As far as catchy palindromes go, boob is a pretty good one. Certainly, there’s no denying it grabs your attention. And since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, radio station KFOG/San Francisco has released the charity single, “Boob Spelled Backwards Is Boob,” a song written by morning host Mike “No Name” Nelson’s 8-year-old son Archer as a way of dealing with his mom’s battle with breast cancer.
To rewind just a bit: No Name’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2014, and as morning radio guys tend to do, he shared this very personal experience with his co-hosts Renee Richardson and “Irish” Greg McQuaid – as well as the entire San Francisco Bay Area. The calls poured in, and after a very emotional morning, McQuaid couldn’t help thinking about ways he, the radio station and the Bay Area community could help.
An idea germinated one morning when No Name shared the story of seeing his son put a round piece of paper into a CD player with the words “Boob Spelled Backwards Is Boob” written on it. When No Name asked what he was doing, Archer told him he had a song stuck in his head called “Boob Spelled Backwards Is Boob,” and wanted to hear what it sounded like. Looking for a way to involve the musicians who regularly stop by the radio station, McQuaid’s idea was to make this imaginary song a reality, and have the artists who stop by bring it life.
Perhaps it was because McQuaid was born in Ireland, or just that he was young and impressionable in 1985, but his vision for the Boob Project (or #BoobProject as it was dubbed) was to have each visiting artist record a line or two, or lay down an instrumental track while at the station, a la fellow Irishman’s Bob Geldof’s “We Are the World.” Archer wrote out the lyrics and slowly the song started to take shape:
I imagine that I’m floating on a gentle river
I’m moving fast down a waterfall, and I’m falling, falling to my end
Never forget the good things in life… candy, life, eating, having fun…
because the end all that matters, all that matters is you
I am dreaming that I am a leaf on a tree, I’m swaying all around in the breeze
But then a crow jumps out and I fall… and I get covered in weeds
But never forget the good things in life… like candy, life, eating, having fun…
because the end all that matters, all that matters is you… yes you
Boob spelled backwards is boob
I am wonderin’ why I am here in this garden
but when someone comes out to water me
I’m feeling energized just like the sun
the sun is shining down on me
Never forget the good things in life… like candy, life, eating, having fun…
because the end all that matters, all that matters is you… is you… is you… is you
Boob spelled backwards is boob
Over the course of a year, an impressive number of artists agreed to lend a hand with the #BoobProject, including Matt Nathanson, Hozier, Vance Joy, Michael Franti, ZZ Ward, Spandau Ballet, Noel Gallagher, Graham Nash, ALO, Phil Lesh, Florence Welch (Florence and the Machine), among others. In fact, Welch was so taken with the trippy, child-like lyrics (well, they were penned by an 8-year-old, after all) she asked if she could sing the entire second verse. With help from local artist Megan Slankard, who sketched out the initial vocal track for the artists to follow and took on the herculean task of mixing more than 60 tracks, The Boob Project’s “Boob Spelled Backwards Is Boob” is now a reality.
Take a look at the “We Are the World”-styled video, listen to our “Thinking Pink: Songs for Breast Cancer Awareness” playlist, or click here for the #BoobProject’s breast cancer fundraising page.