Thursday, February 14, 2008

The No-No Song

I had a very cool music teacher when I was in the 6th grade back at Jefferson Elementary in Dixon, Illinois in 1974. Perhaps as a result of the class, music later became a big part of my extracurricular activities (e.g., playing the piano, singing in the choir, playing the clarinet in the band, acting in school musicals). I don't remember the teacher's name or what she looked like (perhaps "she" was even "he"), but I always enjoyed the weekly class because it was highly interactive and relevant. One favorite feature was that the lyrics to current radio hits would be sprawled across the front of the room on large poster paper, and the entire class would sing along with the recording. For example, I remember singing "Billy, Don't Be a Hero" by Terry Jacks and "Black Water" by the Doobie Brothers this way. But I also remember that one of our favorite songs was a hit by Ringo Starr at the time--"The No-No Song." I realized back then that there was some 'vague' reference to drugs in the song, but imagine my surprise when I listened to it today, after all these many years:
A lady that I know just came from Colombia
She smiled because I did not understand
Then she held out some marijuana, oh ho
She said it was the best in all the land

And I said, "No-no-no-no, I don't smoke it no more
I'm tired of waking up on the floor
No thank you please, it only makes me sneeze
Then it makes it hard to find the door"

A woman that I know just came from Majorca, Spain
She smiled because I did not understand
Then she held out a ten pound bag of cocaine
She said it was the finest in the land

{Refrain with [sniff]}

A man I know just came from Nashville, Tennessee-o
He smiled because I did not understand
Then he held out some moonshine whiskey, oh-ho
He said it was the best in all the land

{Refrain with drink it}

{Refrain with "I can't take it no more"}
I can't imagine that an elementary school teacher could get away with something like that these days. But, then again, it does have a sort of "anti-drug" message to it, doesn't it?


Darron said...

What made you think of this story?

The Prof said...

Every once in a while I hear a song that I haven't heard in a very long while. Here was an example of one that I hadn't heard in probably 25 years.