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When Warner Bros. records used to have their loss leader double LPs - available by mail order from a coupon on the WB Records dust jackets for $2, one of the best was called The Big Ball." Ed Saunders, post-Fugs, had a cut on it called "The Iliad." It was hilarious. Both spoken word and sung, it was a tale told in redneck first person then responded to by Saunders - shocking in its day and way ahead of it's time. "The Big Ball" was from 1970.

Part of the lyrics went:

Oh Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny,
Why did you beat up that queer?

Posted by Bauhaus | February 21, 2008 12:01 PM

You can also check out Ed in fine form on the Poetry in Motion DVD, playing his musical tie, in between great spots by Ted Berrigan, Anne Waldman, Helen Adam, etc. He's still around too. I remember standing next to him at an informal wake for John Wieners in Boston a few years ago. Same moustache!

Posted by Travis | February 21, 2008 12:06 PM

josh- who is that chick?

Posted by SeMe | February 21, 2008 12:19 PM

We miss you, Squeaky Fromme!

King George misses you too ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 21, 2008 12:21 PM


Kinda looks like something from The Beatles White Album shoot, no?

It's Susan Atkins, AKA "Sexy Sadie." She was the lead crazy in Manson's murder troupe.

Posted by Josh Feit | February 21, 2008 12:26 PM

This explains everything about you Josh. It figures you'd get into Ed Sanders writing style, complete with his little flourishes like "ooo-ee-ooo" in this book. And you're just NOW discovering it?? Unforgivable considering how old you are.

Posted by Stephanie Shramm | February 21, 2008 12:29 PM

Ed Sanders (and his publishing entity, Fuck You Press) is mentioned several times in the Burroughs anthology Word Virus.

Plus, if the urge strikes to see some actual video footage of the guy, he appears in the documentary What Happened to Kerouac?, available on Netflix - he was on the same panel as Kerouac for a taping of William F. Buckley's Firing Line.

Posted by JMR | February 21, 2008 12:34 PM

Weird, considering the Mansons were obsessed with that particular Beattles album.

When I was a kid, I read a memoir by a dude named Paul Watkins called My life with Charles Manson.

I remember it was a bit trippy and spacey and a bit deferential to Manson, but I remember reading it fast. Cant really say if it was a good read, but the dude was a part of that cult. I dont think that one is in print any more.

Im gonna get this one, if it sucks than may Gilbert Arenas be traded to the Lakers.

Posted by SeMe | February 21, 2008 12:35 PM

SeMe @ 8,

Paul Watkins figures prominently in Sanders's book.

Posted by Josh Feit | February 21, 2008 12:41 PM

yo josh check out sexy sadie now:

she went all jesus in the joint.

Posted by SeMe | February 21, 2008 12:47 PM

Ian MacDonald, in Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties, makes the point that Manson's use of the Beatles was an extension of the typically American failure to understand the very English/Irish use of irony, skepticism, self-deprecation, and pop contrivance (Manson took this to insane extremes, of course). It's true that the Beatles attract loonies, and nowhere are these loonies loonier than in America -- think of the Southern pinheads burning their Beatles albums in reaction to Lennon's casual Jesus remark in '66, or Manson, or Mark David Chapman, or in fact almost all American Beatles criticism. Only an American would think they were getting "messages" from a Beatles record.

Posted by Fnarf | February 21, 2008 1:11 PM

My favorite part of the Manson story takes place before the murders, when all the Manson chicks were living with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, and he and most of the other males in their circle couldn't help but screw their brains out with them even though they knew they were filthy and infected with gonorrhea and syphilis.

Posted by Fnarf | February 21, 2008 1:18 PM

@5 - actually, Sexy Sadie is really a certain guru in India.

But nice try.

ewww, Fnarf, I had forgotten that part, now it's back in my brain .... bad bad Fnarf!

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 21, 2008 1:29 PM


Sexy Sadie is Mia Farrow's sister. The guru in India hit on her during the Beatles' trip to see the Indian guru (Farrow was in their entourage.)

The guru's boorish behavior clued the Fab Four into the fact that he was a charlatan.

As for Susan Atkins: As you know, the Manson girls had endless strings of nicknames. One of Susan's nicknames was Sadie. And so, when the Beatles cut a song called Sexy Sadie, La Famille Manson took it as a sign.

Posted by Josh Feit | February 21, 2008 1:43 PM

If you can ever get your hands on the out-of-print documentary MANSON, it's a must-see.

Posted by Explorer | February 21, 2008 1:50 PM

If you get obsessed try looking up old Oui magazines from the late 70's where they'd always have obscure Manson articles and stories and even an occasional John Waters submission. Much more personal and discriptive than that best seller and yawner Hellter Skelter.

Posted by gregg | February 21, 2008 5:46 PM

the original lyrics were specifically about him, not her. it got changed later.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 21, 2008 8:39 PM

I saw Sanders, Tuli Kupferberg and The Fugs perform in Greenwich Village in approximately 1969. At one time I had an LP but it sadly got traded away, I think for a Steve Miller album. On the LP were such beauties as I Feel Like Homemade Shit (when we snobbish hippies still laughed at C&W), The Swinburne Stomp.

Posted by Algernon | February 22, 2008 10:20 AM

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