:: The Heyettes - The Fonz Song ::
:: "Impressionist Track" ::
When I was seven or so, the family across the street would babysit me from time to time. They had kids around my age, a boy who was a year or two younger, and a sister who was ten or eleven. I have memories of the dad's CB radio and the big rig he drove, playing with Hot Wheels ramp sets and Six Million Dollar Man action figures with the son, and being propositioned by his older sister on quite a few occasions; she evidently really wanted my second grade ass. I naively entered into a game of spin the bottle in their basement once, and though I've forgotten (or blocked out) the result, I am pretty sure she was my first kiss. It was probably gross. She also once locked me in the bathroom with her (no easy feat as it had doors to two separate bedrooms) and demanded to know whether I loved her or not. I just wasn't ready for a commitment, so I had to let her down.
But the most distinct memory I have of that house is not unfettered grade school lust, or playing with toys that my own mom couldn't afford to buy me. It's of sitting on a hardwood floor in front of a record player, playing their records. Fonzie Favorites was among them, and it left the biggest impression. For the most part, it's just a compilation of good old 50's rock n' roll songs. The selections lean toward novelty, like "Bird Dog" and "Charlie Brown," and the record capitalizes on both the popularity of Happy Days and the related revivalism of 50's culture going on at the time. You also got the Happy Days Theme, in case you needed to hear that some more. I really loved the old songs on this album, and it was probably my first lesson in rock n' roll history, but what's stuck with me over the years? The ridiculous Fonzploitation tracks. I hadn't heard them in over 25 years, but I recently found a copy on the cheap.
There are three of them, all at the back end of side one. The first is the most far-fetched and heinous, an ill-conceived and obnoxious piece called The Fonzarelli Slide. I'd love to know whose idea this song was. It's kind of a song, with the loose thread keeping it together being the fabricated eponymous dance move, which of course requires sticking out your thumbs. Mostly it's three excruciating minutes of terrible impersonations of various ABC television show characters who are inexplicably exchanging mindless banter. Over a goddam disco beat. Strained attempts to showcase or make mention of nearly every character from Welcome Back Kotter mingle with insinuations that Laverne & Shirley are ready to get down. Never mind that the Fonz, Laverne and Shirley were all from the 50's and the Sweathogs were from the the present; time is linear and bullshit is not bound by the laws of time and space. OK, so I'm being a little harsh on this song obviously targeted at little kids, but if you were forced to listen to it, you'd want to slag on it too. The most reprehensible thing is that the Fake Fonzie sounds like a butcher from Brooklyn instead of The Fonz. They could have tried to get that part right at least, if they couldn't afford Winkler. Actually, I have a lot of respect for Winkler now that I think about it, for not participating in this.
The songs you get here are "The Fonz Song," which sounds like the Happy Days theme with a better beat, and a hilarious short number called "Impressionist Track," which is that same bad imitator repeating four Fonzie catch phrases over a poorly made loop of the exit music from Happy Days, supposedly so you can learn how to be cool like The Fonz. Again, I would love to know whose idea this was. Icing on the cake? Well, yes there is some. The entire front cover is a photo of the unlikely heartthrob, with no album title or words at all, save for the button on his jacket that's been doctored to read Sit On It. Seems a little artsy and commercially unwise, until you flip the thing over and see that part of the back cover folds out to form a frame stand, transforming your shitty LP into a swoonable decoration for your dresser.