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ROBERT HILBURN

'1987 Green Book' Offers Trivia for the Music Junkie : If You Think You Know All About Music Then 'Green Book' Trivia Is for You

October 31, 1987|ROBERT HILBURN

Think you know a lot about song titles?

Here's a quiz:

1--In honor of Halloween, name 10 songs about monsters, besides "Monster Mash."

2--What color appears in most song titles? Red, white, black, blue or green?

3--Are there more songs about Los Angeles, New York, Chicago or New Orleans?

4--More about California or Texas?

5--What day of the week is saluted most by songwriters: Saturday, Sunday or Monday?

6-Are there more songs about mothers or fathers, weddings or divorces, dogs or cats?

The answers to these and dozens of other potential trivia questions is found in "The 1987 Green Book," a 400-page research volume compiled by Jeff Green and published in large-size paperback by his own Professional Desk References company. It is available by mail for $43, including postage, through PDR, 108 Partridge Court, Smyrna, Tenn., 37167.

Green, 33, a former managing editor of the Los Angeles-based Radio & Records trade publication, is a self-confessed "music junkie" who spent eight years dividing 15,000 song titles (both hit singles and tracks on well-known albums) into 450 categories.

"It seemed that the industry needed a practical, time-saving reference like this and I was surprised when I realized that no one had already done it," said Green, who is now a marketing director for Film House Inc., a Nashville-based company that creates TV commercials promoting radio stations.

The subject you won't find in Green's book is love, by far the most common theme in pop music. "It's just too massive a category to wedge into one book," he said Friday.

The answers:

1--Here are some of the monster songs cited by Green: "Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati" (recorded by Possum and found on a Dr. Demento collection), "Creature From the Black Lagoon" (Dave Edmunds), "Eggplant That Ate Chicago" (Norman Greenbaum), "Frankenstein" (Edgar Winter Group), "Godzilla Stomp" (Wedge), "Monster Surfing Time" (Halibuts), "Purple People Eater" (Sheb Wooley), "Return of the Giant Hogweed" (Genesis), "Scary Monsters" (David Bowie), "Werewolves of London" (Warren Zevon).

2--A man named Green may have compiled the lists, but blue is the most popular color among songwriters (106 songs), followed by black (86), red (50), white (43) and green (33). Bonus color quiz: Name two songs that have blue in the title twice. Answers: "Blue on Blue" (a Bobby Vinton hit in 1963) and "Bluer Than Blue" (a Michael Johnson single in 1978).

3--Limiting the competition to songs that mention the name of the city (not those that refer to related locales such as Broadway or Hollywood), New York wins over Los Angeles 33 to 28. New Orleans follows with 15.

4--Texas, thanks to its frequent appearance in country songs, tops California 57 to 46. Among the Texas titles: "Deep in the Heart of Texas," "I Wish I Was in Texas" and "Texas in My Rear View Mirror."

5--Sunday (44 song titles) out-registers Saturday (33) and Monday (27).

6--Fathers are mentioned more in song titles than mothers, 72 to 53. Weddings are far more popular with songwriters than divorce (78 to 24), dogs outnumber cats in song titles, 49 to 22.

COODER/D'ARBY: You knew it was going to be a special evening at the Palace on Thursday when the man who pulled a raffle ticket from the fishbowl was Elvis Costello. (That was part of the fund-raising for No Oil, the organization that was the beneficiary of the first half of the evening.) Ry Cooder began the music with another one of his celebrations of our Southern and Southwestern musical heritage--songs that fuse country, blues, gospel and rock influences into a timeless, yet topical and cleansing musical vision.

Backed by an all-star band that included drummer Jim Keltner and keyboardist Van Dyke Parks, Cooder previewed tunes from his new "Get Rhythm" album and was joined midway through the set by Harry Dean Stanton on a duet of "Across the Borderline" and for a number from Cooder's "Paris, Texas" score.

But Cooder was just half of the evening. The late show--a separate admission--was Terence Trent D'Arby, the American singer and songwriter who has become a major star in England and appears well on his way to duplicating that success here. D'Arby, who on his debut album displays a vocal fluidity and character reminiscent of Sam Cooke, is even more commanding live, where his more biting vocals and passionate manner give him the most electrifying promise of any male artist since Prince.

D'Arby's eventual place in rock will depend on his growth as a writer, but he conveys an almost frighteningly determined aura. When he ended his show shortly after 1 a.m. with a combustible version of the Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash," he stared out at the audience with an I'm-on-my-way intensity that would have stopped Mick Jagger in his tracks.

LIVE ACTION: The Replacements will be at the Hollywood Palladium on Dec. 3 with Concrete Blonde, while the Jesus and Mary Chain will be there the following night with Social Distortion. . . . Jerry Garcia headlines the Wiltern Theatre on Dec. 3 for three nights. Tickets go on sale Monday. . . . Chicago, Michael McDonald and Belinda Carlisle will perform in a benefit concert Nov. 24 at the Universal Amphitheatre. The evening is sponsored by Californians Working Together to End Hunger and Homelessness. Tickets go on sale Sunday. . . . Tickets also go on sale Sunday for two other Universal shows: the Winans on Nov. 25 and Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Dec. 9. . . . Waylon Jennings will be at the Crazy Horse in Santa Ana for "solo" shows Nov. 23 and 24.

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