YouTube Discoveries: the Great Crepitation Contest of 1946

One thing about fart humor, it never gets stale.

Even at the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where inductee Ringo Starr got a big laugh relating how one of the reasons The Beatles stayed friends on the road was living up to the pact that in the van, “if you fart, own up to it–because [otherwise] it will cause hell.”

I’m reminded of this now at Christmastime–and what kind of gift to get that special someone. And mainly because at Toy Fair earlier this year, farts were all the rage. One publicist in particular very much enjoyed showing me several modern variations on a classic theme, the Whoopie Cushion, at the Skyrocket Toys booth, which actually fielded a whole array of fart goods from its Prank Star line in addition to the gold standard cushion (“A Toot by Any Other Sound is Not as Profound!”)

First was the Fart Whistle: “Turn Your Whistles into Farts! Blow into the Handheld Whistle and it Sounds like a Whoopee Cushion.”

Then came the iFart Shuffle: “Who needs iTunes?!? The iFart Shuffle lets you Scroll through All of Your Favorite Farts with the Push of a Button. Additionally, it is the Ultimate High-Tech Whoopee Cushion. The Built-In Motion Sensor causes a Fart to Release when Someone Sits Down or Moves. Includes 1 AAA Battery.”

But wait! There’s more! The RC Mega Fart allows you to “Cut the Cheese at up to 20 Feet Away. Press the Button on the Remote and Trigger an Array of Farts on the Fart Box–Even Through Walls. Requires 3 AAA Batteries.”

And for the truly talented, the Fart Piano lets you “Discover your True Inner Talent. [by]Creating Musical Masterpieces with [keyboard-triggered] Gaseous Body Sounds! Cough, Sneeze, and Belch your way to the Top of the Charts. Includes 6 Different Sound Libraries and ‘Try Me’ Packaging to Play Songs in the Store. Includes 3 AAA Batteries.”

Then in May, Prank Star introduced two new Spring 2015 fart items: Fart Bubbles, “for those looking to blow out ‘lightly-scented’ fart bubbles with a unique bubble wand that features a gas mask topper,” and the motorized Fart Bubble Gun, which “blasts out a strong stream of cherry-scented fart bubbles, accompanied by real farting sounds that bring out the giggles in anyone!”

“There’s no denying that farts are always funny, for all ages,” quoth the publicist, Lindsay Edwards. “And what’s not to love about bubbles? So when you combine the two, you really get the best of both worlds–the fun of a bubble maker with the silliness of a fart. Fortunately though, these farts won’t clear a room.”

But really, I don’t give a shit about any of this (or, for that matter, Prank Star’s brown Poo-Dough take on Play-Dough (“Looks like the real thing…smells much better!”). I didn’t even ask for samples. But I was more than happy to return the “favor” in sending Lindsay something she’d never heard of, the legendary recording of The Great Crepitation Contest of 1946, more popularly known as “The Farting Contest,” since crepitation concerns a number of obscure and unpleasant medical anomalies (for example, “noise or vibration produced by rubbing bone or irregular degenerated cartilage surfaces together as in arthritis and other conditions”), in addition to the comparatively innocuous “a dry, crackling sound or sensation.” The closest we can get to our purposes would be: “‘Crunching’ of tissue caused by presence of gas, which may occur in lung disease.”

Now if you’ve never heard The Great Crepitation Contest of 1946, then, I hope this doesn’t spoil it for you. The best version I’ve found is Trillblow Records’ recording Battle at Thunderblow, Windesmear vs. Bloomer, Part 1. That would be England’s Lord Windesmear, “Champion of the British Empire,” opposite challenger Paul Boomer, a commoner from Australia (“I remember I used to make me mother and father laugh their bleeding head off when I let one go in church….”

The disc takes on the guise of a live sporting event, complete with pre-game interviews of the competitors, detailed descriptions—in all its rich pageantry—of all aspects of the competition as it unfolds, including the rules and traditions associated with the ancient sport, play-by-play reporting and analysis, and the noise of the many thousand spectators in the venue as they react to the proceedings and the the scoring announced by the field referee.

It’s as real as it gets without being real.

Back in 1946, of course, the word “fart” was no doubt shunned in commercial undertakings. That it’s pretty commonly accepted now is obvious, not just from Skyrocket and Prank Star’s catalog or Ringo Starr’s tale, but by the frequently used (though never by me) excuse, “brain fart.”

Whether or not The Great Crepitation Contest of 1946 actually originated in 1946 is one of many things about the recording open to question, as I’ve seen claims on the Internet that it was produced and played for World War II soldiers as a morale-boosting “V-Disc” (“V” for Victory) recording. One excellent source was this blog, rand’s esoteric otr, which hails it as “the granddaddy of all ‘party records’ and a recording surrounded by much rumor and misinformation.”

Rand relates that the recording was apparently produced, in the late ’40s, as an in-house joke by Canadian Broadcasting Crop. (though it may have surfaced as a V-Disc), making the purported late ’40s production a little late. The many fun-to-read comments on his post and on YouTube indicate that most people today who have heard it either did so from an old copy their fathers–or grandfathers–had, or more frequently, an uncle, or else novelty radio shows, especially the great Dr. Demento’s.

One guy noted how his dad had it on a 78 r.p.m. vinyl disc, and that he hadn’t heard it in 40 years. Another boasted of having an original aluminum acetate recording purchased in 1946, that he might sell, since it had “bothered my wife for 58 years.” For others it brought back memories of hearing it in college in the ’60s, or on family road trips when a father played it on cassette. Often it was the stuff of legend: “One of my uncles had this record when I was a child. Since he lived far away, his nieces and nephews heard him talk about it, but never actually heard it. I’m finally hearing it some 50 years after first becoming aware of it.”

Confessed another, “Some kid told me about this record on the school bus over 20 years ago. I thought he was making it up. Guess not.”

So extraordinary is the broadcast, in fact, that one commenter asked the obvious: Why is this not a sporting event that we can go see at an arena?”

Another played along–as you’ll better understand shortly: “I routinely scorn the use of the farting post.” Of course I particularly related to “Someone recorded it on a cassette in the early ’70s and left it in my car, it went great with a couple joints!”

Indeed, I may well have heard it originally under similar circumstances in my teens, perhaps, but for sure, long after I and my friends, unknowingly on my part, used some of the fart terminology in it, presumably, in categorizing our own farts, especially “flutterblast.” I say presumably because with us it kind of took on an open-ended French pronunciation, I would think, flattabla, the “a” sound in all three cases more like the “eah” in yeah.

Flattabla was then reduced to just plain flatta, and further taking on the verb form of fla (“fleah”), as in, “He fla”–which worked for both present and past tense, none of us being cunning linguists. I’m sure there’s a pronunciation symbol for it somewhere.

According to Wikipedia, the “clandestine” recording was produced in the ’40s “allegedly by Canadian Broadcast Corporation staff” and “in the manner of a seemingly real radio broadcast” with narration by sportscaster Sidney S. Brown (whom I’ve seen identified elsewhere as a DJ), with “sound effects” credited to his producer Jules Lipton. The event takes place at the “Great Maple Leaf Auditorium,” and showcases the understated brilliance of the sportscaster as compared with, if I must say, the stench of today’s coverage of actual sports.

I’m thinking of the great BBC golf commentator Peter Aliss, the only one who comes to mind who’s comparable in terms of vocabulary and respect for the competition, as it were. Brown, in fact, is so good it’s like you really are there–like you can actually sense the “breeze,” so to speak, if not smell the effects, that is, of course, if you’re not laughing too hard to hear his descriptions of such unique-to-the-contest items as the removable “zephyr window” of the challenger’s trunks (“literally translated from the French”), the “simple eloquence” of the Farting Post (“about four feet high and decorated with red, white and blue bunting up to about nine inches from the top, “the bare top section worn smooth by the grip of many hands in previous contests,” and everything else–of which there is plenty–relating to this “centuries-old sport.”

Best, though, is its scoring system, and Brown’s extraordinary command-and application-of it. He makes note of the first fleeber delivered since 1750, how the challenger opened with “a beauty! a beauty…I think that was a triple flutterblast, yes, that’s what the judge signals…and another of the same, and another 25 points, followed by one, no two, I beg your pardon, three fuzzy farts in rapid succession! It’s amazing how this man can change pace in style of offering by a slight simple shifting of his buttock area.”

And then, “a flooper, a flooper, a perfectly executed flooper” and then a follow-up flooper–“a very difficult maneuver” and only “the second time in the history of this sport that a follow-up flooper has been achieved in open competition.”

Then there was “a little freep–a very hazardous fart because of the danger of flotching,” and Boomer went on to score an unprecedented 123 points, beatng Windesmear’s record by four points. Yet the great champion was “not in the least disconcerted by the brilliant performance of the challenger.” He even gave in to Boomer’s (and his seconds’) protest and removing the gold-tasseled “Zephyr Window” fringe of his bottom attire, since it might add a “whistle” or some other sound and thereby increase the value of his efforts, “and after all, in a closely fought contest like this, every little advantage must be jealously watched.”

His Lordship then proceeded to disdainfully blow a freep right in the challenger’s face, and while it was a mere two-pointer, “to throw one away is a gesture of defiance [and] demonstrates the spirit of dash and recklessness [that] has made the Englishmen the champion that he is.” And in a “final gesture of contempt,” the champion scorned the use of the farting post, the awestruck Brown reported.

Yet after opening officially with “three sislers in a row” (I’m laughing again out loud just writing this!) followed by “one, two, three—four fragrant fuzzies in rapid succession! It’s a pleasure to see the ease and comfort with which His Lordship releases his farts. Perfect technique–80 points in the first 30 seconds of the post.”

And then, “something’s wrong!” The judges signaled a plotcher—“a very bad plotcher”—and penalized Windesmear 15 points. But Windesmear recovers with “a beautiful thundersbreak…a beautiful bit of windbreaking virtuosity…a most difficult fart to perform without plotching,” and worth 30 points. A 10-point trillblow followed by a “resounding single flutterblast…a lovely change of pace” left him three points short of a tie.

“The excitement is going unbearable,” said a palpably tense Brown, before Lord Windesmear’s “final bid.” “One more fuzzy or two small freeps [and] it’s all over but the shouting.”

And for sure, His Lordship had heroically come from behind, so to speak.

“Just one more of those little two-point freeps and the contest will be over,” Brown reiterated.

And then, one of the great shocking finales in Crepitation Contest history, or that of any sport: “Oh, he shit!” a breathless Brown exclaimed. “The champion is disqualified!”

A few moments of stunned crowd noise and Brown returned.

“Ladies and gentlemen, as a special service feature we have brought you direct from the ringside of the Maple Leaf Auditorium a blow-by-blow description of the first Crepitation Contest held under international auspices. This broadcast replaced midweek meditations usually heard at this time.”

But honestly, this written description, while quite good, hardly does The Great Crepitation Contest of 1946 recording justice. Simply put, it’s the best piece of sports broadcast journalism ever, real nor not, and it gets better every time you hear it.

YouTube Discoveries: Mendelbaum’s ‘Since I Met Her’

Odd things can come to mind when you’re up at three in the morning.

Like snippets of long forgotten songs, so long ago forgotten that you have no memory of anything other than the snippet.

Friday night/Saturday morning it was “Since I met her, my whole life/Since I met her, my whole life has changed.”

No idea where it came from. No idea the title, no idea the artist. No idea when.

Thank God for YouTube. Then again, I lucked out: Of course I looked for “Since I Met Her,” which turned out to be the title of a song by Mendelbaum, a Madison band in the late ’60s that I remember as The Mendelbaum Blues Band, that I saw back when I was in high school or just out of it in 1970. I was able to find some info on them on a couple sites including Longshot’s Blog, which relates how they moved to San Francisco and cut an unreleased demo album for Warner Bros., as Mendelbaum, in 1970.

The demo surfaced on a two-disc set that came out in 2003, the second disc being some live stuff from San Francisco in 1969. “How in the world this band didn’t take off back in 1969 is beyond me,” said Longshot.

Me, too. “Since I Met Her” is everything I didn’t remember other than the chorus: Kind of a neo-psychedelic garage rock Chicago, heavier on keys than horns and with Midwest arena rock harmonies—and that killer chorus. I’m sure there’s some music theory term for why the repetition of “my whole life” and addition of “has changed” is so powerful. It carries a certain woeful finality in that the poor guy’s life has changed, and for the worse–that he can never return to who he was before he met her.

My high school pal Joseph Waters—Joe, back then—would know, now that he’s a music professor at San Diego State College, not to mention leader of modern music group Swarmius. As coincidence would have it, he happened to be in New York when I had my “Since I Met Her” epiphany, here to see one of his Swarmius band members perform at Carnegie Hall.

Joe kind of remembered them as well, kind of in context of his high school band Spindlebean.

“I remember a conversation that the band had at one point where we realized that we had perhaps unconsciously modeled the name after Mendlebaum, who were the bigger-than-life local gods of the rock scene and who loomed high above us as wild young kids getting started,” Joe recalled. “That conversation happened maybe a year or two after Spindlebean came into being. And the name Spindlebean put the whole thing into sort of a comic twist, which would’ve been appropriate for our view of the world–taking the wind out of the idea of fame. There was a theme song of course, about Spindlebean–who occupied a high place in our concocted mythology. We imagined Spindlebean to be an ancient female with withered limbs, like vines of a bean stock, and married to the supreme god of our ’60s-fueled universe, Harvey Jellobrain. We used to amuse ourselves on cold winter school nights by going to the public library downtown and looking in phone books from around the world to see if there actually was somebody named Harvey Jellobrain! The closest we got was a Harvey Jellineck who lived in Belgium. That was quite a find!”

There was also a Harvey Kellogg, unknown, perhaps, to Joe. We went to Madison Memorial. Harvey went to Madison West. I met him in a heavy dope haze and heard his name wrong, Henry Rollick, if I remember correctly, now. Poor guy was stuck with Harvey Kellogg for the rest of his life (which I don’t think was long) thanks to my drug habit. He didn’t deserve it, but it did fit him.

But I digress. For the record, Mendelbaum was Chris Michie, guitar, lead vocals; Keith Knudsen, drums, vocals; Tom LaVarda, bass, vocals; George Cash, sax, vocals; and J.D. Sharp, organ. According to Longshot, Michie died two months before the CDs came out in 2003, and Knudsen died two years later.

But it was Tom LaVarda whose name stood out. Sounded awfully familiar. I realized why over at another blog, Wisconsinology, in a post about Butch Vig.

My old friend Butch, you may know, was Nirvana’s producer, other production clients including Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth and Green Day. I knew him as drummer for Spooner, a great late ’70s Madison new wavey pop band that broke up after I left town for New York in the early ’80s. I was thanked on their first album.

Butch later started Garbage with Spooner’s Doug (later Duke) Erikson, but in between he was in a band called Fire Town, which recorded a couple albums for Atlantic. Their bass player was…Tom LaVarda. But LaVarda, I learned from Wisconsinology, had been in a mid-’70s Madison rock band that I remember, but don’t remember seeing, Buzz Gunderson. But I do remember a band he was in after, a great country band called Out of the West with Beverly Jean. I definitely would have known him then, for we covered the band heavily at The Madcity Music Sheet, a local music paper that I edited before splitting for New York.

Anyway, “Since I Met Her,” while on YouTube, can’t be embedded. So here’s the link.

As it turns out, I never heard the recording, because while it was recorded in 1970, it didn’t really exist until 2003. In other words, I remember that snippet of a chorus solely on hearing it live.

It was that good—and still is.

YouTube Discoveries: Bobby Bare’s “Streets of Baltimore”

True, it’s of dubious relevance to the awful situation going on there now, except whenever I hear the word “Baltimore” I immediately flash on Bobby Bare’s classic 1966 country/pop hit “Streets of Baltimore,” up there with “500 Miles Away From Home” as my favorite Bare songs.

At least the melancholy tune, penned by Tompall Glaser and Harlan Howard and covered notably by the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Del McCoury Band, does center around the night life of Baltimore–dead for tonight at least due to the 10 p.m. curfew.

“Her heart was filled with laughter when she saw those city lights
She said the prettiest place on earth is Baltimore at night”

Let’s hope it’s better–for all of us–in the nights to come.

Here’s the studio version, produced by Chet Atkins:

YouTube Discoveries: The comedy/music team of Gaither & Lowry

Sometimes you just need to laugh, and no matter how many times I’ve looked at these clips–countless, in fact–I laugh out loud to the point of crying.

Quick intro: Bill Gaither is the biggest name in Southern Gospel music, thanks to his singing, songwriting, and presenting of other genre artists under the umbrella of his Homecoming concerts, albums and videos. Mark Lowry is Southern Gospel’s greatest clown, but also a genius singer and songwriter (his “Mary Did You Know” is a standard) who has sung with Bill off and on for years. I’ve been lucky enough to know and work with both of them—and see them perform on more than one occasion.

So here are two performances from Mark’s days in the Gaither Vocal Band. First is “Jesus On the Mainline”:

That one just kills me every time! And you really got to give it up for Bill: As brilliant and unpredictably crazy as Mark is, he’s there every step of the way, taking it and moving it along. And really, there are no greater singers anywhere than David Phelps (far left) and Guy Penrod, Mark and Bill notwithstanding.

But I enjoy “Turn Your Radio On” as much, both for the shtick value and the fact that you get to see so many of the legends in the background, many of them–Jake Hess, Howard and Vestal Goodman, James Blackwood, Jessy Dixon, J.D. Sumner–now gone. Gone, but never forgotten.

YouTube Discoveries: Bo Diddley, New York Dolls, David Johansen–“Pills”

So I was in Bis.Co.Latte this afternoon, you know, the fab coffee/biscotti shop around the corner that I frequent, run by fellow ex-music bizzers Holly and Antone DeSantis, enjoying a cardamon (or is it cardamom?) apricot oatmeal, and what should come on but Bo Diddley’s “Pills”!

Odd little record, I always thought. I mean, no hospital I was ever in had a rock ‘n’ roll nurse giving me pills and shots that “went to my head, to my head, while I was laying in my hospital bed.”

The New York Dolls did a wonderful version of it on their classic self-titled 1973 album, and I discovered this great vintage clip:

Such a great fucking band! David Johansen still does it, now with Buster Poindexter, or just with longtime collaborator Brian Koonin. Here they are at Lincoln Center Outdoors in 2010. He always turns it into a fun singalong. If you pay close attention, you’ll hear me singing there with the rest.

Nursie! Nursie!

YouTube Discoveries: The Chantays’ “Pipeline”

It was just the other day but I’ve already forgotten who made reference to Lawrence Welk on Facebook or Twitter—but I do remember piping in right away with a comment that I, too, used to watch The Lawrence Welk Show religiously. I also saw the show in concert at the Dane County Coliseum in Madison, Wis., and gave it a rave review in the late 1970s when I was a stringer for Variety; much later I became friends with Lawrence’s son Larry, who runs the Welk Group of music companies including Vanguard and Sugar Hill Records, and Kathy and Janet Lennon of the Lennon Sisters.

So here’s a clip from the Welk Show, in memory of Brian Carman of instrumental surf-rock band The Chantays. Carman, who was 69 when he died March 1, co-wrote the group’s classic 1963 hit “Pipeline” while a high school student. His obit in The New York Times linked to a clip of the band performing it on the Welk Show—said to be a departure from its more traditional acts, and for sure, one that I don’t remember seeing back then.

As you can see, they do seem horribly out of place. Maybe that makes the clip that much better!

YouTube Discoveries: Lesley Gore’s “She’s a Fool”

Thanks to YouTube, I’ve been pretty much stuck on automatic replay–albeit via manual click, not like the old record player I had as a kid that had a mechanism for playing one side of a platter over and over.

In today’s case, of course, it’s a Lesley Gore hit, to be precise, “She’s a Fool,” still my favorite hit of her lot.

Three things stand out about “She’s a Fool.” First and probably foremost, it represented a marked change in tone from the two hits that preceded it and established Lesley’s career, “It’s My Party” and it’s chronological and thematic follow-up “Judy’s Turn to Cry.” These two songs were catchy teen girl romantic angst and revenge pop of the highest order, yet severely typecasting to the point that Les was in danger of being a two-hit wonder at best.

With “She’s a Fool,” however, she suddenly became all but grownup intense, thanks to her incredible singing, for sure, but also a Quincy Jones production that drives the point home.

The above version was a remaster. Here’s the original mono single:

Notice that there’s really very little to the song. One melodic verse/chorus repeated once then modulated up, then another modulation up on the final chorus fadeout. No break instrumentally or structurally, but a riveting arrangement featuring handclaps, bluesy piano bed, insistent string zooms and the hint of horns–and that sinister male exclamatory nonsense-syllable undercurrent of what I always heard as “Sack-a-dula!”

About as simple as it gets, but so striking that it propelled Lesley to her next big hit, her signature proto-feminist anthem “You Don’t Own Me.” The rest, sadly, is now history, but forever an enduring one.

Here’s one last clip of her singing it live:

And by the way, isn’t she beautiful?

YouTube Discoveries: Jo-El Sonnier’s “Tear-Stained Letter,” with Richard Thompson

I became a music journalist a couple weeks after meeting Jo-El Sonnier (he spelled it Joel then) on my first trip to Nashville in the mid-1970s. I met a guy, Gary Sohmers, who was putting out a one-sheet newspaper, folded over twice and stacked on cigarette machines at bars and music clubs. It was called The Madcity Music Sheet, and my first story was an interview with Doug Kershaw, “The Ragin’ Cajun,” who had just cut Jo-El’s “Cajun Born.”

Fast-forward to today, February 8, 2015, an hour or so after Jo-El won his first Grammy, for Best Regional Roots Album for The Legacy. I’m sure he was crying when he accepted it, but I’m not sure he cried as much as me. I can’t remember how many liner notes I’ve written for him over the years, but I do feel almost like I won, too. In honor of our tears, I posted YouTube of Jo-el’s highest-charting country single, his cover of Richard Thompson’s “Tear-Stained Letter,” which reached No. 9 on the country charts in 1988. Then I found another version, a live one, with Richard on guitar!

It’s wonderful, and you’re welcome to cry along with both of us!

YouTube Discoveries: Tributes to Kitty Wells and Hank Williams

Laura Cantrell performed her beautiful tribute to the late “Queen of Country Music” Kitty Wells, the titletrack of her 2011 album Kitty Wells Dresses, Tuesday night at City Winery, with husband Jeremy Tepper, program director of SiriusXM satellite radio’s Outlaw Country and Willie’s Roadhouse channels, in attendance.

I don’t know why it took me so long—going on four years—to see the connection between it and a song Tepper co-wrote and recorded in 1990 with his band the World Famous Blue Jays. “Do It For Hank” was produced by Eric Ambel and released on Tepper’s Diesel Only label, which focused on trucker country songs but also put out Kitty Wells Dresses.

Cantrell’s song speaks for itself. It was the only original in a set of Wells songs expertly chosen by Cantrell, who’s as knowledgeable about vintage country music as her husband.

What’s so cool about “Do It for Hank,” though, is that it’s part of a grand tradition of Hank Williams tribute songs. I’ll touch on four.

Moe Bandy’s 1975 country hit “Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life,” is pretty straightforward in expressing the singer’s identification with Williams songs (“You wrote ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’ about a gal just like my first ex-wife’”).

Waylon Jennings’ hit “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” also from 1975, wearily questions whether the prescribed route to stardom being laid out for him—“ Ten years down the road, making one night stands/Speeding my young life away”—was really the way Hank done it.

David Allan Coe took a mystical approach on his spooky 1983 hit “The Ride,” in which a hitchhiker gets picked up and briefly mentored by the ghost of Hank.

Of course, no one could do a Hank Williams tribute song better than Hank Williams, Jr., whose “The Conversation” finds Waylon intensely querying Bocephus about his dad. Even the video is genius.

Coe actually took the Hank Williams tribute to the next level with his “Hank Williams Junior–Junior” tribute to Junior, who became so big both physically and talentwise that Coe didn’t feel comfortable calling him Junior anymore.

And Tepper? “Do It for Hank” is a rowdy country rockin’ trucker’s pick-up line that Junior, if not Senior, was certainly proud of—if he ever heard it—and an original take on a well-worn country music theme and subgenre.

YouTube Discoveries: Kim Wilde’s Christmas present

Two years ago, easily the most magical Christmas video ever was shot surreptitiously on a late night commuter train in London.

Kim Wilde, whose classic 1980s hits include “Kids in America,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” and “You Came,” was returning home following a Christmas party for indie radio station Magic FM, where she hosts a show. To quote from the description on what instantly became a viral video, “A trip home on the train, not your everyday travel to find Kim Wilde and Ricky Wilde serenading passengers on the train after the Magic FM Christmas Party. They were on their way home on the train and couldn’t get a seat, then Ricky pulled out his guitar ‘Oh here we go!’ Then a drunken woman starts singing. Hang on a minute, I know that voice?! It really was KIM WILDE! This totally makes my day. Thanks. Kim is an absolute legend! Merry Christmas 2012 everyone. It’s so nice to see we are all human and we all have our drunken moments.”

Drunken woman, absolute legend indeed! Gloriously snockered, Kim Wilde, and brother Ricky—who wrote “Kids in America” with legendary dad Marty Wilde—decided to party on, first with “Kids,” then “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”—and a gentle scolding by Kim to all those on the train (who most likely didn’t know it was her) who refused to get into the holiday spirit.

Here’s the original clip:

And since you can never get too much of a great thing, here’s one I just discovered, shot from the adjoining car with inferior sound but still very funny, and with a charity link.

But I found more fun! Here’s Kim a couple days later, after the video has become a viral sensation, being interviewed about it by Magic FM.

Then a year later, Kim and Ricky teamed with singer-songwriter Nick Kershaw to re-enact the justly famous performance, and invited the gal who took the original footage.

Here’s Kim’s and Nick’s “official” version:

Now it would seem that Kim inherited the gene for zaniness from her father, one of England’s early rock ‘n’ rollers, who under the name Shannon, had a delightful 1968 hit in the U.S., “Abergavenny,” about a town in Wales. She seemed a little embarrassed watching a vintage clip of his merry performance after she herself became famous:

And lest we forget, here’s Kim’s own vintage 1981 video for “Kids in America”: