Friday on My Mind: Songs for Your Seafair Weekend Soundtrack

photo from Seafair

It’s time for Friday on My Mind, our weekly post where we look at songs and videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaboration between KEXP and King 5 News. This week in honor of the Blue Angels airshow, we’re looking at Songs for Your Seafair Weekend Soundtrack.

It’s that time of the year again when you bitch about the loud blue planes flying overhead, bridge closures piss you off, then you look at the planes again and say “that’s awesome” and no one minds that you are contradicting yourself. The Blue Angels are a tradition here in Seattle at Seafair and their warm-up runs leading up to the weekend always bring a smile or a frown to our populace. Either way, it’s pretty damn impressive to see what they do. The original Seafair Festival celebrations began in 1950 back when Seattle had no major sporting teams or arenas and the city was trying to build up the tourist appeal of Seattle. We had water so we went with that theme. The very first Seafair took place at Green Lake. The festivities included a parade, boat races, as well as synchronized swimming and water ballet. I for one hope to see water ballet return to Greenlake. Seafair made up a legend about King Neptune, Emperor of the Ocean and King Of All the Seas and his Royal Court battling pirates for control of the city and festival. This concludes with the tradition of really drunk dudes who’ve been dressed as pilots all day getting their drink on at every bar in the area. The Seafair Festival activities last a total of six weeks. Current Seafair activities include hydroplane racing, the Torchlight Run, and the Torchlight Parade. There are also Seafair Pirates and Seafair Clowns. In the early days the Seafair Pirates and Seafair Clowns would battle to the death while people danced the water ballet, but then the law got involved. The official beginning of Seafair is considered to be when the Seafair Pirates land at Alki, which took place this year on July 7th. The end of the festival is commemorated by The Boeing Air Show, which is taking place this weekend… and the drunk pirates.

Friday through Saturday, people will gather at Genesee Park in order to watch the Blue Angels fly above Lake Washington as a part of The Boeing Air Show. The Blue Angels were established in 1946 with the mission to boost Navy recruitment. The team is comprised of 16 Navy or Marine Corps jet pilots who volunteer to serve as a part of the squadron. They are required to have balls made of steal and the inability to vomit.

For safety purposes, I-90 traffic is affected from this Thursday through this Sunday August 5th. I-90 will be completely closed for Blue Angels practice sessions at various chunks of time through Sunday. People are warned to plan accordingly so that they don’t end up stuck on the wrong side of I-90. People will still attempt to be out and about as if the show isn’t happening and then they will bitch about the traffic, but then they will also look up and say “awesome”. Due to these closures, people will be diverted to the 520 bridge, which will remain open during the Blue Angels Seafair extravaganza. Therefore commuters should expect delays and heavy traffic and they will get to pay 520’s toll too. If you don’t, then the Blue Angels will fire missiles at you. I’m kidding, those were outlawed back in the day of the clown vs. pirate death matches of Greenlake.

Foo Fighters – Learn to Fly

From the 1999 album, There is Nothing Left to Lose. Learn to Fly was the lead single from the album and the video was directed by Jesse Peretz who is also the bass player in The Lemonheads. In interviews, Dave Grohl has stated that this was his least favorite song on the album. That didn’t stop the song from becoming extremely successful or from them making one of the funniest and memorable videos of the 90’s.

Elton John and the Muppets – Benny and the Jets

Benny and the Jets was originally on this 1974 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. It went to #1 in the Billboard charts in April of 1974. In October of 1977, Elton John recorded an episode of the Muppet Show, which aired on television in February 1978. During this episode, the Muppets all perform the song with Elton John.

Tom Petty – Learning to Fly

From the 1991 album Into the Great Wide Open. Learning to fly was the first single off of the album and was at the number one spot on the Billbaord charts for six weeks. Tom Petty has said that the inspiration for the lyrics came from an interview he saw of a pilot who said that the hardest part of learning to fly, was coming down.

Honorable Mentions:

John Denver – Leaving on a Jet Plane

It’s John Denver.

Wings – Jet

Off of Wings’ 3rd album Band on the Run from 1973. Jet was inspired by and the name of a horse that Paul McCartney had as a child, yet you wouldn’t really know that from the song’s lyrics.

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One Comment

  1. Seth
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    My vote is for John. Fucking. Denver. These are all great, but you’re clearly forgetting Bette Midler’s masterpiece, “Wind Beneath My Wings.” I was out there on a boat for the first time yesterday (at this spectacle – I have indeed been on boats before), and was impressed by the kids playing the Top Gun soundtrack on repeat. A cliche I’m sure, but still perfectly appropriate. And I agree, like them or not, the Blue Angels are truly a marvel of engineering and awesome to see and hear so close.

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