“Take A Load Off Fannie” Or “Take A Load Off Annie”?

It’s: “Take a load off Annie”.
It is.
I looked into it and it is.

For 15 years I’ve been singing: “Take a load off Fannie”.
Nevermind. It’s a beauty of a song!

EDIT: It may not be and I never realised until now that it’s been a running debate for a LONG time.

From  WBVC.com…

‘The Weight’ of our ears: Take a load off … who?

The late Levon Helm, who died Thursday, had a wonderfully distinctive voice, but his drawling delivery didn’t always make it easy to discern the words of The Band’s songs — which only added to the music’s charm.

Nevertheless, with Helm’s passing, an old debate has once again flared up: In “The Weight,” is the lyric “Take a load off, Annie” or “Take a load off, Fanny”? In our obituary of Helm, we went with “Annie,” but the CNN newsroom has divided into factions passionately defending one or the other.

The Internet, the world’s biggest game of Telephone, is little help. Some lyrics sites say the former; others go with the latter. The unofficial Band site goes with “Fanny,” and has a terrifically detailed list of reasons why — including an explanation featuring an old girlfriend and her pregnancy (or was it venereal disease?).

Then there’s the performance itself. The studio cut on “Music from Big Pink” has Helm sliding from “off” into the name, which means it could go whichever way your ears are bending. (And one version on YouTube tries to have it both ways.)

In the final verse, Helm does appear to say, “To get back to Miss Fanny, you know she’s the only one” – but is that the same person referenced in the chorus? And what about “Miss Anna Lee,” who pops up elsewhere in the song?

The live version from “The Last Waltz” doesn’t settle the matter.

Aretha Franklin’s 1969 version, with the great Duane Allman on guitar, seems to lean toward “Annie.” On the other hand, the recent video of Mavis Staples singing with Wilco and Nick Lowe has Mavis enunciating “Fanny” pretty clearly.

A publicist for Capitol Records, The Band’s label, says that it’s “Fanny,” offering as evidence an interview she uncovered with songwriter Robbie Robertson. This dovetails with the explanation in Helm’s memoir, “This Wheel’s on Fire,” which explains the genesis of the song and adds, “There were also ‘Carmen and the Devil,’ ‘Miss Moses’ and ‘Fanny,’ a name that just seemed to fit the picture.”

On the other hand, CNN’s Denise Quan spoke to Maud (Mrs. Garth) Hudson, and Mrs. Hudson says it’s “Annie.” (She also told Denise that she thinks it’s funny we’re having such a big debate about it.)

CNN also reached out to songwriter Robbie Robertson. According to his manager, the name is … “Fanny.” So that settles it — right?

Regardless of the name in the chorus, there’s no question “The Weight” remains a resonant song – this almost biblical tale of a weary man looking for rest and finding himself tangled up with a town full of colorful characters. Indeed, it’s perhaps the most covered in The Band’s repertoire, with versions by artists ranging from Joe Cocker to Weezer to Panic! At the Disco.

At such times, there’s only one solution: Listen to the music. Again.


The Soundtrack To My Life. 08/05/2012.

“Twisted Nerve” (OST). (1968).
Artist: Bernard Herrmann.
Why You Should Get It: You probably already know it from “Kill Bill“.
Recognise THIS?

“Kill Bill”. That’s where I first heard it but the full “Twisted Nerve” soundtrack is so much more than whistling. I’ve been going through Bernard Herrmann’s scores and soundtracks at a rate of one per week and I’ve yet to hear any of his music and not find myself in a complete atmospheric trance.

I’ve also yet to see “Twisted Nerve” but I’ll get around to it.
Here’s the trailer:

“Odelay” (2 Disc Deluxe Edition). (2008).
Artist: Beck.
Why You Should Get It: You probably have it right? Everybody has “Odelay”. Don’t they?

I don’t play this record often enough. I hadn’t listened to it for years but as soon as I put it on, that was me! I was off dancing on down the street like the honky I am.

You don’t need the 2 Disc Deluxe Edition. The second disc is full of long remixes and bland B-Sides. It’s filler with lovely cover artwork but the original album sounds better than you remember!

“Electric Dirt”. (2009).
Artist: Levon Helm.
Why You Should Get It: Helm’s reworking of The Grateful Dead’s tired sounding ‘Tennessee Jed’ into a swinging and swaying slide guitar Americana classic!

The late great Levon Helm kind of worked backwards. His music got better as he got older and “Electric Dirt” was his last studio album. You can hear the effort he put into every single song.

“The Lost Notebooks Of Hank Williams”. (2011).
Artist: Various Artists.
Why You Should Get It: Speaking of Levon Helm…he’s on this album which contains arrangements of Hank Williams’ incomplete, unreleased and unrecorded final songs.

This is a real treat for lovers of Hank Williams and his music. The lyrics to these songs were found in the car that Williams died in and were passed around over the years until they found their way into the hands of the SONY / ATV company who had the good sense to hand them over to Bob Dylan.

Setting Hank Williams’ lyrics to their own melodies, Bob Dylan completed one song and various other artists including Levon Helm, Jack White, Merle Haggard, Norah Jones and Sheryl Crow finished up other tracks and it’s really interesting to hear. There’s no honky tonking or yodelling but the words are Hank through and through.

…Which leads me to…

“Together Through Life”. (2009).
Artist: Bob Dylan.
Why You Should Get It…

“Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike”. (2005).
Artist: Gogol Bordello.
Why You Should Get It: Because it’s Ukrainian Gypsy Punk Music and frankly, it’s insane…

“New Boots And Panties!!” (1977).
Artist: Ian Dury.
Why You Should Get It: Because Ian Dury was a Clever Bastard…

“Sticky Fingers”. (1971).
Artist: The Rolling Stones.
Why You Should Get It: I’m not big on The Stones but even I can’t deny that this is a fucking peach of a record!

Due to many years of hearing pub bands cover it, I couldn’t listen to ‘Brown Sugar’ for a long time but I’ve since realised that loud, drunken heckling sorts this right out.

“The Band”. (1969).
Artist: The Band.
Why You Should Get It: Every single song on this album is perfect.
Every single one.
This entire album is completely perfect.
Listen to THIS, THIS and THIS and as an extra treat, here’s a documentary about the making of the album:

You May Also Be Interested In:
* Bob Dylan Changed My Life.
* Neil Young’s Sound.
* The Soundtrack To My Life. 15/04/2012.

So Long, Levon Helm.

I was really sad to hear about the death of Levon Helm.
He was a giant to me.

Published in: on April 21, 2012 at 13:08  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,
%d bloggers like this: