Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Fun: "One Toke Over Line"



On Facebook recently my friend, Steve Prestegard, posted one of the worst moments in musical history when the "Lawrence Welk Show" performed Brewer & Shipley's One Toke Over the Line. Apparently, Welk thought the song was a religious hymn when it was really about toking.

For those below a certain age, Lawrence Welk was the (in the vernacular of the time) the squarest, most un-hip, television and music performer in history. All teenagers at the time were required, by law, to run out of the house with their hair on fire as our parents watched.

While I likely qualify as the third squarest person in history (behind Welk and another), even I knew what the song was about. Only, I knew it sooner than everyone else. Growing up a teenager in Kansas City, we had The Vanguard, a no-alcohol, really cool nightclub for teenagers. The comedians who performed were people that no one had ever heard of like Steve Martin and Gabe Kaplan. Among the musical performers were a local group known as Brewer & Shipley.

So, I couldn't believe it when I went to the University of Oklahoma and Toke and Tarkio Road were on the radio. I was always glad they found a measure of success.

Now, who was the second squarest person in history? The principal of Catholic Rockhurst High School who booked Brewer & Shipley for an all-school assembly, also believing, that Toke was a religious hymn. Of course, almost all of the (all-male) students had taken their dates to the Vanguard and the the level of snickering by us boys reached a level I have never heard before or since!

1 comment:

  1. Love those "Modern Spirituals"! My mom and grandmother took me to see Lawrence Welk sometime around 1957 at the Music Hall in Municipal Auditorium. Thanks for the memories!

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