Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cover of the Week – Better Than Ezra "Conjuncton Junction"

Let's have a quick show of hands out there on the Internet.

How did you remember certain things as a kid? Like the preamble to the Constitution. Multiples of three. And what a noun exactly was.

Chances are, if you grew up in the 70s, you all cited the same source: Schoolhouse Rock!, those interstitional animated shorts that ABC put between its cartoons every Saturday morning.

The brainchild of an advertising executive whose young son was having difficulty memorizing things in school, the snippets began airing in 1973 – and ran solidly for 13 years, then off and on for the next couple of decades.

Yeah, I know. You're already humming the refrain from "I'm Just a Bill."

Anyway in 1996, 23 years after the series originally aired, some of the series' first generation of fans had their turn with the compilation album Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks. Among the highlights: Blind Melon singing "Three is the Magic Number," Pavement contributing "No More Kings" and Ween performing "The Shot Heard 'Round the World."

Plus this cover of a song that seems to always land at the top of everyone's list of favorite songs from the show.

Play "Conjunction Junction" by Better Than Ezra

I'll leave you with this bit of trivia. Lynn Ahrens was a secretary at the advertising company, McCaffrey & McCall, when she began writing songs and singing them for the show. Among the songs that she sang; "Interplanet Janet," "No More Kings" and "A Noun Is A Person, Place Or Thing." Today, she is one of Broadway's most successful composers, teaming with Stephen Flaherty to pen the music and lyrics for Ragtime (1998), Once on This Island (1990), Seussical (2000) and the animated film Anastasia (1997).

Ahrens didn't write the series best-known song, "I'm Just a Bill," but I'll leave you with a clip of this parody from The Simpsons.

Play "The Amendment Song" by The Simpsons

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