Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Afternoon Delights - General Hospi-Tale (1981)

General Hospi-Tale
b/w General Hospi-Tale (Instrumental)

Released: July, 1981 (MCA)
Written by: Harry King & Lisa Tedesco
Produced by: Harry King
Album: General Hospi-Tale

Note: when I label a song a "Lost AT40 Single," I'm only speaking for myself.  Your mileage may vary.

So I'm listening to a rerun of the American Top 40 broadcast from October 3, 1981 and sandwiched between songs from legendary artists John Lennon and Simon & Garfunkel, I heard words I hadn't heard in 33 years:

"I just can't cope without my soap!"

"General Hospi-Tale" was a rap parody of the soap opera General Hospital in which a female voice rapped basic plot lines from the show over a disco beat.  In addition to the rapping, re-created soap opera dialogue is interspersed throughout.  The chorus was sung by a mostly female backing group, ending with the aforementioned punchline.  There's also an occasional yakety sax line that is catchy as hell and sticks in your head for days.

I can't speak to the accuracy of the rap as I didn't watch General Hospital.  My sister was a Guiding Light fan, which meant that if I wanted to watch a soap, it had to be that. I tried it for a while in the summer of '81, but quickly realized soap operas weren't my thing.  However, General Hospital was earning more than $50 million a year in profits in 1981 and was watched by over 14 million people every day. In other words, this single had a built-in audience.  A month after this single peaked, the marriage of popular characters Luke and Laura would net a viewership of 30 million people—the highest rated soap opera episode ever.

On the October 3 AT40 show, "General Hospi-Tale" was "up a notch" at position 33, which would be its peak chart position (it would peak at #23 on the R&B chart around the same time).  The song spent a total of 5 weeks in the Top 40.  Originally a single-only release, an album was hastily put together in order to cash in on the single's (minor) success, but never saw the album charts.

I can't in good conscience give this a good grade, but that doesn't mean that it isn't worth a listen every few years.

Note: there are better recordings available on the interwebs, but I had to include this one because Solid Gold.


  1. Like your sister, I was a Guiding Light fan. My brother and cousin were both into General Hospital. That said, I owned this on a 45 because it was a great novelty song. From what I know, the lyrics were very accurate to the plotline.

  2. FYI: the group came from Boston and consisted of Rebecca Hall, Suzanne Boucher, Janet Powell and Robalee Barnes. They took their name from the Starland Band's number 1 hit from 1976.

  3. Track 20, Disc 1 of my mammoth 7-disc Rhino Like, Omigod! The '80s Pop Culture Box... A 'D+' pretty much tells the whole "tale".