the Roman calendar. The term ides was used for the 15th day of the months of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th day of the other months. The Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was killed in 709 AUC or 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus and 60 other co-conspirators.
What the hell did Caesar do -- try to pass healthcare reform?
Anyway, for Rock Turtleneck readers, who love nothing more that a sweet slice of AM Gold, The Ides of March brings one word to mind: Vehicle.
“Vehicle,” an early 70s horn-heavy slice of cock-rock by the band The Ides of March, is one of the great one hit wonders of all time. Though not even vaguely jazz-like, it was considered jazz rock at the time due to its liberal use of trumpets and trombones. This style was very much in vogue at the time thanks to bands like Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears.
"Vehicle" also belongs to another prestigious rock genre: the car as sexual metaphor song, parallel parked next to Jimi Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic” and Led Zeppelin’s “Trampled Underfoot.” A scan of the first verse however, would easily lead one to think it had been written by Gary Glitter.
I’m a friendly stranger in a black sedan
Won’t you hop inside my car
I’ve got pictures I’ve got candy I’m a loveable’ man
And I could take you to the nearest star
"Vehicle" was the only hit for the Ides of March, but for Ides of March insurance-actuary-named bandleader Jim Peterik, "Vehicle" was only the tip of the Top 40 iceberg. He later formed the band Survivor, who of course scored an even bigger hit with Peterik's 1981 tune "Eye of the Tiger."
Having struck gold with Survivor, Peterik became an in-demand pop songwriter and that rarest of rock paradoxes, a one-hit wonder with 18 Top 40 hits to his name.
Among them is one of my least favorite songs of all time, .38 Special's "Hold On Loosely," though any song with the phrase "good lovin' gone bad" in the first verse cannot be entirely without merit.