Deep Dive: George Carlin’s Best – Atlantic Years

Friday, May 12, 2017
Deep Dive: George Carlin’s Best – Atlantic Years

Comedy might not have been born on this day in 1937, but one of the greatest comedians ever to walk to earth did arrive on this date: George Denis Patrick Carlin. Although he left us back in 2008, his legacy continues unabated, in no small part lately because of all the people who’ve said, “Man, can you imagine what George Carlin would have to say about Donald Trump?” We can only imagine it would’ve been glorious. In lieu of what can never be, we instead offer you a playlist featuring a collection of albums which were released on Atlantic Records. This isn’t everything, mind you: it’s only the albums that are in our catalog. It’s all funny, though, as you’ll soon be able to hear for yourself.

PLAYIN’ WITH YOUR HEAD (1986): Amazon || iTunes
Recorded at the Beverly Theater in Los Angeles, this album has been described by as “a fine companion piece to [Carlin’s] 1981 classic, A PLACE FOR MY STUFF, with ‘Losing Things’ and ‘You’re Lost’ offering the same hilarious examination of a mundane and universal experience that Carlin perfected on that album’s title track.”

WHAT AM I DOING IN NEW JERSEY? (1988): Amazon || iTunes
This album’s title was originally supposed to be WHAT IN GOD’S NAME AM I DOING IN NEW JERSEY? but it got changed at some point and no one knows why. Well, probably someone knows why, but while Carlin revealed the title change during an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, Dave interrupted him with another question before he could explain why it came to pass. Oh, well, what’s another unexplained pop culture mystery?

Right around the time this album was released, the PMRC demanded that all albums containing potentially obscene or offensive language feature a sticker indicating that they contained such. Carlin, of course, decided to just cut to the chase with his record, and as the man who taught the world “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television,” he was probably right to do so.

As Carlin progressed in his career, so did his humor, reaching a point where he began to rant so much that he turned off some of his longstanding fans, but there are many who regard his later work as being as strong – possibly even stronger – than his earlier work. This album finds Carlin delivering what an IMDb reader described as “the most furious, malevolent, blistering rant of his career.” Your mileage may vary, but definitely be sure to give it a chance, because it could pay off in a big way.

COMPLAINTS AND GRIEVANCES (2001): Amazon || iTunes
Although it’s a perfect title for a Carlin album, this LP was actually going to be called something else, but after the events of September 11, suddenly the idea of an album entitled I KINDA LIKE IT WHEN A LOT OF PEOPLE DIE became the sort of thing that even Carlin couldn’t bring himself to keep.