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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #287
Chads and Jeremys
David Gunn

Jeremy Clyde and Chad Stuart -- eponymously known as Chad and Jeremy -- were a British folk-pop duo of the mid-1960s. They recorded about 75 songs and had a string of hits in American between 1964-1966, including "Yesterday's Gone," "Distant Shores," and "A Summer Song," which broke into the top ten. Unable to reap similar success in their native England, they remained in the states, where they made numerous appearances on the television programs Hullabaloo and Batman. (One particularly abstract episode of the latter would accurately predict the emergence of the Roswell Algonquin Hole 22 years later.) Their long-haired but wholesome demeanor sparked many imitators. At a concert at the State University of New York at Albany in 1967, a 29-year old devotee named Joel opted to change his surname from Stockhausen to Chad-wanna-be. For a year he suspended his promising acousto-electric studies to focus on what he perceived as deeper issues, such as the harmonic resonance in the popular ballad "Willow Weep for Me" when played backwards at one-quarter speed. His infatuation with the genre eventually faded, however, and by the time he founded the Composer's Forum in New York, he had dropped the middle four letters of his concocted name. Meanwhile, in 1968, following the commercial failure of the musically ambitious album "The Ark" -- the story of a pair of English blokes attempting to train a larder beetle to sing light opera while leading a whale watching expedition -- Chad and Jeremy broke up. Jeremy established himself as a British stage actor, and Chad became, in order, a landlocked country of north-central Africa, a freshwater lake on that nationís western boundary, and a small piece of paper generated from punching holes in a data card. While his importance as a land of nomadic cotton processors and later a shallow but navigable body of water first explored by Europeans in 1823 cannot be pooh-poohed, it is his recent recontextualization as an election ballot punch-out pip that has returned him to his once lofty celebrity.

Mr. Clyde, too, has enjoyed a resurgence in name recognition of late, and not simply because of renewed interest in his mysteriously eponymous role in the 1967 film "Bonnie and Clyde," or his equally singular portrayal of Scotland's most important river (specifically, prior to its 18th century dredging that made it navigable to Glasgow). Rather, it is due to his post-thespian reinvention of himself as the hole left in the election ballot after the paper pip is punched out. And "Jeremys," for reasons only etymologists can fathom, have been reunited with "Chads" ever since.

One homonymic reunion that didnít last long was as a seasonal ice cream flavor from Vermont's iconoclastic frozen confection syndicate, Ben & Jerry's. "Shad and Cherry Me" featured chunks of herring in a bittersweet chokecherry compote. Targeting what the company termed afishionados -- people who craved aquatic animals the way chocoholics made pilgrimages to Hershey, Pennsylvania -- the supremely odd concoction failed to establish a niche in the market and was discontinued after only two weeks.

Two weeks hence is the date by which pundits predict this country will finally name its thirty-somethingth president -- a task that has been about as easy as disinterring Wilhelm Roentgen with an ice cream scoop -- and the date when this 287th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar will finally make sense. Until then, please remain in your seats with your belts buckled, lock your tray tables in the upright position, and pay close attention to the ensuing long-haired but wholesome commentary of Kalvos.