Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
“The Devil Went Down To Georgia”
The Charlie Daniels Band (1979)
The Devil went down to Georgia… actually, he flew down on Delta on Labor Day from Belmar, New Jersey where he had just enjoyed a summer half-share. He was actually 45 minutes late for his fiddle showdown; having never flown into the Atlanta airport before, he rode that train back and forth for 25 minutes before he found baggage claim. The Devil had to wholeheartedly support a poultry salesman from Arkansas who pleaded: “Jesus Christ, where’s the baggage claim?!”
I’m sure you know the story told in the song. The Devil jumps up on a hickory stump and challenges “Johnny” to a fiddle-off. The Devil goes first, and, backed by a band of demons playing funk guitars, does quite well considering that his fiddle is out of tune. Hitler, who had been given the relatively simple task of re-stringing the instrument, had once again failed miserably. Never one to make excuses or blame his subordinates, the Devil gamely went forward with the challenge. Smug Johnny, however, is “the best there’s ever been” and easily wins the fiddle of gold and saves his soul.
Although the Devil graciously acknowledges his defeat, Johnny calls him a son-of-a-bitch, confirming a suspicion the Devil has had for hundreds of years that Southern Hospitality is a myth.
Following his humiliating loss, the Devil retreated to South Beach and now spins disks at Mansion under the avatar “Lucifer.” Getting the last laugh, he hits on attractive 25-year-olds from Syosset in Redroom at Skybar while Johnny futilely waits at the hickory stump for a Julliard Grad to happen to pass by so he can kick her ass at fiddling.
Charlie Daniels sports the largest belt buckle in the history of the world.
“A Girl Like You”
Edwyn Collins (1995)
This song is that unique One Hit Wonder embraced by both the general public and medieval scholars (because of its reference to “days of yore”). The girl, unlike any other the singer had ever known, somehow makes him “acknowledge the Devil in me.” This frightens the singer and leads him to “hope to God I’m talking metaphorically; I hope that I’m talking allegorically.”
I can conclusively confirm that the Devil was not literally inside this guy; the Devil has far better things to do, including devoting 2 hours each day to the “Quick Pickin’, Fun Strummin’ Home Guitar Course,” to waste time interfering with this singer’s misguided relationship with his insecure, dominatrix girlfriend.
Putting the unfair portrayal aside, I do applaud the song for its use of the words “metaphorically” and “allegorically” to promote flowery language in popular culture. At the time, linguists everywhere exclaimed: “Fuckin’ A. We finally broke the Top 40!” (Their previous highest charter had been a Top 100 alliteration-laden novelty song that Casey Kasem found witty).
ONB Bonus Trivia
The Devil actually played the digital synthesizer on the demo track for this song but his part was dumped during post-production by producer Jimmy Iovine as too “tinny-sounding.”