So now there's a karaoke booth at Intercontinental Airport. According to the Houston Chronicle, travelers can choose from "hundreds of titles."
We got to wondering this morning about what's in their song selections there and more to the point -- what isn't.
We imagine that the management of IAH's karaoke bar had to have studied the infamous September 2001 Clear Channel memorandum of songs with "questionable" lyrics, some of which concerned aerial death and disaster.
If they did, they would know to put the kibosh on tunes such as Bruce Springsteen's "I'm Goin' Down" and "I'm on Fire," AC/DC's "Shot Down in Flames," and James Taylor's falsely-rumored-to-be-plane-crash-inspired "Fire and Rain."
But the Clear Channel list was tailor-made for hijacked planes smashing into buildings. We were thinking more generally, simply about songs you wouldn't want to hear at the airport, much less in versions emanating from the golden throats of drunken business travelers. Here is what we came up with:
"Plane Crash," The Toadies
"Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," Gordon Lightfoot
"Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground," Willie Nelson
"Flirtin' With Disaster," Molly Hatchet
"People Who Died," Jim Carroll
"My Friends All Died in a Plane Crash," Cocoon
"International Jet Set," The Specials
"(Deportee) Plane Wreck at Los Gatos," Woody Guthrie
"Flight 505," the Rolling Stones
"Smoldering Fuselage," Mission of Burma
Yep, "smoldering" or no, you definitely don't like to hear the word "fuselage" at the airport - it's one of those technical terms like "black box recorder" and "seat flotation device" you only ever hear went the shit has hit the fan.
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Which reminds us, the Drive By Truckers's 2001 Southern Rock Opera is highlighted by a tune called "Angels and Fuselage" and another called "Shut Up and Get on the Plane," both of which are re-imaginings of the plane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zant and two other members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Given their fate, you'd probably want to remove Skynyrd's music from the setlist. The same goes for John Denver, Otis Redding, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Aaliyah, the Bar-Kays, Jim Reeves, Walter Hyatt, Glenn Miller, Jim Croce, Ricky Nelson, Patsy Cline, Richie Valens, the Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly. And since Waylon Jennings famously gave up his seat on the plane that crashed the day the music died, let's take him out too.
Which brings us to Don McLean's "American Pie." If there was any one song from pop music history that could make the omission of the complete works of all those greats a fair exchange, it's "American Pie." So thank heaven for small mercies.
-- John Nova Lomax