In his fascinating interview in the LA Weekly today with music ed. Kate Sullivan, Jeff Barry waxes irked about those who dismiss the value of his bubblegum:
What you were doing was so new: The sound was new, the lyrics, the thematic values, the whole concept of a girl group and what that meant —
[Nonsense lyrics] are the hook — the stuff that gets attention and you remember. But I was also conscious of putting in real stuff.
Somebody once said to me, you write all this bubblegummy garbage, and I said, “Yeah, you’re right. I read a Rod McKuen poem the other day that said something about “the loveliness of loving you . . .” And he said: See, now that’s what you should be writing. And I said, fuck you — that’s a lyric from “Sugar, Sugar” that I wrote for 3-year-olds.
“I just can’t believe the loveliness of loving you” is not a 3-year-old’s sentiment. And it was record of the year. And I went, wow, that’s interesting. To become record of the year, it’s more than 3- and 4-year-olds asking Mommy to buy it.
And the fact it’s still on the radio every day.
Isn’t that cool?
From “Doo Wah Diddy Diddy” to “Skooby — Doo,” your nonsense lyrics have a real childlike emotional power — there’s something heroic about them.
Heroic? Ah, jeez. I love you! I’m a hero! I’d love to be a hero. I’d love to be a friggin’ hero.