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1 Step Toward 1000 Miles

1 Step Toward 1000 Miles Album Cover

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Cover art photos by Mark "Foto-Mark" Engel.

The thanks I owe for this album (the format this is recorded on doesn't matter to me, it's still an album) can probably be summed up by Track 12: For All Of This And More. However, I'll do my best to thank specific people:

To my Mom. If I blew off college to start a musical career, you would've been extremely disappointed. For that reason, your support of the pursuit of my art has been surprisingly encouraging. I'm proud to have you not only as my Mom, but as my fan!

To my niece Sami. When I thought I had written everything I could write after my first real song, you were my inspriration for other songs. They say you should write about what you love most, and that's exactly what I did. Thank you for loving "Tree To The Sky". It was proof to me that I could reach all age groups. Also, thank you for being blessed with the gifts that you've been granted. Of course, without you, there would be no Parker The Platypus book series.

To Tommie "Sox" Panazzolo. If I wasn't blessed with someone with your talent living right next door to me, this album could not exist. If this album sparks a world tour for me, you will still be my engineer of choice!!

To my fans. I call you that, because that's how recording artists are supposed to refer to you. In reality, however, each and every one of you is my friend, and many of you are my family, whether by blood or by spirit. None of this would be possible if you didn't keep supporting me in my endeavors to shine.

Finally, to Janie Barnett. When I was first looking for a vocal coach, you turned up closest to my office in The Yellow Pages. How blessed I have been for that to be the case. I would have never attempted to write a song until you made me try. Thank you for turning me from what a radio talk show host referred to as a "neighborhood singer" (and not in a very flattering way) to a full-fledged artist!

Finally, if you haven't been covered by any of the "thank-yous" above, thank you for listening to this album. However you got it, and whatever you paid for it, thank you for taking a chance on me!

All lyrics, vocals, and harmonica by Joe Melillo.

TRACK LIST

  1. Exit
  2. The Toughest Around
  3. Bad Guy
  4. Back To Brooklyn
  5. Ring To Ring
  6. Music Is My Life
  7. Percy
  8. Cancun
  9. The Friend Zone
  10. Green Beer
  11. Grandma
  12. For All Of This And More
  13. Tree To The Sky
  14. Parker The Platypus
  15. Rhymin' Fool
  16. Parker Helps Hubert The Hippopotamus
  17. Hagop Hagopian
  18. Parker Befriends Bertram The Bat
  19. Off To Dreamland

EXIT

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
Janie Barnett:
guitar
Joe Melillo: tambourine

I came across a contest that was looking for the next great driving song. So I wrote one, but couldn't record it in time to enter the contest. Soon the next driving song contest came about, and I wasn't gonna miss this one! So I figured out how to get Janie's instrument tracks (recorded in her studio in Midtown Manhattan) over to Empire State Studios (literally next door to my house), and I recorded the song! I entered the contest, and, thanks to my awesome fans, I ended up fifth in the voting out of a field of about forty!

LYRICS:
The 9 to 5 grind is wearin' thin
When the weekend comes I gotta get rollin'
I can't stay cooped up no more
What the hell is life worth livin' for?

CHORUS
Just give me four wheels and a smooth open road
I'll hit the gas pedal and won't carry no load
I'll go anywhere that I see fit
Don't even let me see no exit

I don't even care where I end up
As long as my gas tank stays filled up
I ain't lookin' to have no race
Just wanna feel the wind in my face

CHORUS

Nothin' makes me feel more alive
Then gettin' in my car and takin' a drive
With tall green trees and a bright blue sky
I ain't never gonna wanna fly

I don't never feel more free
Thank cruisin' down Route 63
I don't know no better way
To get across The USA!

CHORUS x2

THE TOUGHEST AROUND

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
Janie Barnett:
keyboard

I tried my hand at writing blues. I thought about writing one of those songs that seems to be about one thing, but is really about another. A guy bragging about his toughness, but then admitting that there's one person in his life around whom he's an ol' softy. They enjoyed this song at the Brooklyn Harmonica Club!

LYRICS:
I would fight off a hundred men if they tried to take my dime
I would march through Central Park at night if it meant that I'd save time
I would crawl through the desert at high noon with no water in my canteen
I'd face down a junkyard mongrel, and show him what it means to be mean

CHORUS
'Cause I'm the toughest around, baby
I'm the toughest around, it's true
But when I look into your eyes, baby
I ain't tough when it comes to you

I would chew on broken glass if that's all there was to eat
I would walk across burning hot coals with only my bare feet
I would look a gunman in the eye and tell him to shoot
And after I shrug off the bullet, I would feed him my boot

CHORUS

I would hold a lightnin' rod in the middle of a thunderstorm
I'd pick the glass out of my teeth with a rusty nail, as the norm
I would wrestle a grizzly bear and an alligator two-on-one
I'd take a bath in molten lava, just for fun

CHORUS

Yeah, I'm the toughest around, baby
But I ain't tough when it comes to you

BAD GUY

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
Janie Barnett:
piano

I don't remember what inspired me to write a social commentary song about our society being attracted to criminals, but I'm glad I did! It's the most haunting song I've ever written, and I hope will have the influence to change the direction of the entertainment industry. I'm a self- admitted Sopranos fan, but genuinely have no love for Ice-T.....

LYRICS:
David Berkowitz was told by a dog
To go out and kill
He was called The .44 Caliber Killer
And Son Of Sam as well
Silas read about him in the headlines
And felt the city's fear
He emulated his idol's murders
And is now serving twenty years

CHORUS
Why do we admire the bad guy?
Why do we think of him with revere?
When we have so many heroes,
Why does the bad guy get the cheers?

Jeffrey Dahmer was a necrophiliac
And also a cannibal
He was like that guy in the movies
The one called Hannibal
Jonas read about him in the headlines
And loved the freedom he enjoyed
He also ate his victims
But paid for the lives he destroyed

CHORUS

The bad guy defies authority
And does what he wants to do
This is the appeal of crime
This fact is nothing new
But why do we try to duplicate
The things the bad guy wants to do?

Luigi loved gangster stories
Because of their immense power
The Corleones and The Sopranos
Lived in an ivory tower
He got to know one of Gotti's men
And tried to join the mob
He'd rather run from the law and serve jail time
Than land an honest job

CHORUS

Ice-T wrote a song about killing cops
Now he plays one on TV
Byron got the message
And went on a killing spree
An off-duty cop tried to bring him in
But he got shot in the head
Byron was finally brought to justice
And the jury declared him dead

CHORUS

BACK TO BROOKLYN

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
Janie Barnett:
guitar
Joe Melillo: tambourine

This is the true story of a boy taken out of his comfort zone in a bustling metropolis, and brought to a land of horror known as..... SUBURBIA!!! Everything in this song happened to me, and I just thought it was a great story, and a great testament to my home town that someone actually decided to return there from the surrounding suburban areas, that I had to write about it.

LYRICS:
I grew up in Bensonhurst
Near 18th Avenue on 68th Street
It's fair to say that we struggled
We didn't always know how we were gonna eat

My grandparents didn't trust the bank
They had a mattress full of twenties, tens, and fives
They left it to my Mom when they passed away
So she used it to improve our lives

We couldn't afford a house in town
So we moved to another state
They liked the peace and quiet, the grass and the trees
But I didn't think it was that great

CHORUS
So I'm goin' back, where the sidewalk's cracked
Yeah I'm goin' back to Brooklyn
I'm goin' back 'neath the subway tracks
Yeah, I'm goin' back to Brooklyn
I wanna be able to walk to the store
To do anything I want to and more
So I'm goin' back, 'cause the suburbs lack
Yeah I'm goin' back to Brooklyn

I lived with my folks after college was done
And commuted to Manhattan for work
I had to put in all sorts of crazy hours
'Cause my boss was a total jerk

We had to drive from the bus stop to get to our house
And we only had one car
And I knew by takin' taxis home every night
That my money wouldn't go far

The last bus home was at 2am
But in New York, the bars close at four
My social life took a heavy hit
What was I doin' this all for?

CHORUS

So I got a new job, and a new apartment,
And I caught up on my sleep
The subway runs all night, and only runs two bucks
So my travel costs weren't so steep

Now I own my own home, and my life is great
I hope this feelin' never ends
I'm a big part of the Bay Ridge nightlife
And over time, I made of ton of friends

I'm watchin' lots of friends move out of town
As they settle down with spouses
They want to build a better life for themselves
So they go and buy suburban houses

And that's just fine if that's what you want
People think Brooklyn's on the wrong side of the tracks
But I did that move when I was younger
And I couldn't wait to get back!

So I'm glad I'm back, where the sidewalk's cracked
Yeah I'm glad I'm back in Brooklyn
I'm glad I'm back 'neath the subway tracks
Yeah, I'm glad I'm back in Brooklyn
I'm glad to be able to walk to the store
To do anything I want to and more
So I'm glad I'm back, 'cause the suburbs lack
Yeah I'm glad I'm back in Brooklyn

Yeah I'm glad I'm back in Brooklyn

RING TO RING

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
Janie Barnett:
guitar

I've been a professional wrestling fan for about thirty years now. When my father first introduced it to my brother and I, the first thing he told us was that "it's fake". I've educated myself on the industry (including a three-day training class which literally nearly killed me) to know that "fake" is way too simple a term to describe the performance art of professional wrestling. So deciding to write a song about it was easy. What was difficult was deciding on the slant that I ultimately took. Choosing this a a career is no easy choice, and the many, many young deaths of professional wrestlers that have made the mainstream news are a testament to that. My goal is not to chastise anyone involved with wrestling, but hopefully to relate to what goes on in their minds, and maybe provide a warning to avoid the same fate as so many of their colleagues.

LYRICS:
My Mom named me Greg Evans
But I'm known as The Battle Ace
I wear a mask at work
But I'm the top babyface
I'm the current number-one contender
But soon I'll be the king
It's got to be your only goal
When you're working ring to ring

Last year I got a ruptured disk
Between vertebrae C4 and 5
I'm tryin' to avoid surgery
'Cause I know my career won't survive
I need to feed my family
So, to the arena, the fans I'll bring
You live life every day in pain
When you're living ring to ring

Next week we work in Mexico
The week after in Japan
Even though my family needs me at home
I'm workin' as hard as I can
We have a TV taping on Christmas
And a pay-per-view on Thanksgiving
I don't ever see the ones I'm working for
I'm slowly dying ring to ring

My back is makin' it hard to work
And my spirit is cryin' out
Alcohol gets me through the night
And painkillers through the bout
I watched a lot of colleagues die young
But I'm not worried 'bout anything
I'll have time to take care of myself
When I stop moving ring to ring

I'll have time to take care of myself
When I stop moving ring to ring

MUSIC IS MY LIFE

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
track composed on Band In A Box

I realized late in life how much of an influence music is in my life. I was into dancing pretty much since college, but singing came much later, and songwriting even much later than that. However, I've always had an affinity for remembering songs and lyrics, and now, combining it all, I can actually make people think I've heard a song before when I never have! I always knew, when I wrote this song, that it had to be a song in the style of '70s disco!

LYRICS:
CHORUS
Music is my life, music is my life
It always helps me avoid all strife
Yeah, music is my life, music is my life
Sometimes it's my mistress, sometimes it's my wife

Music is mastered by very few
But is loved by everyone the world through
It doesn't matter what kind you dig
It's effect on the world is really big
A handful make enough money to live
By putting into music all they can give
The rest of us do other things to keep us fed
But music is what gets us out of bed

CHORUS x2

Music is different everywhere you go
But even if it sounds like nothin' you know
It all comes from the same place
And will always leave a look on your face
Sometimes it's happy, sometimes it's sad
Sometimes it's frightened, and sometimes it's mad
But you don't have to be good looking or smart
It makes you feel with your brain and think with your heart

CHORUS x2

Hey hey hey hey, na na na na
Do do do do, la la la la
Hey hey hey hey, na na na na
Do do do do, la la la la

CHORUS REPEATED TO FADE

PERCY

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Laughing Buddha Studios and Empire State Studios
Janie Barnett:
piano
Joe Melillo: shaker

The beginning of the story is from a philosophical moral dilemma called The Hines Dilemma, which I learned about in a freshman year college class called Moral Development. The story behind the dilemma doesn't have an ending, as what Hines should do and why is left to discussion. This was the inspiration for the inquisitive nature of the chorus. It occurred to me that, if Hines (whose name was changed to Percy, because it was more musical) did steal the medicine, and went to jail so that his wife could live, then that would make for a very romantic song! This is one of Janie's favorite songs out of my entire catalog.

LYRICS:
Miranda's disease
Had never been seen before
Percy was her husband
And the news made him hurt to the core
But Doctor Starks in Wichita
Came up with a cure
Percy was ecstatic
But Doctor Starks' heart wasn't pure
He wanted 5000 dollars
For a ten-day supply
Percy sold everything he owned
But it wasn't enough to get by

CHORUS
What would Percy do?
What would Percy do?
How would he make it through?
What would Percy do?

Percy bought a bus ticket
To go to Wichita
He broke into Doctor Starks' lab
Ignoring the law
He stole the medicine
And left 300 bucks in its place
But the hidden cameras
Got a good look at his face

CHORUS

The police paid him a visit
And took him to the station
He plead guilty to the judge
And explained his situation
Percy's pleas fell on deaf ears
The judge gave him seven years
Percy served without any fear
Never did he shed a tear
The medicine worked for Miranda
She lived a long, healthy life
Percy served his time with a smile
Because he had saved his wife

Percy was proud of what he did
Percy was proud of what he did
It was a fact he never hid
Percy was proud of what he did

Percy became a free man
And returned home to his wife
He and Miranda cried for hours
The enjoyed the rest of their life

CANCUN

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
track composed on Band In A Box

I love how many songs about vacation spots aren't really about those places at all, but about people wanting to get there. Billy Joel's "Vienna" is a very inspiring song to me, but not because I've particularly wanted to visit Vienna. It's about a Type A personality like me, who's being told he needs to relax, and Vienna happens to be the place where he should go to do so. Similarly, Cancun is a beautiful place I've visited, and has never had a song written about it. So the song is sung by someone trying to get someone else to go away with him, and Cancun happens to be the place.

LYRICS:
Your job has you running wild
My job does me too
We're both too busy making money
To find fun things to do
If we don't flee from this rat race
We are gonna lose it
Life is waiting there for us
If all we do is choose it

CHORUS
Life is what you make it
We have a chance, let's take it
Let's spend a week down in Cancun
Where the sky is blue and the sun is bright
Let's run away down to Cancun
Where the water's clear and the sand is white
Let's escape down to Cancun
Where the bands will always play a song
Let's get away down to Cancun
Where the party goes on all night long

We've got house repairs to make
And lots of bills to pay
We can't keep this pace up
Not for one more day
We make all this money now
But have no time to spend it
We have the chance to connect with someone
So we should befriend it

CHORUS

CHORUS TO FADE

THE FRIEND ZONE

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
Janie Barnett:
guitar
Joe Melillo: tambourine

If you look at the rest of my Web site, you'll see that there's a section called "The Most Undesirable Human Being On The Planet". Without debating that fact (read the section for the full explanation), I just want to point out that that's why you don't see many love songs on this album. I haven't been in love very much, and I think I'm too old and cynical to really feel that to the level that a songwriter needs to feel it anymore. I CAN, however, write about all the reasons women don't WANT to fall in love with me! The fact that I fall into The Friend Zone very often is a big reason. The problem is that I can't become interested in someone romantically until I become friends with them. Apparently, many women are wired the opposite way, where they CAN'T fall in love with their friends. This is my plea to implore women to look at their friends in a different light. I'm certainly not the only person I've met to get trapped in this situation!

LYRICS:
CHORUS
They say you marry your best friend
But best friends always end up alone
They never warned you about
The loneliness of The Friend Zone

Women love their guy friends
But not as lovers
Their friends have what they want
But they're like brothers
They need a bad boy
Someone they can change
It's true what they say
Love is very strange

CHORUS

Women say their guy friends
Can make any girl happy
"Anyone would be lucky
Anyone but me"
But if another woman
Should come along
They don't like the fact
That their attention's gone

CHORUS

Where have all the good men gone?
The ones who care for your woes?
Where's a man who'll listen to me?
He's right under your nose!!

CHORUS

They say the good ones are taken
But all you gotta do is pick up the phone
If you want a guy to grow old with
Try lookin' in The Friend Zone (x3)

GREEN BEER

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
Janie Barnett:
guitar

Once I wrote Tree To The Sky, I didn't know what the theme of the surrounding songs should be on an album. I decided, rather than write other Christmas songs, I would write songs about other holidays, with a New York slant to them. Hence was born the Holidays In New York album-within-an-album on this CD. I was very excited to write The St. Patrick's Day song, because I saw writing an Irish tune as a challenge for an Italian guy. Now green beer is very hard to find in New York nowadays (which is why I bring my own green food coloring to wherever I happen to be on St. Patty's), but the sentiment is one I've heard from my Irish-born friends for a while, so I decided to poke fun at it. It's one of my more infectious songs, and the greatest compliment I got on the song was from my friend James Quigley: "Joe, that was great! And you're not even Irish!!"

LYRICS:
Oh, we love Saint Patrick's Day in New York City
The lads are tough, and the lasses all look pretty
The pipes in the parade march down Broadway here
And in every pub people are drinkin' green beer

Beer is not the only food that's colored green
Cupcakes, donuts, even green bagels can be seen
Shamrocks are stuck on cheeks, and people grin from ear to ear
Mainly because their tongues are colored with green beer

Now in Ireland we do a lot more drinkin' to Saint Pat
It's not amateur night with people wearin' leprechaun hats
You'll never see no one wearin' green flowers here
And nowhere will a barkeep be servin' green beer

But here in America we can always have our way
And we can make a mockery out of any holiday
So we'll keep shoutin' out an "Erin Go Bragh" cheer
And all day we'll be drinkin' lots of green beer (x3)

GRANDMA

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
Janie Barnett:
guitar

This song is about my family. It's written from the point of view of my brother Anthony, and his relationship with our mother, and Mom's mother (our Grandma), and about his daughter Sami, and her relationship with him, and our Mom (her Grandma). My whole family is in the song. I just wrote and performed it. I didn't write this song with Mother's Day in mind, but thought it spoke to Mother's Day very nicely when it was done, so I included it in the Holidays In New York section of the album.

LYRICS:
Mama always tucked me into bed
Mama always made sure I was fed
Mama put a steak on my eye when I was in a fight
But Grandma let me stay up late at night
Yeah, Grandma let me stay up late at night

Mama had given me my name
Mama bought me lots of video games
Mama always made sure that my medicine I'd take
But Grandma let me eat lots of cake
Yeah, Grandma let me eat lots of cake

Mama always made sure that I was well-dressed
But Grandma didn't care if I made a mess
Mama always made sure I did well in school
But Grandma always got to be real cool

Mama made sure that my face was clean
Mama bought me lots of designer jeans
Mama always helped me get my homework done
But Grandma was a lot more fun
Yeah, Grandma was a lot more fun

Now I have a child of my own
And I see how much Mama has grown
Now I'm the one who looks out for my little frau
And Mama has become Grandma now

Now I make sure my daughter's face is clean
Now I buy her those designer jeans
Now I'm the one who helps her get her homework done
But Grandma is a lot more fun
Yeah, Grandma is a lot more fun (x2)

Mama, you've grown up so fast!!

FOR ALL OF THIS AND MORE

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Laughing Buddha Studios and Empire State Studios
Janie Barnett:
piano
Joe Melillo: tambourine

When I first came up with the concept of Holidays In New York, I knew I wanted to capture the real meaning of Thanksgiving in song. While The Macy's Parade or even turkey and cranberry sauce were easy topics to cover for New York, I wanted to do more than that, . Each and every one of us has so much for which to be thankful, and we probably don't say it often enough. The song has made its way to more compilation albums than any of my other songs, and has the distinction to be the only one of my songs ever to be recorded by another singer (but be thankful I didn't include THAT version on the album)!

LYRICS:
For all the times you made sure I would be well fed
For all the times you made sure I was safe in bed
For the roof over my head
For the bandage when I bled
For all of this and more, I thank you all (x2)

For all the times you watched me try to catch the ball
For all the times you lifted me to stand up tall
For not letting me hit the wall
For grabbing me when I fall
For all of this and more, I thank you all (x2)

I thank you for the opportunity
To let me be who I wish I could be
I thank you for my health, and my prosperity
And, if I lost both, I thank you for the help you'd give to me

For all the things you made sure that I got to see
For all the times my heart could not contain my glee
For the long walks by the sea
For the right to live life free
For all of this and more, I thank you all (x2)

I thank you for my warm and cozy home
And for the urge to walk, explore, and roam
I thank you for the earth, and for the stars above
But, most of all, I thank you for showing me how to love

For all the time you took to teach me everything
For all the times you showed me all that life could bring
For all the songs we'd sing
For winter, summer, fall, and spring
For all of this and more, I thank you all (x3)

TREE TO THE SKY

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Laughing Buddha Studios
Janie Barnett:
guitar, piano
Joe Melillo: shaker

This was gonna be my ticket to stardom. Even a fledgling songwriter like me knew that writing one hit Christmas song would mean residuals for life. This would be especially true for MY Christmas song, which was the first ode to The Rockefeller Christmas Tree ever written and recorded. I was gonna perform it live on The Lighting Ceremony, and everyone across the nation would see me and hear my song on NBC!! I mean, how could Rock Center turn down my song? Well, they did. Now, if this album goes platinum, they'll have to pay through the nose to get me to perform it at The Lighting Ceremony!!  Public thanks to my office Holiday Choir, who performs this song every year!

LYRICS:
The greatest man who ever lived
Has a birthday 25th of December
He's been gone for over two thousand years
But to this very day we remember

We celebrate with family and friends
And gifts for every boy and girl
But nowhere do we celebrate Christmas
More than in the Capital Of The World

CHORUS
The holiday season is started
With the lighting of The Tree To The Sky
It's a symbol of joy, and peace, and love
And it can bring a tear to your eye
People come from miles around
To stand and skate under the tree
It's a great reminder of Christmas
In the heart of New York City

There's Santas on every corner
And lots of beautiful window displays
And the snow is fallin', but it stops no one
From enjoyin' the last shopping days

Choirs are singing, bells are ringing
Fun and laughter fill the air
But don't forget to stop by Rock Center
'Cause everybody wants to be there

CHORUS

The star on the top stands for Jesus
But the lights are every woman and man
They shine in lots of different colors
Just like the people of Manhattan

The season reminds us how special
Are the ones that we hold dear
It only lasts about a month
But you can keep it in your heart all year

CHORUS x3

PARKER THE PLATYPUS

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Laughing Buddha Studios
Janie Barnett:
keyboard

This song has existed since the beginning of time. I am honored that it chose me to give it form. When it first tapped me on the shoulder, I couldn't figure out why no one had written ANYTHING (song, story, fortune cookie fortune) about a platypus not fitting into the animal kingdom, and using it to relate to people who don't feel like they fit in to whatever it is they're supposed to fit? It was so clear to me that the writing process for this song was the easiest one I'd ever experienced, to this day!! I knew immediately it would be a children's book, and I am so very proud of my illustrator, my niece Sami Melillo, for wanting to be part of the creative team to create the book! It has certainly been my greatest artistic achievement ever, and I thank everyone who has supported Parker from the day he first tapped me on the shoulder.

LYRICS:
In the days when animals ruled the world
There lived a platypus named Parker
He had no friends with whom to play
During the day, or when it got darker

You see, a platypus is a funny sort
With a body and tail like a beaver
But it has a bill and webbed feet like a duck
You'd think it came from a dreamweaver

Parker had tried to make some friends
By going to visit the ducks
But try as he might to win them over
Parker had no such luck

"I was hatched from an egg," he'd say to them
"And I can swim just like all of you!"
"But you have no feathers or wings," they'd reply
"And can't fly up in the sky of blue!"

Parker then visited the beavers
Still hoping to find a few friends
"Look at my flat tail and fur," he said
"True," said the beavers, "but that's where it ends!"

"You have a weird bill on the front of your face!
That's no good for building a dam!
You need claws and teeth for chopping down trees!
You're no help! Go on and scram!"

So Parker walked along by himself
Trying to hold back his tears
He thought about never having a friend
When he heard loud screams of fear

A hungry tiger had wandered along
And caught a beaver and a duck
He was just about to eat them for lunch
But that's when Parker struck

He used the barb on the back of his foot
To cause the tiger great pain
He let them go and he ran away
And he never came back again

Parker soon had a ton of friends
And they played lots of different games
For they all learned that appearance means nothing
We're all animals just the same
Sing it again!
We're all animals just the same
One more time!
We're all animals just the same

RHYMIN' FOOL

music by Joe Melillo
recorded at Empire State Studios
Joe Melillo:
shaker

This is technically the first rap song I ever wrote. I'm not particularly fond of rap, but children can relate to it, so I reserve it for children's songs. It's just a cute little thing I wrote when I realized my gift of rhyming, which hit me after all the creative rhyming I've done in my songwriting. It's also the basis for my outgoing answering machine message on my home phone.

LYRICS:
Hey, you can try to be hip or cool
But not me, man, I'm the rhymin' fool
I ain't got the look, I ain't got the clothes
But I can make a rhyme with my eyes closed!

I rhyme in the east, I rhyme in the west
There's no one better, 'cause I'm the best!
Gimme a word, and I'll be sure to rhyme it
Check how fast I am, go ahead and time it!

Wanna know my secret? Well, here's the scoop
I practice rhymin' when I'm takin' a..... loop-
De-loop in an airplane
Hey, I rhyme when I fly past a weather vane

I'm rhymin' right away, right from the start
I can even rhyme in the middle of a..... dart
'Cross the finish line in a race
Can you see the rhymin' look on my face?

People give me words they say can't be done
But I rhyme 'em right away, it's a lot of fun!
They say there's no rhyme for the word "purple"
I got so mad, I gave my dog a fur pull!

Heh-heh!!

They say there's no rhyme for the word "orange"
I got so mad, I slammed the door off the door hinge!

Ha ha!!!

They say there's no rhyme for the word "silver"
Man, there's got to be SOME rhymin' word I can pilfer!!

That one was tough, so it's close enough!

They say there's no rhyme for the word "month".....
So how come it's called the first of the month..... and not the "oneth"?!?!

That was a stretch, but a rhyme I did fetch!!

So once again, I'm the rhymin' fool!!
I hope you learned that I rhyme as a rule!!
Thanks very much for taggin' along
But it's time to end my rhymin' story

Hey, just seein' if you were awake!
'Cause, if you weren't, my rhymes would give you a shake!
But really, thanks for taggin' along!
But now here's the end of my rhymin' song!!

No, really, that's it. I'm done. No more rhyming. Turn the stereo off.

PARKER HELPS HUBERT THE HIPPOPOTAMUS

music by Joe Melillo
recorded at Empire State Studios
Joe Melillo:
keyboard
Tommie "Sox" Panazzolo: bass, drum machine

Upon the success of Parker The Platypus, I knew the book had to be a series. This was the first song in the series that was centered around an animal that wasn't Parker. I used other animals to help kids deal with problems they might be experencing, especially problems with trying to fit in. It wasn't until I wrote about six or seven Parker songs that I realized that these were problems that *I* dealt with as a child!  The book Parker Helps Hubert The Hippopotamus is ALSO now available for purchase!

LYRICS:
Hey, what's up? My name is Hubert,
And I'm a hippopotamus!
Let me tell you why I like being me,
Even though my size is plus!

You see, because I'm really chunky,
I was teased by everyone!
They call me Fatty, Chubby, and Tub Of Lard,
But their favorite was Two Tons Of Fun!

I mean, I'd always exercise,
And always try to eat right,
But, no matter what I did,
It would never make me light!

One day, I was crying in the gym,
Wondering why they had to be rude!
I was bawling like a mighty river,
When in walked in this strange dude!

He had a duck bill, but a flat hairy tail!
I didn't know what he was!
I talked to him, and I found out
That he was a platypus!

"My name's Parker," the strange guy said,
"Tell me why you look so sad!"
"No one likes me because I'm fat!
It really, really makes me mad!"

"Well, you're in the gym, so you're very healthy!
That could be a problem when you're big!
But you're OK, so it shouldn't matter
What people think of you, you dig?"

"My friends and I are playing frisbee
This afternoon in the park.
Why don't you come and join us?
It might be a real lark!"

"People used to make fun of me,
But now they see I'm really neat!
They'll see the same about you,
If you stand firm on your own four feet!"

So I met eight of Parker's friends,
And I threw it farther than all nine!
I also jumped highest to catch the frisbee!
We really had an awesome time!!

So now I have a lot of friends,
Thanks to Parker The Platypus,
And you can see why I'm proud
To be Hubert The Hippopotamus!

HAGOP HAGOPIAN

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
Janie Barnett:
guitar
Joe Melillo: tambourine

I got motivated to write a song about a guy with a funny name like "John Jacob Jingleheiner Schmidt" who loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Luckily, I had a name available to me: my college buddy Hagop Hagopian. He likes to say that his name isn't that funny, because "Hagop" is just "Jacob" in Armenian, and "ian" means "son of" in Armenian. "So it's really just Jacob Jacobson in Armenian!" My response is always: "Maybe, but Jacob Jacobson is a pretty funny name!" While Gopi (as we call him) likes peanut butter and jelly very much, he doesn't like it to the degree that the song suggests!

LYRICS:
I got a pal named Hagop Hagopian
And he just loves to eat his food
It doesn't matter what kind it is
He always says: "Man, this is good!"

My pal, Hagop Hagopian (x3)
Yeah, he always says: "Man, this is good!"

His favorite food in the world is sandwiches
Made with peanut butter and jelly
He loves it when it's on his plate
But he loves it more when it's in his belly

My pal, Hagop Hagopian (x3)
Yeah, he loves it more when it's in his belly

The peanut butter can be chunky or creamy
Honey roasted or organic
If he goes a day without PB & J
Then Hagop Hagopian starts to panic

My pal, Hagop Hagopian (x3)
Yeah, Hagop Hagopian starts to panic

He can use jelly, preserves, or jam
Strawberry, raspberry, orange, or grape
If a restaurant doesn't serve PB & J
Then Hagop Hagopian will try to escape

My pal, Hagop Hagopian (x3)
Yeah, Hagop Hagopian will try to escape

You can't go wrong with what the sandwich is on
'Cause the number of breads he hates is zero
White, whole wheat, pumpernickel, or rye
But his favorite is PB & J on a hero

My pal, Hagop Hagopian (x3)
Yeah, his favorite is PB & J on a hero

So if you're ever eating peanut butter and jelly
Whether it's for breakfast, dinner, or lunch
Be sure to invite Hagop Hagopian
And he'll be glad to show you how to munch

My pal, Hagop Hagopian (x3)
Yeah, he'll be glad to show you how to munch

My pal, Hagop Hagopian
Yeah, he'll be glad to show you how to munch

PARKER BEFRIENDS BERTRAM THE BAT

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
track composed on Band In A Box

Another Parker song. Another new animal friend. Another problem Parker will help him overcome. The things that are different are a) I REALLY like the melody Janie and I came up with, and b) I'm pretty sure it's the only children's song in history to make use of the word "stalactite".

LYRICS:
Bertram The Bat was really, really smart,
But he couldn't see too well.
His vision was so bad that he couldn't tell
What the stores were trying to sell.

He finally had to go see Doctor Dachshund,
Who took a good, hard look at his eyes.
"Your problem is easily fixed with glasses,"
Doctor Dachshund said, to Bertram's surprise.

Bertram didn't want to wear his glasses.
He thought they made him look ugly,
And everyone else would make fun of him.
He'd almost rather not be able to see.

But he decided to wear them
After the third time he bumped into a rock.
He met all his friends out by the cave,
And what they saw on his face gave them shock!

They called him "Four Eyes" and "Soda Bottles"
And lots of other different names.
And, for fear of his glasses falling off,
They wouldn't let him join in the games.

"We're going exploring in the cave,
But don't you come with us!
Because we're afraid that you're so blind,
That you'll only get us lost!"

The only one who didn't make fun
Was Parker The Platypus.
He knew what it was like to be left out,
So he said, "Go in the cave, if you must!"

"I'm going to stay out here with Bertram,
And we're going to play Go Fish!
The cave seems too dark to go exploring,
But you can go ahead, if you wish!"

So the other animals went into the cave,
But it got so very dark.
They were leaving pebbles to find their way out,
But they couldn't see their marks.

They finally realized that there was no way
That they could find their way out.
They were all getting so afraid,
So they began to shout!

"Help us! We're lost! We can't get out!
Please come! We need to be saved!"
Bertram heard them, dropped his cards,
And flew right into the cave.

He used his sonar to find his way
Around the stalactites.
He found the others, and led them out,
And soon, everyone was all right!

"You see," Parker said, "everyone has things
In which they're not very able,
But they have other awesome skills!
So don't give anyone labels!"

Everyone had a good time playing cards,
But that's not where the story ends!
Bertram turned and whispered to Parker,
"Thanks for being a great friend!" (x3)

OFF TO DREAMLAND

music by Joe Melillo and Janie Barnett
recorded at Empire State Studios
Janie Barnett:
keyboard

I set out to write a lullaby. I mean a REAL lullaby that would put babies to sleep. I tested it against the toughest critics (crying babies), and it seems to work! It's at the end of the album, in case it puts you to sleep as well!

LYRICS:
Good night, little one
It's time to close your eyes
And go off to a land
With green grass and blue skies

The sun will always shine
Even through the night
And you can always play
Outside in the light

The water's always warm
And full of friendly fish
And anything can happen
Anything you wish

It's a fun, safe place
And when your time is through
You will come back here
And start the day anew

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