A Month all about Names – #5 – Charlie

Good Grief Charlie Brown – Carter USM (1990, Big Cat Records, Taken from ‘101 Damnations’)

This week wasn’t supposed to be all about cartoon characters, it just seems to have turned out that way (so far).   Anyway, Charlie Brown is, for those of you who live under rocks, the hero (is he a hero, or a bit of a loser?) of the comic strip ‘Peanuts’ that has graced various media outlets since November 1950.  When he was first introduced Charlie Brown was four years old.  He made it to his eighth birthday by 1963 and has stayed that age ever since.   He is of course the owner of Snoopy, a white beagle who is prone to wearing sunglasses and being associated with TShirts that suggest that a dog wearing shades is just about the pinnacle of being cool.  Is not cool, it is just cruel and Charlie Brown should probably be banned from keeping pets if he is going to just plonk shades on their face and let them wander off willy nilly. 

He is also the worst baseball coach in the history of baseball coaches.  If no one minds I’ll skirt over the fact that Coldplay also have a song called ‘Charlie Brown’ – I’ve listened to it so that you don’t have to – and its garbage, you can thank me later.

‘Good Grief, Charlie Brown’ is a track from Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine’s debut album ‘101 Damnations’.  It is a sort of play on the fact that “Good Grief” was Charlie Brown’s catchphrase and the inevitable cartoon series usually ended each episode with him saying it after some form of comedic event had unfurled hilariously.

‘101 Damnations’ is a strange beast, because unlike its successor, the quintessential, nearly perfect ’30 Something’, it hasn’t aged that well and its nowhere near as much fun.  It’s also not as polished as ‘1992: The Love Album’ but it doesn’t matter hugely because it still has something of a naïve, DIY charm and it still contains songs of such anthemic quality that you can pogo yourself stupid to them in your lounge and not feel remotely self conscious about it. 

There is a whole host of Charlie (and various differently spelt versions of that) songs in my music library.  Here are just three.  The first two are from different ends of the indie pop spectrum.  Colour TV’s ‘Charlie’ is an absolute indie pop monster.  The sort of track that just nibbles away at your earbuds quietly until you find yourself humming it for the next three days.  It is all kinds of brilliant but I’ve told you all that before.  

Charlie – Colour TV (2021, Tip Top Recordings, Taken from ‘Is That You’)

The second one is from New York’s Bodega and it is a deeply personal sort of track about a friend who drowned.  There are poignant lyrics about a body being “covered in leaves” and it ends with the sound of someone coughing and the gentle lapping of waves against a shore.  Its marvellous.

Charlie – Bodega (2018, What’s Your Rupture Records, Taken from ‘Endless Scroll’)

And finally one from the alternative spelling crowd, its controversial, public information advert sampling, rave behemoth ‘Charly’ by the Prodigy.  It comes from a time before they went all heavy rave metal and still wore stupid hats and did gigs in abandoned warehouses on rural Essex industrial estates.   It’s infuriatingly brilliant and is considered now by many to one of electronic music defining moments. 

Charly (Alleycat Remix) – Prodigy (1991, XL Records, Taken from ‘Experience’)

Up Next Jasper, but outside it will still be Wednesday.

1 Comment

  1. JC says:

    Excellent choices. Thanks for that earlier heads-up about Colour TV.


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