Pop-Song Correspondences

Ken AshfordPopular CultureLeave a Comment

From John Moe at McSweeney

A Letter to Elvis Presley From His Hound Dog

Hound20dog20singleDear Elvis,

You dick.

You’ve put me in a no-win situation and I’m more than a little bit upset about it. You treat me like crap, you insult me, but yet I am, unavoidably, a hound dog and thus have no choice but to love you with blind and eternal devotion. And while that is my physiological imperative, it’s not my choice. I give you loyalty and affection, I prostrate myself before you, but, as I understand the whole man-dog dynamic, you’re supposed to love me too. I’m supposed to be your best friend. But instead, you publicly announce that I’m no friend of yours. You sing it at the top of your lungs. While shaking your ass. This relationship is broken, Elvis, and it’s up to you to fix it.

I admit it: I do cry all the time. I think a doctor would call it severe clinical depression, if you ever took me to a doctor, like a responsible owner would. I wake up in the morning and there’s this massive cloud of despair hanging over me….

An Invitation to Joni Mitchell to Sing at the Opening of the Tree Museum

Penmus3Dear Joni,

I’m writing to you amid sounds made by carpenters, drywall installers, painters, and a bunch of other people all gearing up for the opening night of the long-anticipated Tree Museum. The nice thing is that, with all these trees, the sounds are muffled. I’ll get right to the point: We need your help. I would like to invite you to perform at our opening-night gala.

As you may know, our path to opening the Tree Museum has not been an easy one. First, we had to dig up all the trees, necessitating the hiring of shovelers the world over. Then we had to transport those trees and actually put them in the Tree Museum, which brought to light what was clearly a massive design flaw. The trees were so large (redwoods, some of them) that they could barely fit through the front door, and they were so long that the ends of them were sometimes poking out both sides of the building. Making matters worse, the ceiling of the Tree Museum was only maybe 60 feet high….

We’re also hoping that our other developments can offset some of the cost. A few years ago, when we first acquired the land that would become our Paradise Development Project, it was a complete mess. Rabbits and deer running all over the place. A meadow. A babbling brook. Goddamn rainbows everywhere. The neighbors referred to it as Paradise, but if it was so great, why couldn’t you drive on it anywhere? Can it really be paradise when you have to walk across a damn meadow while kindly forest creatures constantly nuzzle you?

We took care of that and paved the crap out of the thing. On that land now stands the very popular Pink Hotel. We still see rabbits once in a while, but that’s what the leg traps and acid vats are for….

A Letter to Elton John From the Office of the NASA Administrator

Elton_johnDear Mr. John,

This letter is to inform you of your termination from the NASA astronaut program. Our decision comes after a great deal of deliberation, and while we take no pleasure in terminating you, we felt it was the only choice we had.

Your offenses have been many. To begin with, we had hoped that after all the hundreds of hours of training you received, you would understand the measures in place to prepare a crew for a launch. So when you showed up, preflight, with a bag packed by your wife, that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Jewelry? Oversize sunglasses? Sandwiches? On a rocket flight? That’s poor judgment, Mr. John. I don’t know if that’s the way it’s done in the rocky-roll world that you’re used to, but at NASA we don’t pack our own luggage.

You should also know that many on the ground crew mentioned that at zero hour (9 a.m.) you seemed to be intoxicated, possibly "high," as the hippies say. At the time, I thought that to be a baseless accusation and, since we had a mission to launch, I disregarded it. But the transmissions you made once the craft had entered its orbit made me wonder. Over and over we would ask for your readings on the effects of weightlessness, the craft’s condition, and the status of the numerous scientific experiments onboard, but instead of giving us that information, you moped about missing the Earth and missing your wife and being lonely in space. Well, goddamn it, Mr. John, you knew what you were getting yourself into up there! It’s not like riding on a rocky-roll tour bus! Of course it’s lonely! It’s space! Do you realize there are millions of people who’d give anything to be up there? It’s a chance of a lifetime! And you’re crying like a damn baby! …

A Retort to Carly Simon Regarding Her Charges of Vanity:

Ans3Dear Carly,

Nice song. Wow, you really stuck it to me, eh? Yes, ma’am.

Jesus, you are one bitter woman, Carly Simon.

Listen, I’m pretty busy right now with high-profile meetings and social engagements, but there were things I simply could not let stand.

First of all, that party took place on a yacht. So the way I walked in was perfectly appropriate. In fact, there is a certain way that one is expected to conduct oneself in such a situation. I could explain but I doubt you’re interested. As for the apricot scarf and the tilted hat, again, perfectly appropriate for a maritime soiree. Look it up. I’m sorry you had a problem with that. Funny, there were plenty of girls that night who certainly had no quarrel.

Secondly, yes, I went up to Saratoga for an important horserace. And yes, my horse won, thanks to years of training and the hard work of all the people involved. Is this a bad thing? And yes, I did take the jet to Nova Scotia. I would do it again in an instant. Have you ever seen the total eclipse of the sun, Carly? It’s one of the most amazing natural phenomena one could witness….

I’ve presented here mere snippets.  There are more:

Attention, Mr. Axl Rose: We Did Not Feel Welcome in the Jungle

A Letter Between Siblings Who Lived in the House Described in "Our House" by Madness

A Note Placed in the Pay Envelope of Billy "the Piano Man" Joel

Concerning Jon Bon Jovi, Wanted Dead or Alive