Daily Archives: March 3, 2007

8. Marilyn – finally, a Dan Bern post

Friday May 23, 1997 was a major turning point in my musical as well as personal life, and I owe it all to an NPR broadcast. Normally I listened to books on tape on the long commute from Alexandria to Bethesda. This Friday, however, I either was tired of the book or just didn’t have one.

I was not paying attention to the first part of the broadcast, so missed the introduction, but when I heard a few lines from Marilyn, I was a changed woman. By the time they played Cure for AIDS I nearly had to pull off to the shoulder of the beltway because I was laughing at some of the lyrics. I don’t know what it was about these songs – did I need them on this particular day? Or were they genuinely so good that I was sold on this new singer/songwriter?

I listened carefully at the end of the interview and dangerously wrote down his name on a scrap of paper: Dan Burn.

That weekend I ran out and looked in the record stores for an album by Dan Burn. No luck. I assumed he was not popular enough to have an album in Tower Records or Borders Books and Music. I didn’t give up, though and turned to the Internet to find out what I could. Somehow I found out that I’d misspelled his name – it was Bern, not Burn and ran back to Tower Records and found his second album: Dan Bern.

I played it in the car, and nearly peed my pants laughing at some of the songs.

I was hooked. I became a rabid fan, joining email lists, traveling out of state to see him – the day after I saw him locally, buying all of his albums the day they were released, trading blank cds for upwards of 50 bootlegs, downloading mp3’s by the gigabyte.

I’ve tried to interest most of my friends in his music, but so far no one has really taken to him. I’ve learned that obsessions are not transferable. So I made friends of some already converted folks through the years.

Consider yourself warned. This is not the last you’ll see a post on Dan Bern in this blog. Not by a long shot.