Flagpole Sitta

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"Flagpole Sitta"
Flagpole Sitta.jpg
Single by Harvey Danger
from the album Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?
B-side "The Ballad of the Tragic Hero (Pity and Fear)"
Released July 29, 1997 (1997-07-29)[1]
Format
Recorded 1996
Genre
Length 3:37
Label Slash
Songwriter(s) Sean Nelson, Jeff J. Lin, Aaron Huffman, Evan Sult
Producer(s) John Goodmanson, Harvey Danger
Harvey Danger singles chronology
"Flagpole Sitta"
(1997)
"Private Helicopter"
(1998)
"Flagpole Sitta"
(1998)
"Private Helicopter"
(1998)
Audio sample

"Flagpole Sitta" is a song by American rock band Harvey Danger from their 1997 debut album, Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?.

Composition[edit]

The song was recorded during the 1996 sessions for Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone. According to drummer Evan Sult, the song was written as a response to the Seattle music scene of the 1990s and its effect on mainstream culture.[2].

The title of the song was inspired by the 1930 Marx Brothers film Animal Crackers, which features a line of dialogue about the pole sitting fad of the 1920s.[3] The band was inspired to spell "sitter" as "sitta" by the Pavement song "Fame Throwa" and the N.W.A album Straight Outta Compton.[3]

Release[edit]

It was released as a single in July 1997. The song gained popularity after Sean Nelson gave a copy of the album to a KNDD DJ. Shortly after this, it was picked up by KROQ-FM. It then appeared at #38 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart. A music video was produced to promote the single.[4] The song is regarded as a power pop single by MTV and a post-grunge anthem by author Ericka Chickowski.[5][6] PopMatters describes the single as "a hyper-literate alt-rock dissection of the stupidity of the modern age".[7] Music journalist Rob Sheffield also considers the song as "nineties pop-punk rage at its loudest".[8]

Track listing[edit]

CD single
No. Title Length
1. "Flagpole Sitta" 3:37
2. "Wrecking Ball" 4:39
3. "The Ballad of the Tragic hero (Pity and Fear)" 4:30
7" single
No. Title Length
1. "Flagpole Sitta" 3:37
2. "The Ballad of the Tragic hero (Pity and Fear)" 4:30

Charts[edit]

Chart (1998-1999) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[9] 50
Canada Alternative 30 (RPM) 9
France (SNEP)[10] 98
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 57
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay 38
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks 31
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 33
U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks 3
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream 32

Legacy[edit]

The song was used in the films Disturbing Behavior, American Pie and My Dead Boyfriend.

The song has been the theme song for the British comedy Peep Show since its second series. It also appeared briefly in the first series as background music in a bowling alley. In 2008, Harvey Danger singer Sean Nelson stated that Peep Show is "...the only pop culture item the song has been associated with that feels like a kindred spirit to the original attitude of the lyric."[11] In 2016, he reaffirmed his pleasure at the use of the song in the show, stating "It’s a joy to be affiliated with something that’s so smart and so funny and so kind of rude and weird."[2]

American alt-country band Deer Tick performed a version of the song in July 2012 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.[12] The Nostalgia Critic's reviews of Tom and Jerry: The Movie and The Thief and the Cobbler use the song in their "Mindfuck" sequences.

'"Rolling Stone ranked the song at number 25 on their list of "50 Best Songs of the Nineties".[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.stereogum.com/1954631/flagpole-sitta-at-20-a-conversation-with-harvey-dangers-sean-nelson/franchises/tracking-down/
  2. ^ a b Zaleski, Annie. "Why Harvey Danger's '90's Alt-rock Hit "Flagpole Sitta" endures". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 11, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Weiss, Dan (28 July 2017). "“Flagpole Sitta” At 20: A Conversation With Harvey Danger’s Sean Nelson". Stereogum. Retrieved 31 July 2017. 
  4. ^ Harvey Danger - Flagpole Sitta (Official Music Video). YouTube. 25 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Devenish, Colin (May 12, 1998). "Harvey Danger’s ‘Flagpole Sitta’ Sitting Pretty On Rock Radio". MTV News. Retrieved September 12, 2015. 
  6. ^ Ericka Chickowski (3 July 2012). Moon Washington. Avalon Travel Publishing. p. 147. ISBN 978-1-61238-261-6. 
  7. ^ Sawdey, Evan (June 5, 2013). "Harvey Danger's Unsung Masterpiece". PopMatters. Retrieved September 12, 2015. 
  8. ^ Sheffield, Rob (July 31, 2013). "Rob Sheffield’s 10 Perfect Karaoke Jams". Time (magazine). Retrieved September 12, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Harvey Danger – Flagpole Sitta". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  10. ^ "Lescharts.com – Harvey Danger – Flagpole Sitta" (in French). Les classement single.
  11. ^ "Harvey Danger interview". 21 June 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  12. ^ "Deer Tick covers Harvey Danger". Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  13. ^ Sheffield, Rob. "The 50 Best Songs of the Nineties". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 

External links[edit]