Dead Skunk by Loudon Wainwright III (Columbia,1973)

When was the last time you heard a country folk song about roadkill on the radio? Probably the last time you heard this. Dead Skunk, a Top 20 hit in 1973, worked on many levels as an offbeat novelty 45. For kids, not many songs about animals are going to appeal to them. Except skunks, cause they smell. Ewwwwww! And for adults, especially the herb-toking ones, this was an allegory for how Nixon is greatly stunk up his Presidency. Maybe somewhere on this missing minutes of tape in the Watergate scandal, this conversation was erased:

“Alderman, who’s this Loudon Wainwright guy?
“He’s a folk singer, Dick. But he’s harmless. Not like that Jose Feliciano.”
“Really? I heard Tricia play this song he wrote called Dead Skunk. It sounded like he was talking about me.”
“Should I bug his home, sir?”

I’m sure Loudon himself was baffled by the song’s success. As he has admitted, there’s really nothing to it. As he sings himself, ” It’s dead. It’s in the middle. Dead skunk in the middle of the road.” Well it’s not that simple to me. And if PETA was around back then, they would have thrown skunk blood on him during his concerts. This is an animal hater and animal killer, which makes him a borderline personality and have a high tendency to mass murder. He sings about dead cats, dogs, frogs, rabbits and raccoons, as if it was as natural as a babbling brook. Does he wait for the sun to go down, get in his car with his buddies and count how many fuzzy critters he can squash with his Nash Rambler? Blood & guts are gonna make you swoon? The way Rudy Valentino did with girls back in the 20’s? I didn’t know he was a psycho too.

This was the same guy who said he never takes vacations as a doctor, yet was in San Francisco at a bar-mitzvah when Alison was about to her baby. I smell a dead skunk!

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  1. 45 Break: I Hate the 70s « 7 Inches of 70s Pop

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