Warning: If you love music like I do you might find the content in this write up a bit hard to fathom. If you’ve actually heard some of the versions of these songs and your ear drums didn’t burst and begin spewing pus like hot lava from a volcano you should consider yourself lucky.
Golden Throats is a compilation of four albums brought to us by the fine folks over at Rhino Records. Sure, I know that sounds innocent enough and the songs covered on them are all pretty much considered classics. The only trouble is they’re being sung by so-called “celebrities” who were way past their prime and definitely out of their element.
The first album was called Golden Throats: The Great Celebrity Sing Off
was released in 1988
. The following is the track list followed by the celebrity who butchered the tune.
Proud Mary – Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy
It Ain’t Me, Babe - The British butler from Family Affairs, Sebastian Cabot
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – Captain Kirk, William Shatner
A Whiter Shade of Pale - Noel Harrison
I Can See for Miles – Frankie Randall
Try a Little Tenderness – “Just the fact’s ma’am”, the original Dragnet cop, Jack Webb
Twist and Shout - “Come up and see me some time”, Mae West
House of the Rising Sun – Opie’s dad and Mayberry's own, Andy Griffith
Mr. Tambourine Man – once again, the good captain, William Shatner
You Are the Sunshine of My Life – Gomer Pyle, Jim Nabors
Like a Rolling Stone – the butler did it again, Sebastian Cabot
White Room –Joel Grey
If I had a Hammer – I’d beat him to death with it, Leonard Nimoy
Three years later Rhino decided that another release was in order. This one was called Golden Throats 2: More Celebrity Rock Oddities. It contained the following :
John Shaft – rat packer Sammy Davis, Jr.
Sunshine Superman – the “Velvet Fog”, Mel Tormé
Light My Fire – the not quite dead yet, Mae West
Hey Jude – Mr. White Christmas himself, Bing Crosby
All I Really Want To Do – glutton for punishment, Sebastian Cabot
Put A Little Love In Your Heart – the hammer didn’t work, Leonard Nimoy
It Was A Very Good Year – but not a very good version, William Shatner
Dixie Chicken – Jack Jones
In The Ghetto – with a glass eye, Sammy Davis, Jr.
Nights On Broadway – The good doctor, Chad Everett
Stand By Me – “float like a butterfly, sing like a, I dunno” Mohammed Ali
Bridge Over Troubled Water - gravelly voiced Watergate persona, Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr.
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction – with looks like that, no wonder, Phyllis Diller
Give Peace A Chance – follow the bouncing ball, Mitch Miller & The Gang
Country fans weren’t safe either. In 1995 Rhino took their anger out on them by releasing Golden Throats 3: Sweethearts of Rodeo Drive. Here’s what was crooned on that one:
I Walk the Line – glutton for punishment, Leonard Nimoy
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight – for some odd reason, Goldie Hawn
Hey, Good Lookin" – future game show host, John Davidson
The Green, Green Grass Of Home – all around badass, Jack Palance
Back Street Affair – Better known as Hello Dolly, Carol Channing
San Antonio Rose – I have no fuckin’ clue, Michael Parks
Almost Persuaded–a most definitely stoned, Louis Armstrong
Ringo - in French no less, Bonanza’s very own “Pa” Lorne Greene
Tumbling Tumbleweeds – Hollywood mogul, Merv Griffin
Your Cheatin' Heart – Jed Clampett himself, Buddy Ebsen
Mule Train – poet, Rod McKuen
Cool Water – three time Oscar winner, Walter Brennan
Folsom Prison Blues – something called the “Living Marimbas”
Desperados Waiting For A Train – the yodeling sensation, Slim Pickens
I Walk the Line – Kojak himself, Telly Savalas
Peace In The Valley – you gotta be kidding me, Wink Martindale
Games People Play - Gomer is back, Jim Nabors
Just about everybody likes The Beatles right? Apparently not for in 1997 Rhino plastered these tunes together on something called Golden Throats 4: Celebrities Butcher the Beatles.
With A Little Help From My Friends –and a whole lot of Geritol, George Burns
She's Leaving Home – but he’s here to stay, Joel Grey
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – encore performance by William Shatner
Something – but I don’t know what, Telly Savalas
Day Tripper - by the night stripper, Mae West
Hey Jude - by Bing Crosby
Michelle – by “The Happy Hooker, Xaviera Hollander
Norwegian Wood – Alan Copeland
Let It Be – he should have done just that, Tennessee Ernie Ford
Got To Get You In My Life – movie mobster, Joe Pesci
Revolution - whoever the The Brothers Four were
She's A Woman – and so is he, Noel Harrison
Jealous Guy/Don't Let Me Down – the most forgettable, Claudine Longet
Piggies – the even more forgettable, Theo Bikel
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" – surfer boys, Jan and Dean
A Hard Day's Night - George Maharis
So there it is. I hope I haven’t offended any of you music aficionados out there but this story just needed to be told. Will there be a Golden Throats 5 any time soon? Will it cover rap songs by washed up white stars in their 70’s and 80’s?
Only the folks at Rhino Records know for sure and they ain’t talkin.