When we pulled this outta the archives on Friday afternoon, we'd just heard word about Gary Coleman--something about him being critically ill and on life support or in a coma. His name was just starting to trend on Twitter.
Then we heard word of his passing.
So, with a certain TV theme song playing ever-so-somberly in our heads and knowing that Brutal Juice was playing its annual reunion gig(s), it seemed terribly fitting to go with this piece from the May 29, 1997 edition of the Observer.
"Whatchu talking 'bout, Willis?" is a piece about a compilation album featuring covers of 35 TV theme songs performed by the likes of Agent Orange (taking on Get Smart), the The Dickies (doing Secret Agent Man) and Todd Bridges and the Whatchu Talking 'Bout Willis Experience performing--you guessed it--the theme from Diff'rent Strokes. Show & Tell: A Stormy Remembrance of TV Themes was Greenwich Village-based Which? Records' debut and--near as I can tell--only release.
Providing the article its local tie-in was the fact that the album featured two tracks by then-recently broken-up Brutal Juice. The Denton-based band offered up its interpretations of the theme from Bewitched and the "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" song (called "Paid Programming" on the album), which is apparently the last thing the band recorded before splitting up earlier in '97. (And, for good measure, when the two guys who formed the label were asked which track on the album was their favorite, they both picked Brutal Juice's Coca-Cola cover.)
The compilation also features Corn Mo's bizarre take on the theme song from Charles in Charge. And the article explains how the the various artists album and the subsequent cancellation of the record's release party served as Corn Mo's ticket outta Denton and Dallas and into the Big Apple. Read a more recent retelling of Corn Mo's fateful trip to New York here. My favorite detail in the story comes near the end of the piece when Corn Mo tells about attending a blacked-out, gothed-out "post-Coney Island High party" wearing a pair of "white vinyl pants and a pink tuxedo shirt."
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