June 14, 2007

"I'm just grooving on drugs and the song 'A Horse With No Name.'"

Said by me, from the dentist chair this morning, under the influence of piped-in music and piped-in nitrous oxide. The dentist informs me that the "horse" in the song was heroin, and that she's always liked the song. "Ugh, I've always hated it," I say, through multiple dental instruments. "The song. And heroin."

ADDED: But I've always liked the song "Heroin."

44 comments:

Mike said...

I agree with you, Ann. That song is dreadful. Maybe on nitrous would help.

George said...

"I Wanna Be Black" by Lou Reed.

Hard to imagine a worse song than that for the dentist's office.

Unless it's his "Metal Machine Music."

Hoosier Daddy said...

What about White Rabbit? I would think that would go good with nitrous.

I still wonder how a group who comes out with that classic can later write 'We built this city on rock and roll' but I digress.

Pogo said...

Aw, c'mon. It's a sweet lil' nothin', a well-mannered copy of Neil Young.

While I can see why some would think it dreadful, and I don't own a copy, the rare whenever that it comes on the radio still reminds me of a certain summer in Omaha, just before we moved away.

Context is everything.

Bissage said...

My favorite nitrous oxide quip comes from William James: “There are no differences but differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference.”

That's good stuff.

Bissage said...

An anecdote: I was sitting in the chair ready to have four wisdom teeth removed. The doctor turned on the nitrous oxide and he and his two assistants started acting silly trying to make me laugh.

For some strange reason, this filled me with blind rage and when the doctor asked how I felt, I answered, “Like I want to punch you in the face!”

He went lunging to shut off the gas.

The rage went away almost instantly.

Weird.

Paul is a Hermit said...

Are you kidding about there being a song named Heroin?
Cocanie, I know. Blatantly sung.
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, LSD.

I guess Simon and Garfunkel did a ruse on Heroin, but nothing out-right.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Does your dentist wear black leather, ride a motorcycle and have a talent for inflicting pain?

[Does she resemble Steve Martin?]

alice said...

Yeah, playing “cause there aint no one for to give you no pain” for victims must be a little numbed tongue in cheek on the part of the dentist.

Horse with no name is “Hay, you.”

Katie said...

I prefer Sister Golden Hair for my America fix.

Kevin said...

Are you kidding about there being a song named Heroin?

Lou Reed did 'Heroin'. Great song.

John said...

Horse With No Name - lame song. Horse was a street term for heroin back then, but it wasn't used as a reference in this song. It wouldn't make any sense.

How do you get from White Rabbit to We Built This City? I loved The Airplane but it wasn't the same group after Jorma and Cassidy and Marty left. A hollow shell of their former selves.

I just happened to be listening to Bathing At Baxter's last night. Often underrated.

Ann Althouse said...

How can you not know the song "Heroin"? "I have made the big decision/I'm gonna try to nullify my life..."

Anyway, later on my nitrous trip, they played "Daniel"... I've always liked that.

Smilin' Jack said...

I'd rather listen to fingernails on a blackboard than "Horse with No Name."

Best (and first?) song about heroin: Mamas and Papas "Straight Shooter."

Roost on the Moon said...

..and all of you Jim-Jims, in this town/and all the politicians making busy sounds/and everybody putting everybody else down/and all the dead bodies piled up in mounds..."

If you don't know "Heroin", I suspect that you're a Jim-Jim.

troy99 said...

According to the America guys (I saw them at a corporate event a few years back) the "horse" referenced a Ferrari (sp?) sports car with the horse emblem on the hood.

George said...

First thing you learn is that you always got to wait...

Zeb Quinn said...

I never liked or disliked the song. It was just another of many from that era. And I don't know about the heroin reference either. But it could be. Certainly does not seem likely to be just a total coincidence out of the blue that while heroin was being called "horse," along came a rock song with inscrutable lyrics talking about a horse.

Of the people I knew who liked the song they raved about the poetry of the lyrics, particularly the imagery of this:
After nine days I let the horse run free
'Cause the desert had turned to sea
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The ocean is a desert with it's life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love

JSinger said...

ADDED: But I've always liked the song "Heroin."

That and "I'm Waiting For The Man", on the same album and the same subject, are both great songs. "A Horse With No Name", on the other hand, would be the worst part of all but the worst visits to the dentist.

Although I'm listening to Night Ranger now, so YMMV...

Bissage said...

It never occurred to me that “A Horse With No Name” was about heroin or drugs or anything at all, really, except a horse. I was pretty young back then.

But now, I’m duty bound. I’ll have to revisit all the horse songs I remember from my innocent youth and search for clues.

I might as well start with this one.

Heh.

Jennifer said...

I think I could love just about any song (even A Horse With No Name) on a nitrous trip. My wisdom teeth removal experience taught me that I love everyone and everything with the help of nitrous.

jane said...

My impacted wisdom teeth removal experience taught me to love a very cute oral surgeon who gave me more physicals than were required for the college admission forms I asked his help with.

This horse song is definitely subversive.

Mark Daniels said...

The guys from America who composed and recorded this song have always insisted that it wasn't about heroin.

I believe them. The song was apparently based on things that the lead singer saw on a trip to America.

I remember once reading a 'Rolling Stone' interview with Neil Young. He said that when his dad heard 'A Horse with No Name' on the radio, he immediately called Neil to congratulate him on the new single, which he loved. Young had to tell his father that he was mistaken.

I remember another interview that also appeared in Rolling Stone back in the 70s. It was with the guys from America. One of them said that, 'I Need You' was to have been their first single. But it had been around a long time nad before they completed their first LP, the band was sick of it. So, they switched to 'A Horse with No Name.'

It's sort of ironic that this was the band's first single. In it, of course, the lead singer sounds like Neil Young. Yet, America much more often tried to rip off the sound of the Beatles. Beatles producer George Martin even produced three or four of their albums.

I liked a few America tracks over the years. But 'Horse" wasn't one of them. I can think of a lot of songs other than 'A Horse with No Name' that I'd like to hear while being put under by the dentist. But you can be thankful, Ann, that it wasn't something like 'YMCA.'

Mark Daniels

knoxwhirled said...

"Horse with no Name" makes me feel yucky and depressed, as well as every single Dan Fogleberg song I've ever heard. For some reason I always associate them in my head. ugh, it's that 70s stuff.

Pogo said...

The beginning of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries and a curious expression on the dentist's face as he muttered "I love the smell of amalgam in the morning." would be my last choice, personally.

Pogo said...

P.S. If offered, choose fentanyl over nitrous oxide.

You'll thank me.
You'll thank everyone that day, probably.



(however...
"The anesthetic fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine; a user can become addicted in six months.")

Tim said...

"But I've always liked the song "Heroin."

That's all right, but I'll take JJ Cale's version of "Cocaine" - much better than Clapton's.

bill said...

"Ugh, I've always hated it," I say...

Like we tell our daughter, can't say you don't like something unless you've tried it.

bill said...

Happiness is a warm gun may or may not be about heroin.

L. Ron Halfelven said...

Horse was a street term for heroin back then, but it wasn't used as a reference in this song. It wouldn't make any sense.

That would be a strange departure for an America lyric, wouldn't it?

Superdad said...

I guess I am alone here - but I love that song. I truely love it. But I also like "We Built This City on Rock n' Roll" so obvioulsy my taste sucks ...

TMink said...

I would NEED nitrous if forced to listen to Horse With No Name and Daniel. I like other tunes by both artists, but those strike me as shlock.

When I had my knee MRI, they gave me the choice of several satelite radio stations. I chose deep album cuts, but they gave me some weird alt-noise stuff that was worse than the clanging of the machine.

I flagged the nurse and they changed it to the right station, but all I got was Hey You by Pink Floyd and stuff. So much for deep cuts. I was hoping for something that I did not know the words too, but the Floyd sure beat click whir music to drown out click whir MRI.

Trey

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cedarford said...

America is one of the better old 70s bands. Before my "time", but better than most 80s stuff.

I also am in the rare category that liked the song (just me, the ballad liker) and agree your dentist is out to lunch (aren't they all?) - the lyrics make know sense if horse symbolizes heroin.

I also like Tull and the pre-disco Beegees and King Crimson from that Era.

Chip Ahoy said...

This is an amusing post.

I like to sing along with both songs; Horse W/no Name and Daniel (especially the one Wilson sings on Two Rooms).

I never heard of Heroine song or Cocaine song, you fiends.

JimM47 said...

"I've always hated it: The song. And heroin."

Is no one going to comment on the fact that Althouse's phrasing is pregnant with the idea that whenever she used heroin she always hated it? Leave no slightly amusing piece of minutia untouched, people. :)

Peter Palladas said...

"Let me tell you about a man I knew who rode the depth and the breadth of China..."

Jefferson Starship, often under-rated for very good reasons, but not in this case.

"We built etc..." No one from original Jefferson Anything was playing with Starship by then, so they are excused.

And don't you just hate it when people call New Riders of the Purple Sage a 'Grateful Dead spin-off band'?

And Country Joe and the Fish were playing in the park high on some new wonder drug, when the heat busted the place with teargas. The gas reacted with the drug and they were all paralysed on stage for six hours after everyone had gone home. No one noticed they were still there, except my friend Mark who thought they were still playing. Bless.

So it goes.

The things you think of when having your teeth out.

lee david said...

In the mid-seventies when America would tour, Horse with no name would be the encore. People had been yelling their requests for the song througout the whole show. The band really hated the song by that time and Dewey would walk up to the mic. after coming back on stage and say ok, ok, "I guess it's time to drag out the nag". The bic lighters would go off and the stage lights would come up for one more performance of that insipid tune that had launced that mediocre band.

Paul is a Hermit said...

Thanks, Kevin.
Ann, I had this, Rip Van Winkle period of life, it seems.

Ann Althouse said...

Having your big hit as the encore is kind of a lame thing to do. I saw Steppenwolf in the 70s, and they did the whole concert without playing "Born to Be Wild." Then they did that for an encore. That doesn't work right. You feel like it can't be over because they haven't played that yet. Then they stop, and you're really disappointed. But whether you applaud enthusiastically or not, they have to come back out.

Doug said...

After eating way too many enchiladas last night, I took a rest on the couch and watched VH1's 40 best wimp rock classics. Horse with no name was on the list. They said some stations wouldnt' play it because of the alleged heroin reference. My favorite wimp rock classic, "Different Drum", didn't make the list.

The Velvet Underground's Heroin is one of the all time classic songs. Like some of the Beatles and Pink Floyd's songs, listening to it, even in a stone sober state, can make you feel like you are on nitrous at times.

Doug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Old RPM Daddy said...

Gotta be careful with the old Velvet Underground stuff; I dig it, but sometimes it makes me feel weird.

Reference Ann Althouse's comment at 6:27 AM: I sat through an entire Kinks concert in 1984 and didn't get to hear "You Really Got Me" until the final encore (though they did play "Lola" in one of the main sets.

Peter Palladas said...

"I saw Steppenwolf in the 70s..."

My Lord, where is this taking us?

Next it will be.......

"So we ended up at this wow free festival somewhere in Windsor Park and no one knew who was supposed to be playing but every third guy claimed to be the bass player with Hawkwind and probably was and then these two guys turned up in a jeep and played 'Dark Star' on a big stereo until someone said David Bowie was in the next wood and so we went to find him but never did. I've not seen Frank since that day, but I heard he was cool somewhere in Alberta with some horses."

;-)