Wednesday, August 17, 2011
inspired by: elton and betty white
no. not that betty white.
their bio via:
Elton and Betty White were a musical duo from Little Rock, Arkansas who charmed the hearts of all who would listen with their disarmingly honest and hilarious songs. Not only were they and their music extremely weird, but they also lived (and chronicled in their music) one of the greatest, most touching love stories in the annals of history (or at least Arkansas). Much of what is known about the two at this point is conjecture or rumor, but a rough outline of their legend goes as follows:
In the early 1980's, Betty was a more or less normal, married secretary in her late 50's/early 60's at the same Little Rock law firm where Bill Clinton worked. She had a slight psychiatric problem for which she took medication, but at some point she stopped taking her medication and experienced a psychic and sexual renaissance of grandiose proportions: out with the husband and respectable job, in with the matching hot pink hair-do and spandex pants.
Elton, meanwhile, was a much younger (30 years younger, to be exact!) man renowned in Little Rock for his phenomenal basketball skills until the day he claims someone "put something in his drink." Elton met Betty in a homeless shelter, and it was love at first sight. The two were married and became notable Little Rock eccentrics, playing music all around town while sometimes delivering newspapers on the side. Elton ran for a seat in Congress, while Betty challenged Bill Clinton, her former co-worker, in an Arkansas gubernatorial race with the sole platform of lowering the age of consent to 14.
During this time they recorded at least three albums: "The Best of Elton and Betty" (which is not a compilation), "Sex Beyond the Door," and the mysterious, elusive "Hard Deep Sex Explosion." Each album - but "Sex Beyond the Door" in particular - is a searingly honest, bizarre gem in which the two expound on aspects of their daily lives and sexual inclinations while playing dubiously-tuned ukuleles and tiny guitars. "I Am the Master of Love," "I'm In Love With Your Behind," "I Don't Really Like Oral Sex Much at All," "The Little Dicks Fit Me Best," "My Three Feet Red Hot Tongue Is Sweet as Sugar," "Your Breast, I'd Love to Carresst [sic]" - it is through songs such as these that the true depth of their love for each other is revealed, in the process making their oeuvre arguably the most listenable and entertaining in the entire genre of Outsider Music.
Having had their fill of Little Rock and frustrated by the sometimes provincial nature of its entertainment industry, the pair moved to California's Venice Beach sometime in the early 1990's, where they delighted tourists on the famous boardwalk and even got their own public access TV show, which ended up winning several awards. They were featured on shows such as "Sally Jesse Raphael," "The Arsenio Hall Show," "Maury Povich," radio programs like "The Dr. Demento Show," and were even voted Sexiest Couple in LA.
Betty died in 2004, never having known the level of respect or success she deserved. Her legacy of brilliant, hilarious music, though, lives on, and plans to revitalize Elton's career are in the works.
photos by katie callan.
download their tunes via wfmu here. or on i-tunes, too.
read more. though really, if you can, you should get your hands on the oxford american article (their best of southern music 2009 issue, i think) - so heartbreaking and poignant.