This Comedy Duo Scored a Hit about a Substitute Teacher
First it was mentioned in the Hemingway documentary by Ken Burns, in reference to Papa's short story “Hill Like White Elephants.” The next day it appeared in the local paper's Today in History segment, noting that it was exactly five years ago when elephants performed for the last time at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
When the word came up once again the next morning, it seemed as if elephants were descending upon us much the way they had with Hannibal crossing the Alps back in 218 b.c. It made the main headline in USA Today, a third appearance in as many days.
“NRA President's Killing of Elephant Sparks Anger”, read the title in the April 30 edition of the national daily paper. Although the shooting had occurred in 2013, the incident became news because the video was released for the first time on April 27.
Since elephants were suddenly such hot news items, I was tempted to dig through my children's old books to find Babar or Dumbo. Instead, I decided to honor these pachyderms not through literature, but with music.
Here are ten songs that have an elephant in their titles.
1. The Elephants Graveyard by the Boomtown Rats
Guilty till proven guilty is the satiric assertion of Bob Geldolf on this single from Mondo Bongo, his group's follow up to “I Don't Like Mondays” from the previous record.
2. The Elephant Ride by Squeeze
Astride the pachyderm we exit Sweets From a Stranger, as Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford assure us that “Today Is None of Our Concern.”
3. Sister Mary Elephant by Cheech and Chong
“Class, class, class,” the title substitute here calmly addresses her students before screaming “Shut Up” on this Top Forty single from Big Bamboo.
4. Elephant by Tame Impala from Lonerism
Kevin Parker has gotten better and better since this early record, but tracks like this one provide glimpses of ensuing greatness.
5. Elephant Gun by Beirut
Most famous of users of the title weapon came three decades prior on “Bungalow Bill” by The Beatles, but this title track from a 2007 EP
6. Elephant Talk by King Crimson
Guitar solos are meant to resemble the trumpets of elephants on this odd track from the reformed band's 1981 album, called Discipline.
7. Elephants and Flowers by Prince
Graffiti Bridge represented Prince at his peak, even though the accompanying film bombed.
8. Sabu the Elephant Boy by John Prine
Venturing out from songs about Kentucky or Vietnam or broken relationships, Prine on this Bruised Orange track ruminates on a Rudyard Kipling character visiting Minnesota's capitol.
9. White Elephant by Nick Cave
Hot off the presses, this track is part of the brand new album Carnage that is a collaboration with Warren Ells.
10. Elephant Stone by the Stone Roses
An ode to artist Jackson Pollock comprised the B-side, which was really the A-side played in reverse.