From This Might Be A Wiki
|They Might Be Giants
|Lincoln, Then: The Earlier Years, Mightathon, Best Of The Early Years, Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants
|July 18, 1982 (174 known performances)
|John Flansburgh (sings first refrain and second verse alone); John Linnell (sings first verse alone)
- This was one of the songs played by TMBG at their very first live show.
- John Flansburgh (Pitchfork, 1996):
Linnell wrote the song 'Cowtown' when I was in a sort of pre-They Might Be Giants project with him and this other guy, who's a writer in New York. His name is Dave Lindsay. [...] Dave Lindsay played bass and I played guitar and Linnell played keyboards. We had this project that we rehearsed for like a month and had a bunch of songs including 'Cowtown' and then it just didn't come together for whatever reason, I'm not really sure.
- Flansburgh expanded on this in a 2015 interview:
Cowtown is probably the very earliest song that we worked on as They Might Be Giants. In fact, we played as a trio with this fellow Dave Lindsay, who's actually Arto Lindsay's cousin. [...] David was a standup bass player and we jammed with him a few times - rehearsed with him a few times. And one of the songs that we put together - that John and I put together - was that song Cowtown. It's really Linnell's song, but I contributed some lyrics. But Cowtown is really like the original They Might Be Giants song. It's a pretty light-hearted song. I think the lyric that I contributed was sort of vaguely inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey... it's pretty hard to explain.
- Often, for example, at the February 2008 Beacon Theatre show, the song is introduced as the first song that John and John learned how to play together as a band.
- In several live performances, Marty Beller electronically produces a screaming sound for the instrumental interludes between verses, but The Audience usually accompanies this filler with actual screaming.
- The lyric "The yellow Roosevelt Avenue leaf overturned" is a combination of various phrases ("The Yellow Rose of Texas", "Roosevelt Avenue", "a new leaf overturned").
- According to Gary Ray, the band once performed this song at Darinka.
- Flansburgh talked about the samples used in the song in a 2022 Tumblr post: "I think they are from a stock library that came with either the Akai sampler or the Fairlight… might even be a combo plater of a horror movie scream and something else…"
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Cowtown is currently ranked #188 out of 1005. (208 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.77)