Forget 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 â€œTommy, Judy & Me.â€ 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 Hegelâ€™s adolescent opus stalled out at #109 on Billboardâ€™s Bubbling Under chart and was swiftly forgotten.
â€œTommy, Judy & Meâ€ 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 weâ€™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 Supplyâ€™s hit â€œTake Me as I Am,â€ and penned much of the score to a 1970s Saturday morning TV show called â€œThe Kids From C.A.P.E.R.â€ Nothing in his resume pointed to â€œTommy, Judy & Me,â€ though. The title alone lets you know for the get-go that this is no â€œboy meets girlâ€ story. Itâ€™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 â€œheâ€™d like to know herâ€ and her comely reply is that she â€œonly likes what she hasnâ€™t done twice.â€ John Hughes couldnâ€™t have written it better.
Had anyone heard it, â€œTommy, Judy and Meâ€ might have been labeled offensive. But whatâ€™s most shocking now is how the song casually prophesizes the Columbine school shootings. In verse two, Tommy says heâ€™s â€œbought a gun and that one day theyâ€™ll remember his name.â€ To which Hegel distractedly responds: â€œLetâ€™s change the subject, Tommy, letâ€™s talk of Judy.â€ See how no one takes the time to listen to troubled teens?
Even with its oddball outrageousness, â€œTommy, Judy & Meâ€ works because it captures the anxiety-riddled vibe of teendom. Itâ€™s awkward, embarrassing, immature, and sometimes totally phony. Just teen life like the real world.
â€œTommy, Judy & Meâ€ was released as RCA single #12009. Blog entry originally posted 3/16/06.