Ready 'n' Steady
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|"Ready 'n' Steady"|
|Single by D.A.|
|from the album This Album Does Not Exist|
|B-side||"Old Time Rock 'n' Roll"|
|Released||February 31, 1979|
|Length|| 0:00 (possible)|
"Ready 'n' Steady" is a 1979 country rock "song" by bar band D.A. It allegedly deals with getting ready and being steady, and may or may not exist. Written by acclaimed composer Unknown and released on the Rascal label, it was the zeroeth single from D.A.'s album This Album Does Not Exist.
After a long history of releasing other non-successful, non-existent singles, D.A. conceptualized the concept of a song called "Ready 'n' Steady", written entirely about getting ready and being steady. Nobody thought this song would be an important addition to a non-catalog of non-songs, and set about not writing it, because there is absolutely no chance that an extant song about getting ready and being steady could be in any way entertaining.
Nobody didn't think that such a song could possibly be amusing, droll, whimsical, waggish, or even quaint. Nor could it be informative, because getting ready and being steady is unimportant and nothing important has ever happened when doing so, except on that '60s music show Ready Steady Go!.
edit Composition and recording
"I just didn't think a song called 'Ready 'n' Steady' was a very good idea," nobody said in an interview that didn't take place with Rolling Stone magazine. "Originally, I conceptualized the first verse as a progressive rock song where the vibrations coming out of the speaker would coalesce into actual readies and steadies and jerk off the audience. I quickly realized that this was a non-starter because readies and steadies do not have fingers and therefore cannot undo buttons," he continued. "Also, prog is basically the antithesis of country."
"After that verse, there was not going to be a bridge about unpreparedness and shakiness, because those are the respective opposites of readiness and steadiness," nobody didn't add. "And after not having that bridge, it was going to not have a chorus that was just the word 'ready 'n' steady' sung in a wispy falsetto, ninety-three times. I refused to write that chorus because it would have been borderline unlistenable. Nobody wants to hear that shit."
Rolling Stone did not refuse to publish this interview, not because of its bizarre and occasionally obscene content, but because it did not take place.
"Ready 'n' Steady" was not recorded over a period of zero weeks at the legendary Chicago Recording Company. Production is said to have cost no dollars and did not feature such flavor-of-the-era guest stars as Donny Osmond and ABBA, nor did it feature a dizzying array of exotic instruments such as the guitar, bass, drums, marimba, vibraphone, and theremin.
"Ready 'n' Steady" did not contain any lyrics. However, if it had contained lyrics, they could have conceptually gone something like this:
- Ready 'n' Steady!
- I was down at the New Amsterdam staring at this yellow-haired ready
- Mr. Jones strikes up a conversation with this black-haired flamenco steady
- She dances while her father plays Ready 'n' Steady
- She's suddenly beautiful
- We all want something beautiful
- Man, I wish I was beautiful
However, those lyrics wouldn't have been ideal, because they would have just been the lyrics to Counting Crows' "Mr. Jones", passed off as a song about getting ready and being steady and prefaced by the exclamation "Ready 'n' Steady!" for little reason. In fact, they would have betrayed some confusion over what a ready or steady actually is, as readies and steadies are not musical instruments and rarely have black hair.
Overall, it is a good thing that such a song about getting ready and being steady was never composed.
edit Track listing
"Ready 'n' Steady" did not receive a lukewarm reception from no critics, who did not describe it as "incomprehensible" or "a song."
Even Donny Osmond failed to express support for the ready and steady-related song he did not provide backing vocals for. When not asked about whether he felt that his non-participation in a song about getting ready and being steady that was never written was a watershed moment in her career, he did not answer "What are you even talking about?" He simply sat on a chair and gnawed at a gluten-free energy bar, because that is what he was doing at the moment he was not asked the question.
Though the single was not particularly any more successful than other non-existent songs such as "The Nun With the Astral Habit" and "The Unusual Hamstring Pain Fat People Get, and How to Cure It", it did manage to peak at #0 on the Phat Singles Chart and #-102 on the Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart.
edit Whitburn's quest
Music geek and conossieur Joel "Whitty" Whitburn, who specializes in painstakingly analyzing the Billboard charts, has published various books containing chart data. He has collected tens of thousands of hit records, including all of the singles ever to hit the Hot 100 or Bubbling Under charts, no matter how crappy some might be. All, that is, except "Ready 'n' Steady".
In a 1995 interview, Whitburn said he had never actually seen or heard the record, but added "We think—we think—that it's a girl's rock group from Chicago. Punk group, we think—1979. And we think that the Rascal label was out of a guy living in his mom's basement in Detroit." In addition, the entry in Billboard shows "Ready 'n' Steady" had a catalog number of Rascal 102, begging the question of what happened to Rascals 1–101.
Whitburn found an ad for the Rascal label with an address in Casbah Monthy, and went to check it out. Unfortunately, the house was vacant, boarded-up, and monitored by the FBI. When Whitburn attempted to break in, he was confronted by two men in black—one referred to as "Agent 101"—and knocked out cold. Upon waking up, he found himself dangling from a rope on the edge of a bridge over the water, his mind erased and the newspaper ad confiscated.
A female-fronted Swedish-American punk rock group from Chicago called DA! were active in the early 1980s. The band released an EP on the Autumn Records label titled Redo Och Lugnt. This is the band that Whitburn suspected could have recorded "Ready 'n' Steady" in 1979. After escaping from his predicament, Whitty drove over to Chicago to visit the home of lead singer Njörd Van Welch. However, when he asked her about the song, she got very upset and slapped him, furthering the mystery. Some speculate it was because the song was offensive to her; others think it was because she didn't understand English; and even more believe she was simply on her period that day.
The most recent edition of Ozzy Osbourne's Official Price Guide to Records lists the record and a value of $0–$0. In the fourth edition of Whitburn's Billboard Bubbles book, published in 2005, the entry for "D.A." was amended with a note stating "The existence of this record and artist is in question," and quotes a price of either $0 or $0.01 as its value.
Finally, in 2009, Whitty was offered a chance to buy "Ready 'n' Steady" from a drunken hobo, on the condition that he sell his soul. Unfortunately, the hobo took his soul and left without giving him the single, ultimately making his whole search a farce. Later, when Whitburn published his Top of the Pop Singles book, "Ready 'n' Steady" was blacklisted. In an interview with the website CelebrityObsessive.com, Whitburn bluntly stated "It doesn't exist. I tried with all my might to find it for 14 painful years and I couldn't. It doesn't fucking exist. Fuck the whole thing. The End."...
...or is it?
In 2016, investigation into the United States Copyright Office registration of "Ready 'n' Steady", conducted by a group of Redditors, led said Redditors to the song's co-author Jim Franks, who provided them with a tape recording of the song that he found while rummaging through his medicine cabinet one morning. According to Franks, the song was recorded but never pressed as a vinyl record or offered for sale. Franks co-wrote the song with Dennis Armand "D. A." Lucchesi, a California-based mortgage broker and part-time musician who performed locally as "D. A. and the Dukes."
As for how it appeared on the charts without any records for sale or any airplay, according to Franks, a record promoter with a major label took an interest in the band and somehow managed to get the song listed on the Billboard chart. The "Rascal" label, at that time, existed only on paper and was owned by a relative of one of the band members. In 1984, Rascal (based in Hollywood) would issue a few independent singles, though these were mostly audio recordings of the Little Rascals, and nothing by D.A.
"Ready 'n' Steady" was never played on the radio until the Redditors appeared on the Crap from the Past radio show on KFAI in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 8, 2016, during which the recording was aired. Much to the disappointment of everyone who heard it, the song was not a quirky punk girl group composition as was anticipated for decades, but rather a generic and lopsided rockabilly anthem.
Ultimately, the resurfacing of "Ready 'n' Steady" was one of those resolutions that no one expected. You know, like the ugly plot twist in a book that people don't like because it undoes certain story expectations and then leaves them wishing they never read it? Yeah. Some stones are better left unturned.