I am not a fan of American football, nor do I know much about Johnny Unitas. The only thing I know about him is that he’s a significant figure in American football history, and oddly, that I can connect him musically and loop the connection back by a mere six degrees. Since it’ll be an interesting mix, I thought I’d give it a go for this week’s Friday list.
Since this’ll be a nicely looped six degrees – I’ll start with a song that’s directly related to our dear old football hero and bring it back with another song I can link up.
1. The Kingdom – I Am Constellation
The Kingdom’s first EP was a concept album which was all about, you guessed it – Johnny Unitas. Their EP, aptly called Unitas, has this lovely song called I Am Constellation, which is meant to be an ode to the cosmic deity that is Johnny Unitas. No mention of Johnny at all here – but you’ll get that it’s him since the whole album says it so.
The Kingdom followed up with another concept album which was about racing. Their full length album entitled K1, had songs that had titles like Driver, Motorcading and Motorcycling – which is also the subject of our next song in the list.
2. The Rumble Strips – Motorcycle
To appreciate this song fully, you’ll need to watch the band’s music video which shows frontman Charlie Waller, riding around in his bicycle, while singing about his desire for a motorcycle.
The Rumble Strips, had their first few tracks released by independent record label – Transgressive Records. Transgressive is also famous for releasing albums for other indie music acts like Iron and Wine, The Shins and UK dance punk/math rock band – Foals.
3. Foals – Hummer
Hummer was Foals’ first commercially successful track which, though they might deny it, gained immense popularity after being used in the teen drama Skins’ secret party. According to the band, they started out playing house parties – much like the band that they portrayed in their TV debut.
Skins also featured this next artist in our list, whose song ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ was included in its Season 1 finale.
4. The Concretes – Seems Fine (Shuffle)
This song is from Swedish band The Concrete’s Lady December EP – an unplugged shuffle version of their original – Seems Fine. I admit, The Concretes isn’t the same without Victoria Bergsman, her voice lends a nice and unique touch to The Concrete’s songs. It’s also the reason why this next song sounds so much so lovable –
5. Peter, Bjorn and John – Young Folks
You’ve probably heard of this song before – a song often used as background music for almost anything. That ‘whistling song’ aka ‘Young Folks’ is PBJ’s one big hit, which features a duet with my favorite ex-The Concretes member Victoria Bergsman. A TV spot favorite, it was also used in the soundtrack to the 2008 movie ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’.
‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging‘, based on a book by comedian Louise Rennison, had a screenplay penned by Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi. When Gurinder Chadha was assigned to direct, she made changes the screenplay to make it more like a film depicting a teenage girl’s life in Britain and (according to her) less like what two guys from LA’s rendition of what a teenage girl’s life was like. Though Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi may not be in tune with what British teens are like – they sure made a big hit with Nickelodeon’s ‘The Adventures of Pete and Pete‘ which featured the song from this next band.
6. Polaris – Hey Sandy
If you know what Krebstar is, and can relate Michelle Trachtenberg to Nona Mecklenberg (aka Iggy Pop’s daughter) – you’ll definitely be familiar with Polaris’ song ‘Hey Sandy’. We only get treated to a couple of minutes of this song in ‘The Adventures of Pete and Pete‘, but here it is in it’s full form. Polaris was actually a one-off musical project by New Haven indie rock band Miracle Legion who recorded as Polaris just for the Pete and Pete TV series.
An interesting thing to note – The Adventures of Pete and Pete had an episode early in the series called ‘Space, Geeks and Johnny Unitas’, which oddly enough, links aliens to geeks and Johnny U. Coincidentally, it also wraps up my six degrees loop.
Oh, and did you know, The Kingdom (which is my first band on the list) also recorded a song called Polaris? This could’ve been a shorter list after all, but then again, where’s the fun in that?