Tuesday, June 18, 2013

AND BANDS: Sniff 'n' the Tears

Sniff 'n' the Tears: "Driver's Seat"

There are so many band names including the word "and" that it would be nearly impossible to arbitrarily decide on a good place to jump in here. It would more or less be a matter of closing your eyes and throwing a dart at a dartboard with all the names posted on it. Which actually isn't such a bad idea, but where to find a dartboard that large and the time to print out and cut up all those names . . . well, it just doesn't seem that do-able once you start to think about the logistics.

So instead, I'm approaching this from the angle of the most creative use of the word "and." Not typically a word that is used all that creatively, this narrows it down incredibly. Placement of the word might in fact be creative, such as "And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead," where it's the first word, or some band that has it at the end (can't think of one offhand at the moment).

However, my selection today is the band Sniff 'n' the Tears (yes, of course the "'n'" counts as an "and" as much as, say, an ampersand -- heck, it's "rock 'n' roll," after all). Here, it's used as a bit of a pun, simultaneously conjuring up "Sniff and the Tears" and "Sniffing the Tears" -- pretty clever. And really, a pretty good band name however you look at it. If only their name had carried over to a long and fruitful career -- unfortunately for them, as it turns out, despite the release of a couple more albums, they're a one-hit wonder if ever there was one.

"Driver's Seat" was released in 1979 on the debut Sniff 'n' the Tears album, Fickle Heart, and to this day I hear it frequently on the classic rock stations. And you know what? It's still a great song. The strummed acoustic guitar really makes it pop (and the vocals are pretty cool too). There's a nice guitar solo in there as well, although for some reason I suspect the work of a session musician (but any of you devoted SntT fans should feel free to correct me on that). "Driver's Seat" hit the Top 40 (which I recall well because it was during a time when I was young that I would listen to Casey Kasem every Sunday morning and keep a handwritten list of the songs tacked to my wall, including their chart movements from the previous week), but the original band broke up soon after the album's release and reformed versions never again found any chart success to speak of.

"And" that's that.

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