Retrospace Mix Tape #18: Something Man

The history of pop music is riddled with songs defining the man. Some of the best known are:
Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top), Nowhere Man (The Beatles), Iron Man (Black Sabbath), Spoon Man (Soundgarden), Magic Man (Heart), Street Fightin' Man (Rolling Stones), Guitar Man (Bread), Piano Man (Billy Joel), Boogie Man (KC & the Sunshine Band), Macho Man (Village People), Rocket Man (Elton John), Soul Man (Sam and Dave), Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan), Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Old Man (Neil Young), Ramblin' Man (Allman Brothers), Traveling Man (Ricky Nelson), Solitary Man (Neil Diamond), Tin Man (America) and Hurdy Gurdy Man (Donovan).
However, this is Retrospace, and we like to explore the less traveled nooks and crannies of the retro-landscape.  Thus, I bring to you a heaping helping of Something Man songs gathered far, far from your weekly Top 40. They come complete with my erudite commentary on a handful of tracks, and the full mix tape can be found at the very end of this post. Enjoy!

Whiskey Man by The Who

Take it from a band that knew the dangers of fire water better than anyone. Even better, it was the sole contribution of Entwistle on the A Quick One album.... a guy who lived a life of "wine, women and song" to the bitter end. Moon gets most of the attention as being the wild child of the band, a title he certainly came by honestly.  But let's not forget Entwistle died of a cocaine fueled heart attack in the company of a prostitute... in 2002!

How amazing that a catchy little ditty like this could land such a punch? It speaks directly about getting wasted and its shitty consequences, but can't seem to decide if it's worth it or not. In one line, booze is the cause of misery and isolation, at another the singer proudly announces he and booze get on just fine.  This is an alcoholic's theme song if there ever was one.

Naked Man by The Grass Roots (1975)

I really need to do a post covering the streaking phenomenon of the seventies.  If you didn't live through it, it'll be hard for you to imagine how big it was.  Why people suddenly felt the need to parade their penises and hairy seventies bush in public places is beyond me.   Even worse than doing it, perhaps, was singing about it - I'm talking to you Ray Stevens! 

Who would've guessed the same hippie group that sang "Let's Live for Today" in 1967, would be singing about streakers in '75.  If this has some deeper subtext that I'm not comprehending, I'm just not getting it.  

And please don't remind me in a comment that the dude in the picture above is a "flasher", not a "streaker".  I don't want to hear it.

Kite Man by Three Dog Night (1975)

Sweet Lord. This is easily the highest song ever recorded.  What do I mean by "highest"? I mean this song was undoubtedly written while high, recorded while high, and produced while high. I wasn't there, but I can say with absolute conviction that no one was not stoned during any point from inception to release of this song.  In fact, I think they should have given a marijuana plant writing credits for Kite Man.  This song is what THC sounds like.

Ice Man by The Ice (1968)

When The Beatles Anglicised R&B, a wholly new art form arose which, when combined with LSD and cannabis, resulted in a creative Krakatoa, the likes of which the music industry had not seen nor will ever see again.  The cream rose to the top, but most were left buried underneath its ashes.  Decades later, we sift through the rubble and find traces of greatness once lost, but there are still more to find.  Gems like this one by The Ice remind us that the psychedelic movement was short-lived, but produced a metric fuck ton of material that we are only now getting acquainted with.

Wah Wah Man by Young-Holt Unlimited (1971)

It's funny. Despite the incredible diversity of music put out during the seventies, when you ask someone to sing/hum something from that decade, you'll often get the stereotypical "bowm chicka wah wah" porn soundtrack.  For some reason, the "wah wah" sound has been so inextricably linked to the seventies, it almost represents it as a whole! I'll admit the "wah wah" was used a lot - it was everywhere for a while. Disco used it almost without exception, game shows opened with it, Barry White made sweet love to it, and TV detectives put the smackdown on pimps and drug dealers to it. It's unfortunate that the decade ended with the world still enmeshed in the omnipresent "wah wah".
The Barbarians - Mr. Tambourine Man The Creation - Painter Man Irma Thomas - Cheater ManThe Who - Whiskey Man The 'In-Crowd' Scene - Yesterday Man Hershel Gober - Forgotten Man Neil Meryweather - Neon Man World Of Oz - Muffin Man The Grass Roots - Naked Man Three Dog Night - Kite Man Celebration - Junk Man The Ice - Ice Man Schadel - Shadow Man The Hubbels - Hippy Dippy Funky Monkey Double Bubble Sitar Man Five Americans - See-Saw-Man Manfred Mann - Driva Man Care Package - Vinegar Man Staccatos - Weather Man July - Friendly Man Young-Holt Unlimited - Wah Wah Man  


  1. *flails like Kermit* YAAAAAAY!
    Is it weird that I get super excited at these mixtape posts? XD

  2. A great song that could be added to this collection is "Someday Man" by the Monkees (with Davy Jones on lead vocals) and written by 70s mainstay Paul Williams.


  3. It would be weird if you didn't, Amanda. These mixtapes are Everlasting Happiness in a zip file

  4. Natural Man by Lou Rawls?

  5. -Plastic Man- by Ray Davies and recorded by The Kinks in 1969....

  6. Poetry Man/Phoebe Snow,Jazzman/Carole King,Handy Man/James Taylor or the original version by Jimmy Jones. Plastic Man/Sonny & Cher,Puppet Man/5th Dimension or Tom Jones,Taxman/The Beatles,Batman/The Marketts or Neal Hefti,and Muffin Man/Frank Zappa.I could go on forever. Gone is the Sad Man/Timebox,Sixty Minute Man,Union Man/Jerry Butler. Liam

  7. I've always been fond of Melancholy Man by the Moody Blues. Working Man by Rush is from 1974, so it fits this theme as well.