Sunday Songs: Harvey Danger – “Wine, Women and Song”


I’ve neglected my duties for too long now.

For the better part of the last week, I’ve had a post for my other blog,, floating around in my head. It’s about that neglect, in fact—about how, every year, Memorial Day weekend sweeps me out of a baseball binge, into which I only sometimes return.

The culprits can be accurately summarized by the title of this week’s Sunday Song.

Everyone knows Harvey Danger. Everyone remembers “Flagpole Sitta,” the 1998 uber-hit that might be the only song that was inescapable in that era, and yet remains beloved today1. The funny thing, the sad thing, is that I’m not sure it’s even in my five favorite songs of the beloved, and now long-departed, local band.

I went to a screening of The Glamour and the Squalor, an inspiring and heartbreaking documentary about legendary local DJ Marco Collins, at SIFF on Wednesday night, and the thing that struck me about it was how many of my favorite bands either got their first breaks thanks to the film’s subject, or listened to him before they became stars themselves. In the midst of it all was former Harvey Danger frontman Sean Nelson, telling how he was such a fan of Collins that Nelson ambushed him after work one day and gave him a copy of Harvey Danger’s debut album. Thanks to Collins, they struck it big, for better or worse.

Every one-hit wonder has some sort of second act, whether we hear about it or not. In Harvey Danger’s case, they put out two more albums after Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?, each better than the one before. Their final release, Little by Little, featured at least three songs that I consider far superior to “Flagpole Sitta,” albeit perhaps not as catchy. Harvey Danger retroactively earned the success that was thrust upon it, and helped shepherd the generation of Seattle bands that came after away from making the same mistakes.

Wine, women, and song. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of some of these things, with more to come. In this moment, though, it all boils down to a single song, stuck in my head for days on end.

  1. Also, I believe, the only song I’ve ever karaoked in the state of Wisconsin.

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