Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Evil, Evil Evel”: Insane Fool?

My dad worked in retail merchandise for many years, and I remember fondly when he came home from the annual toy industry convention with the hot new toy at the time:

Evel ToyIdeal introduced this stunt cycle toy on the heels of the 1971 Evel Knievel biopic that starred George Hamilton and inspired a handful or so of 45s.  Stu Phillips and Bob Stone would write “Evel Knievel,” a song covered by Rawhide (1971) and George Hamilton (1972).  Two individual compositions with the same title, “The Ballad of Evel Knievel,” would be released in 1972 (Hub Reynolds) and 1974 (John Culliton Mahoney – actually a “split” single with Evel himself on the A-side “reciting” a song he had co-written, “Why”)

Evel 45However, Eddie Carr and his backing band, The Navajos, didn’t need cues from Hollywood to celebrate the derring-do of Evel Kneivel.  No, sir.  Eddie and the boys had the vision and gumption to sing Evel’s praises a full three years before the release of the 1971 film:

“Evil, Evil Evel Knievel”     Eddie Carr & the Navajos     1968

Stevie Wonder, to my great surprise and excitement, would also throw his hat in the ring with a 1972 B-side entitled “Evel, but alas … a typo.

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