5/12/10

Bad Songs #5: "Who Are Parents?" by The Shaggs


I guess if it weren't for a few well known musicians like Kurt Cobaine and Frank Zappa proclaiming their love for The Shaggs, you wouldn't be reading this post right now.  They would've been lost to the sands of time like so many other unknown acts of their era.

I have to believe the "respect" given to The Shaggs is more akin to the "respect" given to someone like Ed Wood, Jr.  Their creative product is so overwhelmingly bad that it becomes endearing. 

I don't own their 1969 album, Philosophy of the World, so we'll use the mp3 provided by the wonderful music blog The Rising Storm.  The song is called "Who Are Parents?".  Enjoy.

13 comments:

  1. Dear oh dear.
    I wasn't expecting that :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. What the heck were they named after? Shag carpeting or the other meaning for shag?

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Shaggs - "Philosophy Of The World" is a strange strange and quite awkward record. No, it's not the kind of album you put on for a particularly "good" vibe. Though I get a kick out of The Shaggs in the same way I get a kick out of seeing an unflattering but funny photograph of my friends and I as teenagers.

    If you don't know The Shaggs story, basically their father bought them instruments, told them to make a band. He wanted his daughters to be the new superstar family rock group and make million$. Not really grasping the concept of the time it takes learning to play instruments and write songs, their father booked studio time after only 6 weeks practice.... I think thats what it says in the liner notes. So this is what you get and it's honest.

    When I play The Shaggs for people, I usually say its the sound of child abuse. Though I remember visiting the Smithsonian Museum and in one of the shops had "Philosophy Of The World" on display as part of American Heritage music. It made me smile.

    Of the orig first pressing of I guess 800 records, about 600 were destroyed or discarded. One of the ones that survived fetched nearly $1000 on eBay a few years back.

    ReplyDelete
  4. No, I wasn't familiar with their story. Thanks for the comment - very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, I'm not words can express just how awful that really it. Wow. That was bad. And I've heard some bad stuff in my time. Wow. Just horrible. Ruined my day.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love me some Shaggs...used to listen to them all the time. This might explain the terrible headaches I get these days.
    -Billy

    ReplyDelete
  7. To me the Shags are just so bad that they're good! I wonder if The Beat Happening took some of the Shags music as inspiration?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm sorry, but that was so bad. I couldn't even listen to more than a minute of it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I thought there was a problem with my Windows Media Player, but, no, that's apparently how they really sound! Bewildering.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I went on a trip to New York from Massachusetts and the driver played that album the whole way there. It was Awful.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That's just wrong, hellzapoppin. Does this driver have a grudge against you?

    ReplyDelete
  12. YibbleGuyMay 14, 2010

    Gilligan,

    Thanks for the tip about The Rising Storm blog! I've been having a great time over there clicking "Random Album" after "Random Album." It's a real treasure trove ....

    ReplyDelete
  13. 2/4/11
    RobGem.ca wrote:
    Yes, the Shaggs were amatereushly bad, but they wouldn't be in the annals of history today if it wern't for one musician who discovered them in the mid-70's after two albums (The 2nd one was from 1975, & was titled "The Shaggs Own Thing"): NRBQ's Terry Adams, who not only loved & respected the albums like Zappa & Cobain, but also re-issued them in the 1980's (On his Red Rooster Label)to a whole new generation of music fans to blow their minds (and ears, as well as their wallets)on weird stuff like this. Originally issued in 1969 on the long-defunct Third World label of Massachussetts by their father, Austin Wiggin,the sounds of the Wiggin Sisters, Dorothy, Betty, & Helen will never to be forgotten, as long as weirdos like Adams keeps re-issuing them to people who like or loathe such ear-splitting sounds. I do have to admit that future female punk singers like Germany's Nina Hagen, X's Exene Cervenka, & Siouxxie & the Banishees' lead singer must have either heard this album early in their lives, or at least, must have been slightly influenced by it. One thing is for sure, they sure as hell won't dress in those mini-skirts if their reputations would have depended on them, unless they would do it for parodic or anti-straight reasons.

    ReplyDelete