One-hit grinders

The Zippy from September 30th, featuring Mary’s Coffee Shop, which also offers grinders:


Plays on several senses of grind, plus the idiom one-hit wonder (with its phonological play on /wʌn/).

The coffee shop. Faced with a Zippy set in a diner, a coffee shop, or a fast-food restaurant, my first move is to identify the place. Surely, Mary’s Coffee Shop and grinders would get a quick hit, right?

Well, Mary’s Coffee Shop, sure — but it’s a place in Brooklyn that doesn’t look remotely like the place in the cartoon, and seems not to offer grinders (the submarine sandwiches).

And then any search with coffee and grinders in it nets lots of coffee grinders, devices for grinding coffee beans, but no coffee shops that sell subs.

So I still don’t know what actual coffee shop is depicted in the cartoon.

Grinding it out. From NOAD2:

noun grinder: 1 a machine used for grinding something: a coffee grinder; a person employed to grind cutlery, tools, or cereals. 2 a molar tooth; (grinders) informal the teeth. 3 US informal another term for submarine sandwich.

noun grind: … hard dull work: relief from the daily grind.

the daily grind is semantically transparent, but it’s also a cliché, a conventional way of referring to the hard dull work of daily routine.

The title of the cartoon, the daily grinder, is a portmanteau of the daily grind and grinder, referring both to submarine sandwiches and to coffee grinders; Mary’s is, after all, both a coffee shop and a grinder shop.

More on the submarine sandwich, from Wikipedia:

Grinder: A common term [attested since the 1950s] in New England, its origin has several possibilities. One theory has the name coming from Italian-American slang for a dock worker, among whom the sandwich was popular. Others say it was called a grinder because it took a lot of chewing to eat the hard crust of the bread used. [Still another: that it was a favorite of studious college students; NOAD2 on the noun grind: US informal an excessively hard-working student.]

In Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and parts of New England the term grinder usually refers to a hot submarine sandwich (meatball; sausage; etc.), whereas a cold sandwich (e.g., cold cuts) is usually just simply called a “sub”.

Meanwhile, the name grinders has spread far from the northeast U.S. I give you: Grinders Submarine Sandwiches, a shop in Oakland CA.

One-hit wonders. From Wikipedia:

A one-hit wonder is any entity that achieves mainstream popularity and success for a very short period of time, often for only one piece of work, and becomes known among the general public solely for that momentary success. The term is most commonly used in regard to music performers with only one top-40 hit single that overshadows their other work. Sometimes, artists dubbed “one-hit wonders” in a particular country have had great success in others. [And the classification as a hit or success is subjective.]

Some examples, U.S. oriented, from the Wikipedia article, from pop music and from classical music:

Pop: Billy Ray Cyrus, “Achy Breaky Heart”; Soft Cell, “Tainted Love”; The Buggles, “Video Killed the Radio Star”; Nana, “99 Luftballons”; The Archies, “Sugar Sugar”; Baha Men, “Who Let the Dogs Out?”; Soft Cell, “Tainted Love”

Classical: Maurice Ravel, “Bolero”; Johann Pachelbel, Canon in D; Samuel Barber. Adagio for Strings; Jeremiah Clarke, “Trumpet Voluntary”; Léo Delibes, “The Flower Duet” from Lakme; Amilcare Ponchielli, “Dance of the Hours” from La Gioconda

(The bold-faced items are the featured pieces of music in a forthcoming posting on musical flash mobs. Stay tuned.)

But now the one-hit wonders from 1965 mentioned in the cartoon: Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, with “Wooly Bully”; and Barry McGuire, with “Eve of Destruction”.

On Sam the Sham, from Wikipedia:

(#2) Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, 1965

Domingo “Sam” Samudio (born 28 February 1937, Dallas, Texas), better known by his stage name Sam the Sham, is a retired American rock and roll singer. Sam the Sham was known for his camp robe and turban and hauling his equipment in a 1952 Packard hearse with maroon velvet curtains. As the front man for the Pharaohs, he sang on several Top 40 hits in the mid-1960s, notably the Billboard Hot 100 runners up “Wooly Bully” and “Li’l Red Riding Hood”.

Possibly Sam the Sham should be classified as a two-hit wonder, but “Wooly Bully” was certainly the one big hit for which he’s remembered. You can watch Sam and the Pharaohs performing it here.

Then Barry McGuire and “Eve of Destruction”. From Wikipedia:


“Eve of Destruction” is a protest song [alluding to the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and especially the civil rights movement] written by P. F. Sloan in mid-1964. [“But you tell me over and over and over again my friend / Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction”] Several artists have recorded it, but the best-known recording was by Barry McGuire. This recording was made between July 12 and July 15, 1965 and released by Dunhill Records. The accompanying musicians were top-tier LA session players: P. F. Sloan on guitar, Hal Blaine (of Phil Spector’s “Wrecking Crew”) on drums, and Larry Knechtel on bass. The vocal track was thrown on as a rough mix and was not intended to be the final version, but a copy of the recording “leaked” out to a DJ, who began playing it. The song was an instant hit and as a result the more polished vocal track that was at first envisioned was never recorded.

You can watch McGuire’s performance here. On the singer, from Wikipedia:

Barry McGuire (born October 15, 1935) is an American singer-songwriter. He is known for the hit song “Eve of Destruction”, and later as a pioneering singer and songwriter of contemporary Christian music.

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