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Rock Spectacle

  1. Brian Wilson
  2. Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank
  3. Break Your Heart
  4. Jane
  5. When I Fall
  6. Hello City
  7. What a Good Boy
  8. The Old Apartment
  9. Life, in a Nutshell
  10. These Apples
  11. If I Had $1000000
  12. Uncle Elwyn

 


"It's actually going to be difficult to bring out a new album in July, with 'Rock Spectacle,' doing so well."
-Steve ("Reprise's Barenaked Ladies Plan U.S Takeoff" by Doug Reese, Billboard April 25, 1998)

Released: November 19, 1996

Awards: Gold in US on February 27, 1998, Platinum in US on September 10, 1998

Rock Spectacle (say "Rock Spec-tac") is the ladies first live album. It was recorded at the Riviera in Chicago and at the Olympia in Montreal during the Born on a Pirate Ship tour in the spring of 1996.

The album is like a live greatest hits, and the songs that were chosen, according to Steve, were the ones "that have evolved with age or...evolved from what the recorded version was like.1"

Also, "Brian Wilson" was re-released as a single. However, some radio stations do not include live cuts in their play list. So the ladies re-recorded the song (It's referred to "Brian Wilson 2000" on the single, and the first verse is also omitted). "Brian Wilson" followed in the footsteps of "Old Apartment" and broke into the Billboard Top 40. With the single's success and the ladies constant touring, Rock Spectacle then became the ladies first gold album in the United States.

1"80,000 Barenaked Ladies Fans Can't be Wrong" by Mike Cimicata. Yeah Yeah Yeah Nov/Dec 1996



Brian Wilson
(Page)

Drove downtown in the rain
Nine-thirty on a Tuesday night,
Just to check out the late-night record shop
Call it impulsive, call it compulsive, call it insane
When I'm surrounded I just can't stop.

It's a matter of instinct,
It's a matter of conditioning,
It's a matter of fact
You can call me Pavlov's dog
Ring a bell and I'll salivate -- how'd you like that
Dr. Landy tell me you're not just a pedagogue
'Cause right now I'm

Lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did
Well I'm lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did.

So I'm lying here
Just staring at the ceiling tiles,
And I'm thinking about what to think about.
Just listening and relistening to Smiley Smile
And I'm wondering if this is some kind of creative drought
Because I'm

Lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did
Well I'm lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did.

And if you want to find me I'll be out in the sandbox
Wondering where all the hell all the love has gone
Playing my guitar and building castles in the sun
And singing "Fun Fun Fun"

Lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did
Well I'm lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did.

I had a dream
That I was three hundred pounds
And though I was very heavy
I floated till I couldn't see the ground
I floated till I couldn't see the ground
Somebody help me, I couldn't see the ground
Somebody help me, I couldn't see the ground
Somebody help me because I'm

Lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did
Well I'm lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did.

Drove downtown in the rain
Nine-thirty on a Tuesday night,
Just to check out the late-night record shop
Call it impulsive, call it compulsive, call it insane
When I'm surrounded I just can't stop.



Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank
(Page/Robertson)

I tend the wheat field that makes your bread.
I bind the sweet veal, pluck the hens that make your bed
Mother Nature & Mother Earth
Are two of three women who dictate what I'm worth

I'm the farmer
I work in the fields all day
Don't mean to alarm her
But I know it was meant to be this way

You cried a tear, I wiped it dry
I put you up upon a pedestal so high
If you should waver, if you should sway
I'd catch you, spread my tiny wings and fly away.
You signed your picture with an O and X
I bet you don't write "love" each time you sign your cheques.

I'm the farmer
I work in the fields all day
Don't mean to alarm her
But I know it was meant to be this way

All of this corn I grow I grow it all for you
I took a hatchet to the radio I did it all for you
You could have written back,
You could have said "thank you"
I guess you've got better things,
better things to do

You say you love me, is that the truth?
Although they've heard the songs, my friends want living proof.
I know your address, I ring the bell
I bring you flowers and a .22 with shells

I'm the farmer
I work in the fields all day
Never wanted to harm her
But I know it was meant to be this way.



Break Your Heart
(Page)

The bravest thing I've ever done
Was to run away and hide
But not this time, not this time
And the weakest thing I've ever done
Was to stay right by your side
Just like this time, and every time
I couldn't tell you I was happy you were gone
So I lied and said that I missed you when we were apart
I couldn't tell you, so I had to lead you on
But I didn't mean to break your heart.

And if I always seem distracted
Like my minds somewhere else,
That's because it's true, yes it's true
It's this stupid pride that makes me feel
Like I have to follow through
Even half-assedly, loving you
Why must I always speak in terms of cowardice?
When I guess I should have just come out and told you right from the start
Why must I always tell you all I want is this?
I guess 'cause I didn't want to break your heart

And you said
What'd you think that I was gonna do,
Curl up and die just because of you?
I'm not that weak, you know
What'd you think that I was gonna do,
Try to make you love me as much as I love you?
how could you be so low?
You arrogant man,
What do you think that I am?
My heart will be fine
Just stop wasting my time


And now I know that you will be okay, and that I
got what I want and that's rid of you
Good bye
And it's not 'cause I'll be missing you
That makes me fall apart
It's just that I didn't mean to break
No I didn't mean to break
No I didn't mean to break
Your heart



Jane
(Duffy/Page)

The girl works at the store, sweet Jane St. Clair.
Was dazzled by her smile while I shopped there.
It wasn't long before I lived with her.
I sang her songs while she dyed my hair.
Jane, divided, but I can't decide what side I'm on.
Jane decided only cowards stay, while traitors run.
Jane, Jane.

I'd bring her gold and frankincense and myrrh.
She thought that I was making fun of her.
She made me feel I was fourteen again.
That's why she thinks it's cooler if we'd just stay friends.
Jane doesn't think a man could ever be faithful.
Jane isn't giving me a chance to be shameful.
Jane, Jane.

I wrote a letter, she should have got it yesterday.
That life could be better by being together
Is what I cannot explain to Jane.

The girl works at the store sweet Jane St. Clair
Still dazzled by her smile while I steal things there.
No promises as vague as Heaven.
No Juliana next to my Evan.
Jane, desired by the people at her school and work.
Jane, is tired, 'cause every man becomes a love sick jerk.
Jane, Jane.



When I Fall
(Words: Page/Robertson Music: Robertson)

I look straight in the window, try not to look below
Pretend I'm not up here, try counting sheep
But the sheep seem to shower off this office tower
It's 9.8 straight down, I can't stop my knees.

I wish I could fly
From this building†From this wall
And if I should try
Would you catch me if I fall?

My hands clench the squeegee, my secular rosary
Hang on to your wallet, hang on to your rings
Can't look below me, or something might throw me
Curse at the windstorms that October brings

I look in the boardroom; a modern pharaoh's tomb
I'd gladly swap places, if they care to dive
They're lined up at the window, peer down into limbo
They're frightened of jumping, in case they survive

I wish I could step from this scaffold†
Onto soft green pastures, shopping malls, or bed
With my family and my pastor and my grandfather who's Dead
I wish I could fly
From this building†From this wall
And if I should try
Would you catch me if I fall?

Look straight in the mirror, watch it come clearer
I look like a painter, behind all the grease
But painting's creating, and I'm just erasing
A crystal-clear canvas is my masterpiece

I wish I could fly
From this building†From this wall
And if I should try
Would you catch me if I fall?



Hello City
(Page/Robertson)

Hello City.....
Another night at the palace,†'cause there is nothing else to do.
The same people, the same drinks†and the same music,†the same quicksand
I think this harbor town is waist†deep and sinking fast.

Hello city, you've found†an enemy in me
Hello city, hello city.

Second night at the Warehouse,†and my Gap turtleneck just reeks.
From the liquor room upstairs to the†changeroom
To the doom and gloom†of the hotel room,
I wish this seaside beerhall would†sink into the bay.

Hello city, you've found†an enemy in me
Hello city, hello city.

Maybe I caught you at a bad time,
Maybe I should call you back next†week,
Maybe half the fault was mine that†the sun didn't shine on Barrington Street.

It's three o'clock in the morning,†and I'm hungry so let's eat.
Climb down three flights to the†streetlights
and the barfights, we're just taking†in the sights.
I hope tomorrow that I wake up†in my own bed.

Hello city, you've found†an enemy in me
Hello city, hello city.

"What a good place to be,†don't believe them,
'Cause they speak a different†language
And it's never been happy for me.
It's Happy Hour again."

Hello city, hello city.



What a Good Boy
(Words: Page Music: Page/Robertson)

When I was born, they looked at†me and said
What a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy
And when you were born,†they looked at you and said
What a good girl, what a smart girl, what a pretty girl

We've got these chains that hang†around our necks,
People want to strangle us with†them before we take our first breath
Afraid of change, afraid of staying†the same
When temptation calls we just†look away.

This name is the hairshirt I wear,
And this hairshirt is woven from†your brown hair.
This song is the cross that I bear,
Bear it with me, bear with me,†bear with me
Be with me tonight
I know that it isn't right
But be with me tonight

I go to school, I write exams
If I pass, if I fail, if I drop out, does anyone give a damn?
And if they do, they'll soon forget
'Cause it won't take much for me to show that my life ain't over yet

I wake up scared, I wake up strange
I wake up wondering if anything in my life is ever going to change
I wake up scared, I wake up strange
And everything around me stays the same

This name is the hairshirt I wear,
And this hairshirt is woven from†your brown hair.
This song is the cross that I bear,
Bear it with me, bear with me,†bear with me
Be with me tonight
I know that it isn't right
But be with me tonight

I couldn't tell you that I was wrong
Chickened out, grabbed a pen and paper, sat down and I wrote this song
I couldn't tell you that you were right
So instead I looked in the mirror watched tv laid awake all night


We've got these chains that hang†around our necks,
People want to strangle us with†them before we take our first breath
Afraid of change, afraid of staying†the same
When temptation calls...


This name is the hairshirt I wear,
And this hairshirt is woven from†your brown hair.
This song is the cross that I bear,
Bear it with me, bear with me,†bear with me
Be with me tonight
I know that it isn't right
But be with me tonight


When I was born, they looked at†me and said
What a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy
And when you were born,†they looked at you and said
What a good girl, what a smart girl, what a pretty girl, hey.



The Old Apartment
(Page/Robertson)

Broke into the old apartment
This is where we used to live
Broken glass, broke and hungry
broken hearts and broken bones
This is where we used to live

Why did you paint the walls?
Why did you clean the floor?
Why did you plaster over the hole I punched in the door?
This is where we used to live

Why did you keep the mousetrap?
Why did you keep the dishrack?
these things used to be mine
I guess they still are, I want them back

Broke into the old apartment
Forty-two stairs from the street
Crooked landing, crooked landlord
Narrow laneway filled with crooks
This is where we used to live

Why did they pave the lawn?
why did they change the locks?
Why did I have to break it?
I only came here to talk
This is where we used to live

How is the neighbor downstairs?
How is her temper this year?
I turned up your TV and stomped on the floor just for fun
I know we don't live here anymore
We bought an old house on the Danforth
She loves me and her body keeps me warm
I'm happy there
But this is where we used to live

Broke into the old apartment
Tore the phone out of the wall
Only memories, fading memories
Blending into dull tableaux

I want them back



Life, in a Nutshell
(Page/Robertson)

When she was three,†her Barbies always did it on the first date
Now she's with me,†there's never any need for them to demonstrate
She's like a baby, I'm like a cat;
When we are happy, we both get fat and still
It's never enough, it's never enough, it's never enough.

But I don't tend to worry 'bout the things that other people say,
And I'm learning that I wouldn't want it any other way
Call me crazy but it really doesn't matter
All that matters to me is she

Her life, in a nutshell
No way would she want it to change me
It's not that easy 'cause†My time is often decided for me
For me

She memorized every pencil crayon color in the box
Her blue-green eyes complement the burnt sienna in her locks
She's at the movies, I'm on the phone;
When we're separated we're never alone, but still
It's never enough, it's never enough, no it's never enough.

But I don't tend to worry 'bout the things that other people say,
And I'm learning that I wouldn't want it any other way
Call me crazy but it really doesn't matter
All that matters to me is she

I fell down†With no one there to catch me from falling
Then she came 'round
And only her tenderness stopped me from bawling my eyes out
I'm OK, and that's why

Her life, in a nutshell...



These Apples
(Robertson)

A friend brought me flowers, she said they were lilacs,
But I've never been good with plants
Her next presentation, a new dictionary
She circled the word "romance"

So enthusiastic, a little bit drastic,
I shaved her name in my head.
As she beheld it, she said I misspelled it;
Need more be said?

These apples are delicious!
"As a matter of fact they are," she said
Can all this fruit be free?†

She wrote me a letter as big as a phone book
I've never been big on mail
I sent her a postcard from somewhere near Lethbridge,
And wondered if it still went by rail†

I've never been frightened of being enlightened
But some things can go too far
Though sometimes I stammer and mix up my gramma,
You get what my meanings are†

These apples are delicious!
"As a matter of fact they are," she said
Can all this fruit be free?†


I'm not trying to sing a love song -- I'm trying to sing in tune
I know I am sometimes headstrong
Falling in love, catching fire -- I want to be consumed
Wondering will I ever tire, will I ever tire?†

These apples are delicious!
"As a matter of fact they are," she said
Can all this fruit be free?



If I Had $1000000
(Page/Robertson)

I got a blue and red Addidas bag and a humongous binder
Iím tryin my best not to look like a minor niner
Went out for the football team to prove that Iím a man
I guess I shouldnít tell 'em that I like Duran Duran
This is me in grade nine, baby
This is me in grade nine
This is me in grade nine, baby
This is me in grade nine

If I had a $1000000
(If I had a $1000000)
Well, Iíd buy you a house
(Well, I would buy you a house)
If I had a $1000000
(If I had a $1000000)
I'd buy you furniture for your house
(Maybe a nice chesterfield or an ottoman)
And if I had a $1000000
(If I had $1000000)
Well I'd buy you a K-Car
(A nice Reliant automobile)
And if I had $1000000
I'd buy your love.

If I had a $1000000
I'd build a treefort in our yard
If I had a $1000000
You could help, it wouldn't be that hard
If I had a $1000000
Maybe we could put like a little tiny fridge in there somewhere
A little tiny fridge and maybe I could direct that old lady up there

Oh, oh the Bryant Street Theatre?
Itís right up that ladder lady!
Welcome to the Bryant Street Theatre
Have a fruit roll up
Arenít you gonna eat it?
Oh fer Christ's sake!

If I had a $1000000
(If I had a $1000000)
I'd buy you a fur coat
(But not a real fur coat that's cruel)
And if I had a $1000000
(If I had a $1000000)
I'd buy you an exotic pet
(Yep, like a llama or an emu)
If I had a $1000000
(If I had a $1000000)
I'd buy you John Davidsonís remains
(Eww all them grim and grey hair no more bones)
If I had a $1000000
I'd buy your love

If I had a $1000000
We wouldn't have to walk to the store
If I had a $1000000
We'd take a limousine 'cause it costs more.
If I had a $1000000
We wouldn't have to eat Kraft Dinner
But we would.

If I had a $1000000
(If I had a $1000000)
I'd buy you a green dress
(But not a real green dress, that's cruel)
And if I had a $1000000
(If I had a $1000000)
I'd buy you some art
(A Picasso or a Garfunkel)
And if I had $1000000
(If I had $1000000)
I'd buy you a monkey
(Haven't you always wanted a monkey?)

And if I had a $1000000
Iíd buy your love
If I had a $1000000
(If I had a $1000000)
And if I had a $1000000
(If I had a $1000000)
And if I had a $1000000
Iíd be rich



Uncle Elwyn My Uncle Elwyn is tall
My Elwyn is small
My Elwyn plays a mean basketball
He's about fourty-five, maybe fifty-five, sixty
I'm not sure.
Once he mixed me a drink
I was about five years old
It was Kool-aid and pop,
I thought that was cold
Cold meaning good
Cold's supposed to be bad
But I think that I oughta would change some things,
And change their meanings
I've been here, I've been demeaning
Once, twice, maybe three times
I asked my Uncle Elwyn
He's a mime

He said:
Ed's Uncle Elwyn (Oo)
Ed's Uncle Elwyn (Oh)

That's E-L-W-Y-N
That's Elwyn, sing it again
E-L-W-Y-N
That's Elwyn, sing it again
E-L-W-Y-N
That's Elwyn, sing it again
E-L-W-Y-N
That's Elwyn

That's my uncle.