Bell Biv DeVoe Issue “Poison” Warning

Certain songs immediately send you back in time from the opening riff. Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison” is definitely one of those songs.

From the very first drum (pad) hits, you are once again with Ronnie, (no Bobby,) Ricky and Mike (DeVoe, Bell and Bivins, respectively) — a three-man followup made up of group members from New Edition. The hip-hop/R&B trio released their album’s title track in 1990 ushering in a new sound definitively of its time.


“Poison” is also one of those songs that rides that thin line of nostalgia between making you “aw yeah!” or “oh no!” when you hear it. Where you are on that spectrum definitely says something about you. (I’m a proud “Aw yeah!”)

Among others, former NE bandmates Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill and Bobby Brown are given shout-outs in the song. This was perhaps my first encounter with the “shout-out.” (I was that kid who’d record the song from the radio and hit rewind/pause/play until I figured out all the lyrics and wrote them down.) (Old man voice: “Kids these days and their Googles!”…”Get off my lawn!”)

I won’t get into the graphic details revealed in the song about said Poison(ous) lady, it suffices to say: she is not good news. But, if there’s anything to learn from the song, it’s: “Never trust a big butt and smile.” Truer words, BBD, truer words…


Oh, no! It’s Mr. Yuk!

When I was young, I was taken to the emergency room because I had downed a bunch of purple (grape flavored) medicine. For some reason, I associate that experience with “Mr. Yuk”.

Mr. Yuk is a character that is supposed to keep children away from poison, cleaning fluids and paint. Parents could opt to place green-round stickers on things that children should avoid in the house. However, the fluorescent green color wasn’t yucky enough, but actually attractive to a young child – like moth to a flame.

Here is a link to a 70s era PSA which is a terrifying combination of fire, knives, psychedelic images and out of control appliances.

The throbbing, wheezing moog synthesizer soundtrack combined with the stylized cartoon graphics was enough to send any child running out of the room in fear. Especially in the 70s when electronic sounds were new and strange to the ears.

This had to be one of the scariest things on TV since Sesame Street decided to help kids learn to count to 10. Mr Nobody – a strange disembodied head that spoke numbers in front of GGI squiggly lines and a bubbling Moog soundtrack, also had children running out of the room in fear (check out the youtube comments on this video)

I sure miss those days of hiding behind the couch!