Absolutely none of this is true.
|Back in the good old days when song lyrics really meant something, even if what they meant was "Wow! Those were some great drugs I was doing when I wrote that.", many an interesting tale was alluded to in the words of some popular song. The unsuspecting public were generally ignorant of this hidden side to the hits that stormed to the top of the charts. In this article I am going to explain in some depth the hidden story behind one of the very biggest hits of the Sixties.
Terrific Mythic Frog were the leading exponents, indeed only exponents, of Frog Prog Rock. Their first album At The Hop, a straightforward fifties style Hop & Roll album was initially a flop, only charting some years later when re-released as a lime green vinyl.
But their second release in 1967 was psychedelic tour-de-force and a huge influence on such diverse artists as The Beatles, The Butterflies, The Moths, The Creepy Crawlies, Barry Manilow, and Has Anyone used the Caterpillars Yet?
'Kermitted to Tape' boasted one of the most iconic album covers ever1. Featuring a straitjacketed frog puppet seated on a lily pad(ded) cell, it helped capture the imaginations of a generation of 'Terrific Tadpoles'. The puppet was made by a friend of lead singer Simon Shaman, one James Maury Henson, and he later attributed much of the success of The Muppet Show to Kermit's appearance on the album cover.
Whilst the first single from the album He Dun Croaked was a top five hit in many countries around the world, and even reached number one in Finland2, it was the follow up single Budd YY Zer that launched the band into superstardom. The song soared to number one in almost every country in the world, and held that spot for months, and was Top of the Hops for over three years in Finland. It held off a score of tunes that ordinarily would have been number one certainties. This is the song that for many is synonymous with the Hoppy Movement, with all the associated long hair, sexual permissiveness, drug use and ribbeting. It also made leap-frog cool again. Some Christian churches called for Budd YY Zer to be banned on principle, stating that if they didn't understand it then it must be evil, and that encouraged 'mixed hopping' amongst their younger brethren .
Penned by Terrific Mythic Frog's drummer Brian 'Buffo' Low, the lyrics of Budd YY Zer were the source of much speculation as to their meaning and significance.
Melody Maker's Malcolm Orangetree described them as "Wittgenstein meets the Reverend William Archibald Spooner", and Sydney Limegrove of KerrChing magazine likened them to "The mint fresh breath of an Ice Goddess blowing through a forest of Egg Whisks." although he subsequently admitted to being a teensy bit high when he'd written that.
But what of the lyrics, and the story behind them? Brian Low was notoriously difficult to interview, speaking as he did only Medieval French, and that with a heavy Australian accent. Low hailed from Budleigh Salterton, which is a very strange place. He did however let slip that in writing Budd YY Zer he was heavily influenced by his childhood hero, the famous Mime With No Name, who was also sited by actor Clint Eastwood as an inspiration. Low crammed a lot of meaning into very few words.
Playing for nearly 13 hours Budd YY Zer was the longest playing single of the sixties. John Lennon set out to beat this record with his Number Nine track, but later admitted he simply didn't have the same amount of talent as Low. Some radio stations took to playing the track back to back for days at a time, leaving their DJs free to dress up as pirates and terrorise boating lakes up and down the country.
Despite its length, the song only has one line, which is whispered by Shaman at 5 hours 9 minutes and 17 seconds in. This Kabbalistically significant number is another clue as to what Budd YY Zer is all about.
In June 1969 Brian Low announced that he was taking a sabbatical from TMF in order to focus on a side project. As Tadpole Tudor, his Swords of a Hundred Frogs leapt to number one, ironically in some cases knocking Budd YY Zer off the spot to do so. It was a flop in Finland. Paul McCartney later admitted that he'd ripped off the hook from Swords of A Hundred Frogs for his own solo hit involving a bear and some frogs.
Low then disclosed that he was going to play a solo drum performance of Budd YY Zer in the middle of Stonehenge on the summer solstice. His stated intent was to time the performance so that the single line would be uttered just as dawn broke. According to Low, this would then trigger a wave of Tibetan / Atlantean earth energies and usher in a new age - The Age of the Frog. Sadly his plans were scuppered as following a heavy night on the ale he managed to sleep through the alarm clock he'd forgotten to set.
This provides the final clue as to the message hidden in plain sight for all these years.
Whilst discussing the song in a very loud pub with guitarist Melvin Crisplock, Brian Low mentioned his intention to stick a single line at a very specific point in the song. Crisplock who was having trouble following the conversation being drunk, the pub being very loud, and Low speaking in Medieval French asked "Bud, why there?". Brian Low, equally suffering from the deluge of sound, misheard this as "Budd YY Zer", and the rest as they say is history.
1. The cover was actually voted third most popular ever in a compulsory vote instigated by the wingless leader of the People's Dictatorship of Somewhere Godforsaken. The number one and two spots being claimed by The Bavarian Snail Voice Choir's Your Favourite Selection of Down-Tempo Classics, and Wandering Pig's Bac On The Road Again, respectively.
2. Lead singer of The Heaviest Metal Band By Weight, Peter Krangsnarl, sited He Dun Croaked as the track that inspired him to learn how to thrash a guitar to death.