Musical Discovery: Alvin Dahn

‘Imagine Ned Flanders singing in an ‘80s hair-metal band’. This is all I knew of Alvin Dahn before listening to his magnus opus “You’re Driving Me Mad”. If the previous quote doesn’t fill you with expectations of grandeur there may be something wrong.

Alvin Dahn

Alvin Dahn

However, I am a firm believe that hype can kill many great movies, books and songs. You get your hopes up, you start forming preconceived notions that are based solely in your expectations and many times when someone says something is great you go in wanting to dislike it. It’s the contrarian in all of us.

However. Alvin Dahn completely lived up to my high expectations and then some. This song is so completely and utterly bizarre, hilarious, dead-pan and straight up bad. Not only did the song meet my expectations (based on ‘Ned Flanders singing metal’) but gave them a firm hand shake and took them out for a nice dinner, after which they became life-long friends. They still call each other regularly.

Unfortunately the video is not actually of Dahn, but it’s the only video of this song I could find on youtube:

I’ve lifted a description of Dahn and this song written originally by Irwin Chusid, writer of the invaluable book and compiler of the invaluable CD both of the same title: ‘Songs in the Key of Z’.

Former college custodial engineer and mausoleum crypt salesman Alvin Dahn penned “You’re Driving Me Mad” while seething over his ex-wife and his boss. Convinced that pop stardom beckoned, he forked over a wad of borrowed cash and, with top-notch session players, recorded an album at a Buffalo, NY studio. Self-taught on 50 instruments and imbued with a “determination and desire to make [a] mark in the music industry.” Dahn genre-surfed from country to ballads to disco in a voice that’ll never be mistaken for Mel Tormé. By the time he was finished, so were his finances, and the album remains unreleased. Dahn no longer writes or plays music, due to arthritis and money woes, but he did compose the theme to a local religious cable TV show. “I prayed,” said Alvin, ” and the Lord gave me a song.”

Further Reading: