“Pretty Please Me” is an underrated ’70s power pop classic. The song was originally recorded by The Quick, and, later covered by The Dickies, and then, Redd Kross. The latter band’s version is the best, or, at least, my favorite. So, watch Redd Kross performing the song live on KEXP in 2012 here:
The Quick was a mid-’70s L.A.-based power pop band whose existence was short-lived. Danny Wilde, the band’s singer, would go on to form The Rembrandts who had a hit with “I’ll Be There For You” which, of course, was the theme song for NBC’s popular TV sitcom Friends (1994-2004). The Quick‘s original version of “Pretty Please Me” (1978), titled simply “Pretty Please”, can be found on the Rhino Records compilation D.I.Y.: We’re Desperate: The L.A. Scene (1976-79). Their version’s good, but, dated.
The Dickies are a campy L.A.-based punk rock band who were influenced by the Ramones, and were formed in 1977 by roadies and friends of The Quick. Their cover of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour theme song, “The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)”, which they called “Banana Splits (Tra La La Song)”, was a Top 10 hit in 1979 in the U.K., and was later used on the soundtrack to the awesome film Kick-Ass (2010). Their song “You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)” also appeared on the aforementioned compilation D.I.Y.: We’re Desperate: The L.A. Scene (1976-79). The Dickies‘ version of “Pretty Please Me” (from the 1983 album Stukas Over Disneyland) is cool and all, but, my favorite song from that humorous band was “Killer Klowns”, their theme song for the low-budget horror film, Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988). I love that movie! Sadly, some of my friends refuse to see the joy of that film’s crazy madness. Silly fools.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space, written and directed by the Chiodo Brothers, is a tribute, in general, to the sci-fi films of the 1950s, and, specifically, to The Blob (1958) with Steve McQueen and Aneta Corsaut. But, instead of killer Jell-O terrorizing a small town, it’s evil alien clowns. Grant Cramer played Steve McQueen, while adorable Suzanne Snyder played Aneta Corsaut, his girlfriend. Oh, I had such on crush on Suzanne Snyder in 1988! She also appeared, that same year, in the very funny Return of the Living Dead Part II which of, of course, was a sequel to The Return of the Living Dead (1985), which coined the phrase, “Brains!” But, truth be told, my favorite film of that series is Brian Yuzna‘s Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993) with Melinda Clarke. It’s an awesome zombie love story! “She’s to die for,” was the tagline. She was! More zombie-Melinda, please! Pretty please! Oh, right, “Pretty Please Me” …
First, watch the video for “Killer Klowns” by The Dickies here:
Now, Redd Kross is a phenomenal L.A.-based power pop/alternative rock band formed by brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald in 1980 (or so). Redd Kross takes influences from The Beatles, The Raspberries and the Ramones, and mixes in a heaping dose of ’90s alternative rock power. They released 6 awesome albums between 1982 and 1997, before taking an extended hiatus. The band returned in 2012 with Researching the Blues.
Redd Kross‘ punk-y cover of “Pretty Please Me” is the opening track on Show World (1997), my favorite Redd Kross album. Show World is filled with insanely infectious yet hard-rocking tracks like “Stoned”, “You Lied Again”, “One Chord Progression”, “Vanity Mirror”, the Beatles-esque “Ugly Town”, the Byrds-y “Mess Around”, and the power ballad “Girl God”. But, Phaseshifter (1993), my second favorite Redd Kross album, was the band’s alternative rock radio breakthrough. That album included the minor alt-rock hits “Jimmy’s Fantasy” and the Beatles-esque “The Lady In the Front Row” (which re-works the “Ticket To Ride” riff), as well as other cool tracks like Wings-like “Dumb Angel” and the Hollies-ish “Monolith” (think “The Air That I Breathe”). Yeah, Redd Kross has never been afraid to wear their influences out loud.
Watch the video for “Jimmy’s Fantasy” here:
Redd Kross also has dozens of cool B-sides and non-album tracks, and, of course, I have my favorites. First, there’s the glam rocker “Switchblade Sister”, a 1992 non-album single that can be found on the compilation, Yellow Pills, Volume 2 (1994). That song is actually my favorite of all of Redd Kross‘ songs. Then, there’s their hard-rocking cover of The Carpenters‘ light rock hit “Yesterday Once More” that appears on the tribute If I Were a Carpenter (1994). Amazing. Finally, Redd Kross backs Japanese rocker Kanako Nakayama on an awesome cover of KISS‘ “Hard Luck Woman” which appears on the tribute KISS Tribute in Japan (1998). They also covered the all-female Japanese punk trio Shonen Knife‘s “Kappa Ex” for a tribute album, Every Band Has A Shonen Knife Who Loves Them (1989), and wrote a song about that band called, well, “Shonen Knife” (from 1990’s Third Eye).
Kanako Nakayama, by the way, was the guitarist for a very popular ’80s pop/rock band called Princess Princess (or Puri-Puri, for short). But, Nakayama‘s post-Puri Puri work, solo and with her band, VooDoo Hawaiians, is much harder rock. Kaori Kishitani, Puri-Puri‘s lead vocalist, has also released some good solo work, but, it’s definitely poppier rock. She’s married to Japanese actor Goro Kishitani who was awesome in sci-fi/action hybrid The Returner (2002) with Takeshi Kaneshrio …
Anyway, “Pretty Please Me”, cool song. Redd Kross, awesome band.