Today, we look at a cute cover of Randy Newman’s “Short People” with Goldie Hawn and…the Harlem Globetrotters?
This is Put Back the Cover, a feature where I spotlight really bizarre (but earnest) covers of famous songs.
A fascinating thing about the world of basketball is that since Magic Johnson and Larry Bird helped bring the NBA to new heights of popularity in the early 1980s, and then Michael Jordan took things to a whole other level a few years later, the NBA has become the main pop culture touchstone for basketball. And that certainly makes sense since it is, you know, the best professional basketball league in the whole world (with a number of the top players in the modern NBA coming from other countries, including the winners of the last FIVE NBA MVPs). However, before Bird and Magic, despite the NBA having a number of iconic players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving and Bill Russell, the most popular version of basketball in pop culture was the Harlem Globetrotters, the popular comedic basketball team, that would barnstorm the United States putting on exciting exhibitions of humor and basketball skill.
In 1977, Randy Newman had a hit with the hilariously prejudiced song, “Short People.” The song is a satire of prejudiced people, as the character Newman is playing in the song is a man who is biased against short people. Newman plays up the absurdity of it, to highlight how dumb prejudices are in general.
In 1978, Goldie Hawn did a TV special, and she worked with the Harlem Globetrotters on a version of “Short People” for the show…
It’s funny how the late, great Curly Neal was “only” a little over six feet tall, but obviously he still towered over the 5′ 6″ Hawn.
Boy, Hawn really is adorable.
Okay, folks, go suggest other bizarre (but earnest! I’m not talking about intentionally funny covers here, the attempts have to be earnest – instances like this one count because the original song is meant to be funny, as well, so this IS an earnest cover) covers for me to spotlight by e-mailing me at my all-new, all-shorter e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org!