(I’m pretending I haven’t taken a month or two off. Roll with me here.)
My songwriting career took a two-year break, along with everything else, circa 1987 as I gallivanted off to Scotland on a two-year proselytizing spree on behalf of the Mormons. The only song I composed between 1987 and 1989 was a parody of The Lonely Man theme from the Bill Bixbyized Incredible Hulk, which included the following lyrics to the familiar, heart-rending melody:
He’s ripped his jeans
He’s loud and mean
To top it off
His skin is green
And when he’s really mad,
That hulk’s incredible!
His greenness is incurable!
And that’s why he’s incredible-y
My companion sent a letter home to his mother and told her to imagine listening to this theme while picturing Olive Oil breaking up with Charlie Brown. He had illustrations and everything. His mother wrote back and said she didn’t get the joke. I’m not sure I do, either, but it still makes me laugh.
Mission life pounded out many of my creative instincts, but, ironically, it was the Church that restored them when, in 1990, I was called to serve as the Ward Roadshow Director. Mormon culture involves periodic production of seven-to-ten-minute skits performed for an appreciative audience. Most of them are really, really stupid, although I thought mine was a cut above really stupid and was just somewhat stupid.
That’s where Javelin Man was born – I wrote the song as part of a 1990 roadshow entitled “I’m Wild About Boys, Girls, and Javelins.” I’ve performed that song more than any other in my repertoire, and it was filmed for a video roadshow almost two decades later. I’ve pimped out that song and video more than any other on this blog, and while I will once again provide a link for the uninitiated below…
… I also want to focus on another song that made its debut in that show and which had never been recorded until last Tuesday night.
The song is called “His Hand In Mine,” and it’s the standard sort of goofy love song that you’ve come to expect from Maureen McGovern or Peter Cetera or some other singing crapmeister. I hate songs like this one, but I quite like this specific ditty, because it’s a sweet, gentle parody of such songs, at least in my own mind. I can only write legit sorts of songs like this if I have a character in mind – in this case, a goofy, lovestruck teenage girl. If I try to sit down and write a real love song, at least one from me, I simply can’t take the sentiment seriously, so people start dying and heads start to explode. What I love about this song is that the ultimate expression of love is entirely chaste – she fantasizes she’ll “hold his hand until the end of time.” I don’t know about the singer, but I’m betting the guy she’s dating is going to want to let go after a couple of eons.
There are three verses in the original, but I’ve incorporated this number into my latest roadshow, which will debut in October with only two verses and revised lyrics. That’s the version you’ll hear on this very rough demo, recorded via iPhone. I’ve been waiting to update this blog until I recorded this song, and it’s taken far too long to make it happen. So, without further ado, here’s a truncated, poorly recorded version of “His Hand In Mine,” with my co-director of the roadshow on lead vocals, and me on piano and doo-wops.