Levi Johnston's Blues

Album: Lonely Avenue (2010)
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Songfacts®:

  • Lonely Avenue is a collaboration album between American piano-popster Ben Folds and English muso novelist Nick Hornby. Folds previously worked with Hornby on "That's Me Trying," a song that appeared on the 2004 Folds-produced William Shatner album Has Been.
  • Levi Johnston, who is the father of American politician Sarah Palin's grandson, is the bone-headed protagonist of this track. The Alaskan first received media attention in August 2008 when Palin was running for the vice-presidency on a family values ticket, and was forced to announce that her daughter Bristol was five months pregnant and that Johnston was the father.
  • The way the pair collaborated was that Hornby emailed lyrics to Folds, who then wrote the music. The American singer-songwriter told Spinner UK: "There was no consulting. He sent me emails without explanations. I'd play around with them [the lyrics] a little bit, and if I found something in it and was ready to go, which I usually was, I called the band up and went to the studio, which was on hold, and recorded it, Nick got an MP3 the next morning."
  • The lyrics, "I live to hang out with the boys/Get on my snowboard/Do some fishing/Kill some moose," are based on lines from Johnston's former MySpace page.
  • Folds told Spinner UK that even though the duo appear to be making fun of Johnston, the song is really about growing up. "The fact that Levi Johnston has become a celebrity was never ever in either one of our heads," he explained. "I find it a little unfortunate because now it looks like some kind of a novelty song or satire. There's no satire, no novelty. It's totally on his side. We were kids too. I just happen to like the guy."
  • Al Gore got to hear this song and called up Folds to say he loved it.
  • Folds told Jam! Music: "I got the lyrics the day after the Republican National Convention. I didn't know who Levi Johnston was. Nick noticed the kid onstage. Now that he's famous, it adds another dimension that I'm not sure is good for the song."

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