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  #1  
Old 03-29-2000, 07:19 AM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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Tropic of Sir Gallahad

This lyric, from an oldie by "America" has always bugged me. What does this mean?
"The Tropic of Sir Gallahad"? {I understand "Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't already have..."}

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"They're coming to take me away ha-ha, ho-ho, hee-hee, to the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time... " - Napoleon IV
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Old 03-29-2000, 08:23 AM
Rysdad Rysdad is offline
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Don't expect anything from the band America to make sense. They also talk about "alligator lizards in the air" and "the ocean is a desert with its life underground."

They also spewed this gem: "And there ain't no-one for to give you no pain."

Pfui. They sucked then; they suck now, and forever shall they suck. The only thing good about them is that they finally had the decency to go away! Now, if that twit Steve Miller would only do the same...
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Old 03-29-2000, 10:25 AM
Guy Propski Guy Propski is offline
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Bad news, Rysdad--they didn't go away. America reformed several years ago, released a new album, and are currently on tour.

Jinx, you got me. The full line is:
And Cause never was the reason for the evening
Or the tropic of Sir Galahad.

The closest I can come is that "tropic" is used for one of its more obscure meanings--moving (as in phototropic, "moving towards light"). So Cause (who or whatever that is) was no excuse for Sir Galahad to move. Or something.

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It's my duty; my duty as a complete and utter bastard.--Arnold J. Rimmer.
  #4  
Old 03-29-2000, 10:33 AM
Rysdad Rysdad is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Guy Propski:
Bad news, Rysdad--they didn't go away. America reformed several years ago, released a new album, and are currently on tour.
This must not be! No! Jesus H. Tonedeaf, what's next, a Boyce & Hart, America and 1910 Fruitgum Company Crapapalooza Tour?
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Old 03-29-2000, 11:58 AM
Guy Propski Guy Propski is offline
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1910 Fruitgum Factory is, hands down, my favorite dumb name for a musical group. Thanks, Mystery Science Theatre 3000!

Hey, if the Monkees can get back together for a tour, anything is possible.
  #6  
Old 03-29-2000, 02:12 PM
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OK, what you got against Steve Miller Band?
...beyond the egotism in the "The Joker"?

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"They're coming to take me away ha-ha, ho-ho, hee-hee, to the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time... " - Napoleon IV
  #7  
Old 03-29-2000, 08:28 PM
Rysdad Rysdad is offline
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Steve Miller: "Billy Joe is a detective down in Texas. You know he knows just exactly what the facts is."

::cringe::

I hate that fucker.
  #8  
Old 03-29-2000, 08:30 PM
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I may have gotten the detective's name wrong, but the sentiment still applies.
  #9  
Old 03-29-2000, 10:04 PM
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I thought it was "the TOPIC of Sir Galahad". Still don't know what they mean...something about purity and achievement of goals?

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  #10  
Old 03-29-2000, 11:50 PM
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It's "tropic". We talked about this exact question in MPSIMS some time ago and I answered pretty definitively that it doesn't mean a thing. They just thought it sounded purty. I'd find the link to the thread, but I'm really, really lazy.

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  #11  
Old 03-30-2000, 12:58 AM
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I always interpreted that, and most of the rest of the song, to mean "the lyricist is under the effects of a Controlled Substance, or at least wants to sound as if he were."
  #12  
Old 03-30-2000, 02:07 AM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Making up nonsense sentences because they sound good isn't much different than, "Shh Boom Shh Boom... Falalalalalala Shh Boom Sh Boom..."

Then there was "Hooked on a Feeling", which was a minor hit when it first came out, but a monster when it came out in a version almost identical, with the addition of a bunch of guys going, "OOGAH CHAKA OOGAH OOGAH!"
  #13  
Old 03-30-2000, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dhanson:
Then there was "Hooked on a Feeling", which was a minor hit when it first came out, but a monster when it came out in a version almost identical, with the addition of a bunch of guys going, "OOGAH CHAKA OOGAH OOGAH!"
Back in '87 and '91, a local radio station used the 'oogah chaka' part of that song to "voodooize" the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves. It worked. The Twins won the World Series both years.
  #14  
Old 03-30-2000, 08:02 AM
Robbespiere Robbespiere is offline
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In a lot of music from the Beatles era to the present the lyrics are either nonsensical or incomprehensible. Many of the fans do not even know what the "artists" are singing. I always thought that such music was allowed to be widely disemminated because it is safe-it has no political or social content to give unpalatable ideas to rebellious youth.


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  #15  
Old 03-30-2000, 09:48 AM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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Oh great, y'all. Now, having read this thread from top to bottom, I have a mental picture of the dancing baby in a dies-galon sombrero dancing to America singing Horse With No Name while Sir Galahad sips Margaritas on a beach in the tropics...


And I used to think being caught up in Sesame Street songs was bad...
  #16  
Old 03-30-2000, 11:38 AM
tanstaafl tanstaafl is offline
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Quote:
And Cause never was the reason for the evening
Or the tropic of Sir Galahad.
I always heard that as:
And cause never was the reason for leaving,
for the tropic of Sir Galahad

Still don't know what it means though....

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  #17  
Old 03-30-2000, 04:22 PM
Rysdad Rysdad is offline
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The line I quoted was from "Take The Money And Run," one of S. Miller's songs.

I know he's not the only, ahem, artist to use poor grammar, but his use of lousy lyrics is worse than most.

The aforementioned song reads as if it was written by a poorly-schooled seventh grader.
  #18  
Old 03-30-2000, 04:33 PM
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Originally posted by Jinx:
Quote:
OK, what you got against Steve Miller Band? ...beyond the egotism in the "The Joker"?
Well, there is that line about "The pompatus of love."

There there's accusations he ripped off - I mean, was heavily influenced by a lot of other artists.
  #19  
Old 03-30-2000, 04:34 PM
Mr.Zambezi Mr.Zambezi is offline
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Not to mention that Miller ripped off several songs and later refused to give vcredit to the original artists. Very bad form.
  #20  
Old 03-30-2000, 04:37 PM
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Just to complete the hijack, Billy Joe was not the sheriff. He was the one who shot a man while robbing his castle. Billy Mack is the one who makes his livin' off of the people's taxes.

And thank you very much for dooming me to hearing that song in my head till the thread dies and I donít have to read it anymore.


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is on April 15th. Do you have what it takes?
  #21  
Old 03-30-2000, 06:27 PM
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The lady who wrote "Do Ron Ron" also said she couldn't think of any words and "Do Ron Ron" came to mind and it sounded catchy. Thus the whole story.
  #22  
Old 03-31-2000, 12:31 AM
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Here's the MPSIMS thread. http://boards.straightdope.com/ubb/F...ML/005643.html Not that it's any help at all.
  #23  
Old 03-31-2000, 12:34 AM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rysdad:
Steve Miller: "Billy Joe is a detective down in Texas. You know he knows just exactly what the facts is."
::cringe::
1. If you're cringing at the poor grammar, don't act like he's the first artist to do so! And, I ain't referring to artsists' usage of "ain't"!

2. You imply these lyrics refer to some specific incident...do they? Please enlighten!



------------------
"They're coming to take me away ha-ha, ho-ho, hee-hee, to the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time... " - Napoleon IV
  #24  
Old 04-01-2000, 03:17 AM
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quote:

=====

1910 Fruitgum Factory is, hands down, my favorite dumb name for a musical group.

=====

I've always been partial to Strawberry Alarmclock. Or was it Raspberry? Damn, I've GOT to get to sleep!



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"The dawn of a new era is felt and not measured." Walter Lord
  #25  
Old 04-01-2000, 06:48 AM
Rysdad Rysdad is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Beruang:
quote:
I've always been partial to Strawberry Alarmclock. Or was it Raspberry? Damn, I've GOT to get to sleep!
It was Strawberry. Just a side note...the first concert I ever went to was a triple-header. Get this, the three bands were: Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Hollies and Wilson Pickett.

Eclecticism in action. Today, going to the same concert would earn you at least a dozen "diversity points."
  #26  
Old 04-01-2000, 07:38 AM
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Just to complete the hijack, Billy Joe was not the sheriff. He was the one who shot a man while robbing his castle.


I thought he was the one who jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.
  #27  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:53 AM
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Tropic of Sir Galahad

It's a book "The Tropic of Sir Galahad", like a Dan Brown's book, but explores the misteries of a third tropic.
  #28  
Old 09-17-2011, 12:34 PM
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  #29  
Old 09-17-2011, 02:59 PM
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"Maybe it's the time of year, maybe it's the time of man..."
My money's on time of year.
  #30  
Old 09-17-2011, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rysdad View Post
Don't expect anything from the band America to make sense.

<snip>

"the ocean is a desert with its life underground."
I don't know if they meant it this way, but the ocean is a vast empty area with all its life beneath the surface; "underground".
  #31  
Old 09-17-2011, 03:44 PM
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Don't expect anything from the band America to make sense. They also talk about "alligator lizards in the air" and "the ocean is a desert with its life underground."
Alligator lizard. They're known to jump from branch to branch. I always looked at America as the quintessential California sound of the day, with its laid back lyrics and rhythms.

Last edited by Chefguy; 09-17-2011 at 03:44 PM.
  #32  
Old 09-17-2011, 03:50 PM
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"I've been through the desert on a horse with no name.."
Horse, heroin? Is the drug reference too obvious or what?

"In the desert, you can't remember your name,
cuz there aint no one for to give you no pain..."
Sounds like the usual results for using horse with no name.
  #33  
Old 09-17-2011, 06:53 PM
Rysdad Rysdad is offline
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Oh, Christ. It's back.

And, it seems that you CAN remember your name in the desert 'cause there ain't no-one for to give you no pain.

Except maybe those flying alligator lizards.

And underground life in the ocean.

And, although the cities have a heart made of ground (as opposed to...?), the humans don't love it.

Or something.

Last edited by Rysdad; 09-17-2011 at 06:53 PM.
  #34  
Old 09-17-2011, 07:29 PM
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Pfui. They sucked then; they suck now, and forever shall they suck. The only thing good about them is that they finally had the decency to go away! Now, if that twit Steve Miller would only do the same...
Thank you! I can't tell you how much I loathe this band and every single song they made. No reason (other than too... dopey, too...strummy) I can elucidate. I just HATE them.

But what was wrong with the Monkees getting back together for an old-age tour? I'd a paid good money for that, they put out part of the soundtrack of my long gone youth.
  #35  
Old 09-17-2011, 08:47 PM
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Alligator lizard. They're known to jump from branch to branch. I always looked at America as the quintessential California sound of the day, with its laid back lyrics and rhythms.
Yes. I grew up in SoCal in the 1970s and Dad played America a lot (Mom was a Steve Miller Band fan, too). So, I too think of them in laid back Southern California themes.

As for alligator lizards, I remember trying to catch them as a kid and ending up with nothing but a tail in hand. They do jump pretty good. Mom doesn't like it when you bring the tail home, but the feral cats are quite happy to take care of them for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rysdad View Post
And, although the cities have a heart made of ground (as opposed to...?), the humans don't love it.

Or something.
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground but the humans will give no love.

Take a walk through a city sometime and notice all the asphalt and concrete. Underneath it all is earth, but humans will never cultivate that earth (love it) because it's been buried in concrete. At least that's the way I interpret that passage.

It's not the most profound poetry in the world, but it's pop/rock. How is it any different than surrealist art?

Last edited by Brown Eyed Girl; 09-17-2011 at 08:50 PM.
  #36  
Old 09-17-2011, 09:25 PM
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And, it seems that you CAN remember your name in the desert 'cause there ain't no-one for to give you no pain.
And "the heat was hot".
  #37  
Old 09-17-2011, 10:35 PM
Cartooniverse Cartooniverse is online now
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Quote:
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Don't expect anything from the band America to make sense. They also talk about "alligator lizards in the air" and "the ocean is a desert with its life underground."

They also spewed this gem: "And there ain't no-one for to give you no pain."

Pfui. They sucked then; they suck now, and forever shall they suck. The only thing good about them is that they finally had the decency to go away! Now, if that twit Steve Miller would only do the same...
Meh. People make things up. In some quarters it's considered Creative !!

For example, when queried about the lyric from "Miami 2017 ( Seen the lights go out on Broadway ) that goes " Before the Mafia took over Mexico", Billy Joel said, Hey, I made it up. No huge message. It just sounded cool.
  #38  
Old 09-18-2011, 12:02 AM
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In the lyrics department, America was no Zager & Evans, but in the department of sheer 70s hipster coolness, they are unbeatable...watch this clip of them in the studio and dig the little post-tuning riff on the Ovation guitar and the mysterious search for a cigarette. I spent most of 2007 and about half of 2008 trying very hard to look and act like that guy.
  #39  
Old 09-18-2011, 11:39 AM
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Cafe Society fodder. Moved.

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  #40  
Old 09-18-2011, 11:44 AM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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And "the heat was hot".
Okay, what was the heat then? Cold?
  #41  
Old 09-18-2011, 11:48 AM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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And "the heat was hot".
dupe

Last edited by pseudotriton ruber ruber; 09-18-2011 at 11:49 AM.
  #42  
Old 09-18-2011, 11:59 AM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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Thank you! I can't tell you how much I loathe this band and every single song they made. No reason (other than too... dopey, too...strummy) I can elucidate. I just HATE them.

But what was wrong with the Monkees getting back together for an old-age tour? I'd a paid good money for that, they put out part of the soundtrack of my long gone youth.
I sometimes thought America was a Neil Young ripoff band. Mostly, I avoided thinking about them at all.

At the time, the Monkees were considered unhip & too commercial by us hipsters. Now, their stuff sounds pretty good. (Much better than America.) Some of the LA sessions cats who played on their first album also helped some of the "hip" bands sound like real musicians....
  #43  
Old 09-18-2011, 05:21 PM
outlierrn outlierrn is offline
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When I was a kid growing up in the 70's in the general vicinity of the actual Ventura Highway it was well 'known' that alligator lizards would jump out of a tree at you.
  #44  
Old 09-18-2011, 06:51 PM
Andy L Andy L is offline
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Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
This lyric, from an oldie by "America" has always bugged me. What does this mean?
"The Tropic of Sir Gallahad"? {I understand "Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't already have..."}
"The Tropic of Cancer" and "The Tropic of Capricorn" were famous novels by Henry Miller - famous for having graphic descriptions of sex, and thus for being sought out at libraries by teenagers (like Jerry Seinfeld in one episode). Galahad, on the other hand, was legendarily chaste. So "The Tropic of Sir Galahad" is an amusing juxtaposition of "dirty" and "clean".

(that's what comes to my mind regarding the meaning of the line - no idea of whether it's true)
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:31 PM
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I think America are excellent musicians and vocalists, but really, would it have killed them to hire a lyricist?
  #46  
Old 09-19-2011, 06:29 AM
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"Maybe it's the time of year, maybe it's the time of man..."
My money's on time of year.
Is this not from Woodstock by Joni Mitchell? No obvious America reference to me.

Anyway, I remember being quite pissed off after I bought their 1st album - the UK release of it didn't have Horse with no Name on it, which was all I had heard...
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:12 AM
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Joni Mitchell wrote 'Woodstock'.

America had nothing to do with it.
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:43 PM
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This group may have the worst all-around set of lyrics for their body of work of any group, ever.
just read the lyrics to 'Horse with No Name' 'Ventura Highway', 'Tin Man". Gah. They may have been stoned, or more likely just hooked up with terribly poor writers. Songs were catchy tho.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:05 PM
Sam A. Robrin Sam A. Robrin is offline
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And "the heat was hot".
...on this ever-warming globe on which we live on.
  #50  
Old 09-19-2011, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
Originally posted by Jinx:


Well, there is that line about "The pompatus of love."

There there's accusations he ripped off - I mean, was heavily influenced by a lot of other artists.
Steve Miller Band sucked ass. They had the best intros and the worst lyrics I've ever heard. The only halfway decent tunes they did were "Fly Like An Eagle", and maybe "Keep On Rockin' Me Baby", although I suspect the musicians were drunk or high when they recorded. Or maybe not drunk or high enough.
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