If the song “I’ve Got a Tiger in My Tank” —credited on Soundsville! to the Beachnuts — sounds like a commercial, there’s a reason for that. According to the extremely helpful web page “A pre-VU discography,” it was “originally a commercial Jerry Vance [part of the Pickwick songwriting team] made for Esso.”
“Tiger” is bouncy, chipper, a little shrill. 30 seconds would be enough.
Pickwick also released a different mix, with much more tiger, as a single by “the Intimates.” I like this one better; the roars are a welcome distraction, adding an eccentric, Lee Perry–style touch.
It’s entirely possible that Lou Reed had no involvement in this song; his songwriting credit may have been just a contractual matter. He’s all over the next one, though, which is also a Beachnuts jam.
“Filled with Reedian characters and his playful love of three-chord rock and roll,” says author Victor Bockris, “‘Cycle Annie’ would have fitted just as well on Loaded.’” Well, maybe… I guess it’s not any goofier than “Lonesome Cowboy Bill.” Though it aspires to be dangerous — you don’t have to try too hard to hear it as “Psycho Annie” — the scariest thing it can say about Annie is that when her boyfriend Joe gets on the bike, “it’s Joe sits behind.”
“Cycle Annie” had a longer shelf life than most Pickwick product; it appeared a few years later on an odds-and-ends collection called Out of Sight, and in 1998 was unearthed again for a Japanese collection of Sixties rarities. Even Lou himself, who was usually dismissive of his work-for-hire compositions, was inclined to agree that it was a good tune. I’d like to think that Steve Martin was a fan, and that “Annie” inspired this scene:
Is that a stretch? Probably, but it’s good to stay limber. Over and out for now.