L.A.

Lyrics

(1)

Odeon sky (2)
Uncanny
Bushes are in disagreement with the heat

L.A.

Uncanny 
Person
Filled boulevards with white snow, scum-ball  (3)

L.A.

This is my happening and it freaks me out   (4)

Notes

1. The song is basically an instrumental (written by Brix), with some spoken lines thrown in. From Reformation:

Quotes from the booklet accompanying the Omnibus edition of This Nation's Saving Grace:
 
Brix Smith: "It was the sound of a helicopter...looking for escaped prisoners. That's the sound in L.A. Also when he M[ES] says 'white snow, scum hall---' that is a line taken from T J Hooker, the William Shatner Show which was set in L.A. I was obsessed with Phil Spector. So was Leckie [John Leckie, producer on the record]; in the wall of sound. He' d worked with Spector and John Lennon. He would always be pulling out nuggets from people he'd worked with. In Russ Meyer's Beyond The Valley of the Dolls, the main guy in the movie was based on Phil Spector. He says, 'This is my happening and it freaks me out at the party..."
 
Simon Rogers: "We wanted a sequencer. Mark is very anti-sequencers and I don't think we had one at the time. John had the idea to just put an echo on it so it was just me going der-derr-der-derr-der-derr; which you can hear in certain places."
 
There is a reference to Lloyd Cole ("face made out of cow pat") in the introduction to the Peel session version of the track. 

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was written by recently deceased movie critic Roger Ebert. Lloyd Cole is an English singer and songwriter most known for his work with Lloyd Cole and Commotions in the 1980s.
Brix, (via Dan) describes Beyond the Valley of the Dolls as "my favourite" Russ Meyer film: "In the middle of the song... I speak a line directly lifted from the movie. It's a tribute to the inspirational effect the movie had on me. I also meant it as a subtle link for the the listener to connect the visual images from the film to my personal fantasies of LA and what it meant to me... It's a quote from the character Z-Man Barzell who screams it after freaking out on acid, tripping at his own party, at which the Strawberry Alarm Clock are playing 'Incense and Peppermints' live. This is also why 'Incense and Peppermints' became the first song I recorded for The Adult Net.... ...Mark's parts in 'L.A.' - 'White snow, scum-ball' - came from William Shatner's character in the cheesy cop show T.J. Hooker. He was busting a cocaine ring. A line of Mark's I really love is, 'Uncanny bushes are in disagreement with the heat.' To me these are some of Mark's most brilliant lyrics. In LA it gets so hot, you can almost hear the bushes complain.'"
Her general comment about the song: "'L.A.' is a love song to my city... I was very, very homesick, and I wanted to try to capture the feeling I had for L.A. in a song."

From the Vancouver Sun, 20th May 1988 (Dan):

 

The couple collaborated to write L.A., with Brix coming up with the music (trying to "capture what it feels like to be in L.A... the seedy parts of Hollywood, the hypnotic sun on the beach") and Mark throwing in lyrics inspired by everyone's favorite William Shatner show, T.J. Hooker.

"Some of the things he says are pure poetry," says Mark. "There's a line in the song that I use where he gets hold of this drug dealer and says 'you have filled the boulevards with white snow, scumball!" Brilliant."
^

 
2. Dan: "I've discovered the phrase 'Odeon sky' in the work of Welsh poet Dannie Abse:
'And between films, when the organ suddenly rose triumphantly from the pit, it changed its colours just like the sky was slowly doing now - the Odeon sky. Amber, pink, green, mauve.' 

^
3. See note 1, TJ Hooker.

^

 
4. Brix: "In Russ Meyer's Beyond The Valley of the Dolls, the main guy in the movie was based on Phil Spector. He says, 'This is my happening and it freaks me out at the party...'" See note  1 above. Doctoro suggests an echo of Frank and Moon Zappa's "Valley Girl" (1982), in which the latter intones "He was, like, freaking me out."

^

 

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Comments (10)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 06/09/2013
"this is my happening and it freaks me out"

See: http://youtu.be/_9qo8XWz4co, watch the whole scene or skip straight to about the 3:30 mark onwards.

Dan
dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 10/01/2016
I've discovered the phrase "Odeon sky" in the work of Welsh poet Dannie Abse:


And between films, when the organ suddenly rose triumphantly from the pit, it changed its colours just like the sky was slowly doing now - the Odeon sky. Amber, pink, green, mauve.


See my post on the FOF: http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=40864&view=findpost&p=22543499
bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 19/01/2016
Top notch work!
dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 04/05/2016
Brix Smith-Start's autobiography, The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise has a section on the genesis of this song in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which Brix describes has "my favourite" Russ Meyer film:


In the middle of the song... I speak a line directly lifted from the movie. It's a tribute to the inspirational effect the movie had on me. I also meant it as a subtle link for the the listener to connect the visual images from the film to my personal fantasies of LA and what it meant to me... It's a quote from the character Z-Man Barzell who screams it after freaking out on acid, tripping at his own party, at which the Strawberry Alarm Clock are playing 'Incense and Peppermints' live. This is also why 'Incense and Peppermints became the first song I recorded for The Adult Net....

...Mark's parts in 'LA' - 'White snow, scum-ball' - came from William Shatner's character in the cheesy cop show T.J. Hooker. He was busting a cocaine ring.

A line of Mark''s I really love is, 'Uncanny bushes are in disagreement with the heat.' To me these are some of Mark's most brilliant lyrics. In LA it gets so hot, you can almost hear the bushes complain.
dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 07/05/2016
Also according to Brix, in her book:


'LA' is a love song to my city... I was very, very homesick, and I wanted to try to capture the feeling I had for LA in a song.
bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt | 24/06/2016
Is this why you were watching TJ Hooker, Dan? I can't remember. Anyway, THAT is dedication!
Doctoro
  • 7. Doctoro | 28/04/2019
Similarities to Frank and Moon Zappa's Valley Girl of 1982, 'He was, like, freaking me out.'
bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
Interesting, it does seem to sort of echo "Valley Girl"
dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 19/12/2019
From the Vancouver Sun, 20th May 1988:

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/thefall/gigography-notes-and-queries-t41461-s244.html


The couple collaborated to write L.A., with Brix coming up with the music (trying to "capture what it feels like to be in L.A... the seedy parts of Hollywood, the hypnotic sun on the beach") and Mark throwing in lyrics inspired by everyone's favorite William Shatner show, T.J. Hooker.

"Some of the things he says are pure poetry," says Mark. "There's a line in the song that I use where he gets hold of this drug dealer and says 'you have filled the boulevards with white snow, scumball!" Brilliant."
Blaine
  • 10. Blaine | 28/08/2020
I don't know 'bout the helicopter bit, but-- If you've the older stretches of the LA freeway system, then you've heard the opening to this (awesome cut). The older parts of the freeway network were created with lengths of concrete slabs constructed with asphalt seems. That "shuck, shuck, shuck,-" IS the sound-track of the LA freeway!

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