Rob Hegel’s Bizarre Love Triangle

 

Rob HegelForget albums, CDs, or artists. Sometimes all you need to make a definitive statement is a single song.

 

Rob Hegel did just that in the summer of 1980 with a hilariously scandalous soap opera of a pop song called “Tommy, Judy & Me.” Crass, crude and unforgettably catchy, it embodied the 1980s teen zeitgeist before there was such a thing. Problem was, teen movies, not teen-themed songs, were popular in the 1980s. So Hegel’s adolescent opus stalled out at #109 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under chart and was swiftly forgotten.

 

“Tommy, Judy & Me” tackles the sticky topic of teen sex. A lot of people discover sex in high school; what Makes Hegel unique is that he penned a tune that vividly commemorates every perverse feeling and social interaction relating to the topic. He throws in characters we’d soon see on the big screen: a tuff chick, a would-be cool dude, and a nerdy antihero.

 

Hegel was a songwriter who co-wrote Air Supply’s hit “Take Me as I Am,” and penned much of the score to a 1970s Saturday morning TV show called “The Kids From C.A.P.E.R.” Nothing in his resume pointed to “Tommy, Judy & Me,” though. The title alone lets you know for the get-go that this is no “boy meets girl” story. It’s more like: Boy gets lousy sex advice from a friend, gets the girl anyway, then learns said friend is a lair. And impotent. Forget New Order — this is one really bizarre love triangle.

 

The music sounds like a cross between The Cars and late period Styx. But the song stands out because of its semi-spoken, semi-obscene verses (where Hegel seeks advice from Tommy) and singalong chorus. When Hegel sing to Judy that “he’d like to know her” and her comely reply is that she “only likes what she hasn’t done twice.” John Hughes couldn’t have written it better.

 

Had anyone heard it, “Tommy, Judy and Me” might have been labeled offensive. But what’s most shocking now is how the song casually prophesizes the Columbine school shootings. In verse two, Tommy says he’s “bought a gun and that one day they’ll remember his name.” To which Hegel distractedly responds: “Let’s change the subject, Tommy, let’s talk of Judy.” See how no one takes the time to listen to troubled teens?

 

Even with its oddball outrageousness, “Tommy, Judy & Me” works because it captures the anxiety-riddled vibe of teendom. It’s awkward, embarrassing, immature, and sometimes totally phony. Just teen life like the real world.

 

“Tommy, Judy & Me” was released as RCA single #12009. Blog entry originally posted 3/16/06.