THE TOP 50 ERA-DEFINING SONGS OF THE 1950S

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Scarlotti

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Jul 8, 2003, 11:43:26 PM7/8/03
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These are the songs that define the era for me (technically, my top 50
picks from the songs that define the era).

In Alphabetical Order:

1) AGAIN - Gordon Jenkins (Joe Graydon, vocal)
2) APRIL LOVE - Pat Boone
3) BEWITCHED - Doris Day
4) CRY - Johnnie Ray
5) DON'T BE CRUEL - Elvis Presley
6) THE GLOW-WORM - The Mills Brothers
7) GOODNIGHT IRENE - The Weavers
8) HERE IN MY HEART - Al Martino
9) I BELIEVE - Frankie Laine
10) I CAN DREAM, CAN'T I? - The Andrews Sisters
11) JEALOUSY - Frankie Laine
12) JEZEBEL - Frankie Laine
13) JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN - Johnnie Ray
14) KISS OF FIRE - Georgia Gibbs
15) A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON - Louis Armstrong
16) LET ME GO, LOVER - Joan Weber
17) LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT - Kitty Kallen
18) THE LITTLE WHITE CLOUD THAT CRIED - Johnnie Ray & The Four Lads
19) LOVE ME TENDER - Elvis Presley
20) LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING - The Four Aces
21) LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND - Pat Boone
22) LOVING YOU - Elvis Presley
23) MONA LISA - Nat "King" Cole
24) MOONLIGHT GAMBLER - Frankie Laine
25) MUSIC! MUSIC! MUSIC! - Teresa Brewer
26) RAGS TO RICHES - Tony Bennett
27) RETURN TO ME (RITTORNA A ME) - Dean Martin
28) THE ROCK AND ROLL WALTZ - Kay Starr
29) ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK - Bill Haley & The Comets
30) THE ROVING KIND - Guy Mitchell
31) SIDE BY SIDE - Kay Starr
32) SINGIN' IN THE RAIN - Gene Kelly (Soundtrack)
33) A SINNER AM I - Johnnie Ray
34) SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES - The Platters
35) THE SONG FROM MOULIN ROUGE - Percy Faith (Felicia Sanders, vocal)
36) SYMPHONY - Jo Stafford
37) TAMMY - Debbie Reynolds
38) TENNESSEE WALTZ - Patti Page
39) THAT LUCKY OLD SUN - Frankie Laine
40) THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN - The Four Aces
41) TILL I WALTZ AGAIN WITH YOU - Teresa Brewer
42) TOO YOUNG - Nat "King" Cole
43) TRUE LOVE - Bing Crosby & Grace Kelly
44) UNFORGETTABLE - Nat "King" Cole
45) WALKIN' MY BABY BACK HOME - Johnnie Ray
46) THE WAYWARD WIND - Gogi Grant
47) WHATEVER WILL BE, WILL BE (QUE SERA, SERA) - Doris Day
48) WHEEL OF FORTUNE - Kay Starr
49) WISHING RING - Joni James
50) YOU BELONG TO ME - Jo Stafford

Bobby

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Jul 8, 2003, 11:59:34 PM7/8/03
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No matter how many lists you post, they all look the same. The 50's are
commonly referred to as the rock & roll era. What is your name for it since
it obviously contains no of r&r?


Scarlotti

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Jul 9, 2003, 9:14:35 AM7/9/03
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"Bobby" <koreaS...@ctc-pac.com> wrote in message news:<beg1rd$734$1...@news1.kornet.net>...

> No matter how many lists you post, they all look the same. The 50's are
> commonly referred to as the rock & roll era. What is your name for it since
> it obviously contains no of r&r?

I'm still torn between The Great American Music Era and The Classic
Popular Music Era.

Btw: The R&R-oriented charts look even more similar to me. ;)

Scarlotti

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Jul 9, 2003, 2:56:06 PM7/9/03
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From Bobby's post, it occurs to me that I should, perhaps, define my
terminology and criteria:

Era-defining songs are the songs which were among the most popular
*during* the era itself. They are the songs that people who were
alive during that era would most remember (the majority of people,
that is). For example: CRY was the #1 song for 11 weeks and, like
KISS OF FIRE, LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT, TAMMY and many other songs on
my list, it stayed in the Top 40 for approximately half a year.
TENNESSEE WALTZ is generally considered to have been *the* biggest
record of the entire decade. If you were alive at the time, you
couldn't help but have heard these songs.

As important as many in this group feel that R&R songs were, few of
them had anywhere near this level of popularity. R&R songs from the
era have often gained their present reputation through succeeding
generations having rediscovered them on "Best of" albums. Many of
Chuck Berry's songs, for just one example, have a higher place in the
R&R canon *today* than they ever did in the 1950s.

Calling the 1950s "the R&R era" is a misnomer applied to it after the
fact by advocates of the Great R&R Myth. R&R came into being in the
1950s, but it didn't come to dominate Classic Pop until the very end
of the era (1959 -- and then only partially so).

The supposed "R&R Era" began in 1950 and ended in 1959. R&R didn't
gain national prominence until 1955 -- halfway through the decade.
And, even then, it didn't dominate the charts until 1959 -- the final
year of the era. How does one justify applying this phrase to 1953
when the year's Top 10 songs were:

1. Song From Moulin Rouge, Percy Faith
2. Vaya Con Dios, Les Paul & Mary Ford
3. Doggie In The Window, Patti Page
4. I'm Walking Behind You, Eddie Fisher
5. You, You, You, Ames Brothers
6. Till I Waltz Again With You, Teresa Brewer
7. April In Portugal, Les Baxter
8. No Other Love, Perry Como
9. Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes, Perry Como
10. I Believe, Frankie Laine

Classic Popular Music, on the other hand, remained popular
*throughout* the entire decade. Obviously, if any one genre of music
is going to be chosen to represent the decade of the 1950s (represent
what the majority of people were actually listening to), that genre is
going to have to be Classic Pop.

There are probably at least 200 songs which qualify as Era-Defining.
This list notes *my* personal favorites out of those that qualify.

RealWildChild

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Jul 12, 2003, 1:25:25 PM7/12/03
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On 9 Jul 2003 11:56:06 -0700, Scar...@searchhawkmail.com (Scarlotti)
wrote:

>From Bobby's post, it occurs to me that I should, perhaps, define my
>terminology and criteria:
>
>Era-defining songs are the songs which were among the most popular
>*during* the era itself.

...

>Calling the 1950s "the R&R era" is a misnomer applied to it after the
>fact by advocates of the Great R&R Myth. R&R came into being in the
>1950s, but it didn't come to dominate Classic Pop until the very end
>of the era (1959 -- and then only partially so).
>

In the UK the dominance of Classic Pop may have come to an end before
1959. R&R may even have drawn level with Classic Pop by 1956.

For 1956, the ten most successful artists in the UK, in terms of chart
position:
Points
1 Bill Haley & His Comets 75.88 R&R
2 Elvis Presley 52.41 R&R
3 Lonnie Donegan 35.85 R&R
4 Pat Boone 31.62 Both?
5 Winifred Atwell 29.32 POP?
6 Ronnie Hilton 28.26 POP
7 Perry Como 22.90 POP
8 Nat King Cole 22.46 POP
9 Teresa Brewer 22.30 POP
10 Frankie Laine 21.79 POP

Pat Boone's big hit was "I'll Be Home". Other top 10 hits of his
include "Long Tall Sally" and "I Almost Lost My Mind"

Now let's look at 1957:

1 Elvis Presley 84.88 R&R
2 Pat Boone 64.10 ???
3 Lonnie Donegan 48.75 R&R
4 Harry Belafonte 45.76 POP?
5 Johnnie Ray 40.53 ???
6 Guy Mitchell 39.70 R&R
7 Tommy Steele 38.47 R&R
8 Little Richard 33.67 R&R
9 Frankie Vaughan 31.64 ???
10 Paul Anka 30.20 R&R

Pat Boone's hits include: "Love Letters In The Sand",
"Don't Forbid Me", "Friendly Persuasion" and
"Remember You're Mine/There's A Goldmine In The Sky"

Johnnie Ray: "Yes Tonight Josephine" and "Look Homeward Angel"

Frankie Vaughan: "Garden Of Eden", "Man On Fire"
"Gotta Have Something In The Bank Frank" and
"Kisses Sweeter Than Wine"

Even if these records fall into the Classic Pop category, it still
looks like R&R was dominant by 1957 (in the UK at least).


Geoff

How were the points calculated?

"First we took 0.75 points for a week at No. 1, 0.74 - for a week at
No. 2 etc. down to 0.01 for a week at No. 75. Then in each week, we
added on to that another factor to increase the importance of the top
few positions. (This is e (2.718) to the power of minus half the chart
position and works out at 0.61 for a No. 1, 0.37 for a No. 2, but only
0.007 for a No. 10 - dying away rapidly). Finally we multiplied the
result by a number that increases as the year increases but is always
near 1, to take into account the larger sales at Christmas, and the
smaller sales in the New Year".

Bruce R. Gilson

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Jul 24, 2003, 5:29:14 PM7/24/03
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Scar...@searchhawkmail.com (Scarlotti) wrote in message news:<4c6e579a.03070...@posting.google.com>...

While I tend more to agree than to disagree with your comments, I
think the point where R&R superseded Classic Pop was slightly earlier.
(I _do_ have a bone to pick with you in your omission of my own
personal favorite, "Secret Love," by Doris Day :) But that's not the
major point I'm making here.) In 1955, R&R started to appear; by 1957,
I think it really had taken over; not 1959, I repeat, but 1957. Now
even as late as 1959 there were Classic Pop songs on the charts: at
this time in 1959 (July 25-dated Cash Box) Frank Sinatra had "High
Hopes" on the chart (but way down at #39), for example. But already by
1957 (I'll go again with the date nearest to today: July 20) the top
10 positions looked like this:

1 (Let Me Be Your) TEDDY BEAR (Elvis Presley)
2 LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND (Pat Boone)
3 BYE BYE LOVE (Everly Brothers)
4 SO RARE (Jimmy Dorsey & Orchestra)
5 IT'S NOT FOR ME TO SAY (Johnny Mathis)
6 I'M GONNA SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER (Billy
Williams)
7 SEARCHIN' (Coasters)
8 OLD CAPE COD (Patti Page)
9 DARK MOON (Gale Storm; Bonnie Guitar)
10 (Main Theme) AROUND THE WORLD (Victor Young & Orchestra;
Mantovani & Orchestra)

Already a lot that would be called R&R; though still some great
Classic Pop songs as well.

Bruce

Scarlotti

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Jul 25, 2003, 12:18:54 PM7/25/03
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b...@post.com (Bruce R. Gilson) wrote in message news:<c78edf3c.03072...@posting.google.com>...

> While I tend more to agree than to disagree with your comments, I
> think the point where R&R superseded Classic Pop was slightly earlier.

I think you're the third person to take me to task on that point (here
and in another thread). I agree that R&R began to make its presence
known on the charts in 57, but... well, look at the Top Ten songs from
the Chart you posted below:

1 (Let Me Be Your) TEDDY BEAR (Elvis Presley)

This is R'n'R. But it's a very Pop-Oriented form of R'n'R to say the
least.

2 LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND (Pat Boone)

Pop Standard.

3 BYE BYE LOVE (Everly Brothers)

Whether the Everly Brothers are R'n'R or Country will probably always
be subject to debate. I consider them R'n'R. But they're the kind of
R'n'R that I listen to -- which means it's IMO a direct continuation
of Pop.

4 SO RARE (Jimmy Dorsey & Orchestra)

Big Band

5 IT'S NOT FOR ME TO SAY (Johnny Mathis)

Pop Standard.

6 I'M GONNA SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER (Billy
Williams)

I'm not familiar with the Billy Williams version, but the song is a
Pop Standard.

7 SEARCHIN' (Coasters)

R&B. Not really R'n'R in my opinion, as it lacks a distinct melody,
and never comes close to having any "kick".

8 OLD CAPE COD (Patti Page)

Pop Standard.

9 DARK MOON (Gale Storm; Bonnie Guitar)

Pop Standard.

10 (Main Theme) AROUND THE WORLD (Victor Young & Orchestra;
Mantovani & Orchestra)

Pop Standard.

That's 6 Pop Standards, 1 Big Band, 1 R&B, and 2 Pop Rocks. I don't
see that as R&R having taken over.

The Charts pretty much continue through most of 58 with Pop Standards
either dominating, or going neck and neck with R'n'R. It's not until
59 that R'n'R really becomes dominant -- and even then, we find Guy
Mitchell taking the #1 spot. And how does one classify other Chart
Toppers like Bobby Darin's MACK THE KNIFE, Johnny Horton's THE BATTLE
OF NEW ORLEANS and the Platters' SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES? (As these
are all among my favorite songs, I tend to think of them as Classic
Pop, but I'll grant that the R'n'R crowd has equal claim to them.)

> (I _do_ have a bone to pick with you in your omission of my own
> personal favorite, "Secret Love," by Doris Day :) But that's not the
> major point I'm making here.)

SECRET LOVE definitely rates as one of the era's defining songs. I'd
just listed my personal favorites from the biggies.

Bruce R. Gilson

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Jul 26, 2003, 10:51:20 AM7/26/03
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Scar...@searchhawkmail.com (Scarlotti) wrote in message news:<4c6e579a.03072...@posting.google.com>...

> b...@post.com (Bruce R. Gilson) wrote in message news:<c78edf3c.03072...@posting.google.com>...
>
> > While I tend more to agree than to disagree with your comments, I
> > think the point where R&R superseded Classic Pop was slightly earlier.
>
> I think you're the third person to take me to task on that point (here
> and in another thread). I agree that R&R began to make its presence
> known on the charts in 57, but... well, look at the Top Ten songs from
> the Chart you posted below:
>
> 1 (Let Me Be Your) TEDDY BEAR (Elvis Presley)
>
> This is R'n'R. But it's a very Pop-Oriented form of R'n'R to say the
> least.

More R'n'R than Pop, IMO.

>
> 2 LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND (Pat Boone)
>
> Pop Standard.

A tough call. Pat Boone was at the time considered R'n'R, but his
style is so close to Pop that it's not certain how to classify it.

>
> 3 BYE BYE LOVE (Everly Brothers)
>
> Whether the Everly Brothers are R'n'R or Country will probably always
> be subject to debate. I consider them R'n'R. But they're the kind of
> R'n'R that I listen to -- which means it's IMO a direct continuation
> of Pop.

Country? Never heard _anyone_ call them Country. But you consider them
R'n'R, so you won't quarrel with my calling them so. And though
they're the kind of R'n'R that you listen to (though, as I've said
before, _I_ don't like the Everlys except for 2 songs, and this isn't
one of them!) they still count as R'n'R.

>
> 4 SO RARE (Jimmy Dorsey & Orchestra)
>
> Big Band

No question you're right. Of course, probably the _only_ Big Band song
to chart in the whole post-1955 era!


>
> 5 IT'S NOT FOR ME TO SAY (Johnny Mathis)
>
> Pop Standard.

Not to my ears, but then I have a thing about Johnny Mathis - many
people consider him a Pop singer, but he doesn't really have a Pop
sound; it isn't R&B or R'n'R, but I'm not sure what I'd call him.

>
> 6 I'M GONNA SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER (Billy
> Williams)
>
> I'm not familiar with the Billy Williams version, but the song is a
> Pop Standard.

Sure the song is, but the version is more in the R'n'R tradition than
the Pop Standard tradition. It is to my ears more Country-Rock.

>
> 7 SEARCHIN' (Coasters)
>
> R&B. Not really R'n'R in my opinion, as it lacks a distinct melody,
> and never comes close to having any "kick".

This is probably the one out of the 10 I can't dredge up in my memory,
so I'll have to let your decision stand.



>
> 8 OLD CAPE COD (Patti Page)
>
> Pop Standard.
>
> 9 DARK MOON (Gale Storm; Bonnie Guitar)
>
> Pop Standard.

Gale Storm's version, certainly. Bonnie Guitar, however, is usually
considered Country.

>
> 10 (Main Theme) AROUND THE WORLD (Victor Young & Orchestra;
> Mantovani & Orchestra)
>
> Pop Standard.
>
> That's 6 Pop Standards, 1 Big Band, 1 R&B, and 2 Pop Rocks. I don't
> see that as R&R having taken over.

Slightly different by my count (see notes above). But note that R'n'R
has #1 and #3, and _maybe_ #2 depending on whether you go with your
classification or mine.

>
> The Charts pretty much continue through most of 58 with Pop Standards
> either dominating, or going neck and neck with R'n'R. It's not until
> 59 that R'n'R really becomes dominant -- and even then, we find Guy
> Mitchell taking the #1 spot. And how does one classify other Chart
> Toppers like Bobby Darin's MACK THE KNIFE, Johnny Horton's THE BATTLE
> OF NEW ORLEANS and the Platters' SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES? (As these
> are all among my favorite songs, I tend to think of them as Classic
> Pop, but I'll grant that the R'n'R crowd has equal claim to them.)

I've called them all R'n'R, but gotten a lot of disagreement on "Mack
the Knife."

Bruce

SavoyBG

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Jul 26, 2003, 10:56:34 AM7/26/03
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>From: b...@post.com (Bruce R. Gilson)

> 2 LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND (Pat Boone)

>A tough call. Pat Boone was at the time considered R'n'R,

The world was considered to be flat until 1492, but that doesn't mean that it
ever was.


> 7 SEARCHIN' (Coasters)

>This is probably the one out of the 10
I can't dredge up in my memory

ANYBODY who doesn't know this record backwards and forwards should be barred
from this newsgroup.


Bruce Grossberg


M

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Jul 26, 2003, 11:48:12 AM7/26/03
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>
>
>> 7 SEARCHIN' (Coasters)
>
>>This is probably the one out of the 10
> I can't dredge up in my memory
>
>ANYBODY who doesn't know this record backwards and forwards should be barred
>from this newsgroup.
>
>
>My musical tastes don't always exactly jive with everyone elses in this group, but
anybody in a 50s group who doesn't know "Searchin", even if they're
into square dancing, has got a bit of musical homework to catch up
on.

BTW, there was an electrified version of this song that came out in
the early 70s.

M
>
>
>
>Bruce Grossberg
>

M

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Jul 26, 2003, 11:53:45 AM7/26/03
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>> 6 I'M GONNA SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER (Billy
>> Williams)
>>
>> I'm not familiar with the Billy Williams version, but the song is a
>> Pop Standard.
>
>Sure the song is, but the version is more in the R'n'R tradition than
>the Pop Standard tradition. It is to my ears more Country-Rock.
>
How can you call this song country-rock? There's not a guitar or
twang sound to be heard. Pop or lite r&b, certainly, but country, no
way.

M

SavoyBG

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Jul 26, 2003, 4:30:37 PM7/26/03
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>From: M Mnat...@yahoo.com

(answering Gilson)

> 6 I'M GONNA SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER (Billy
>>> Williams)

>How can you call this song country-rock? There's not a guitar or


>twang sound to be heard. Pop or lite r&b, certainly, but country, no
>way.

It's easy, Gilson knows absolutely nothing about music.

Bruce Grossberg


Dean F.

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Jul 26, 2003, 8:51:08 PM7/26/03
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"SavoyBG" wrote:

> Gilson knows absolutely nothing about music.

Gee, ya think? :-p

Scarlotti

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Jul 27, 2003, 4:30:18 AM7/27/03
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sav...@aol.com (SavoyBG) wrote in message news:<20030726105634...@mb-m15.aol.com>...

> > 7 SEARCHIN' (Coasters)
>
> >This is probably the one out of the 10
> I can't dredge up in my memory
>
> ANYBODY who doesn't know this record backwards and forwards should be barred
> from this newsgroup.

That's quite a statement, BG1.

I happen to know the song very well -- but only because it was on the
flip side of a Coasters song that I like. I got to know it because
I'd often stack 6 records on my record player and flip them.

But the song itself is one of the Coasters' (and Lieber and Stoller's)
worst.

Considering BG2's dislike of "rough" music, it's easy to understand
why he would banish this record from memory.

Take a look at the lyrics:

SEARCHIN'
The Coasters

Well now if I have to swim a river, you know I will,
And if I have to climb a mountain you know I will.
And if she's hiding up on a blueberry hill,
I'm gonna find her, child, you know I will.
Cause I've been searching, oh yeah, searching,
My goodness, searching every which a-way. Yeah. Yeah.
But I'm like the Northwest Mountie,
You know I'll bring her in some day. Gonna find her.
Well Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade got nothing, child, on me.
Sergeant Friday, charlie Chan, and Boston Blackie.
No matter where she's hiding, she's gonna hear me
Cause I'm gonna walk right down that street,
Like Bulldog Drummond because I've been searching,
Oh Lord, searching, mm child, searching every which a-way. Yeah. Yeah.
You know I'll bring her in some day. Gonna find her.

There is nothing here even remotely resembling a melody (just try
reading them straight!). The song is done in a
half-spoken-half-singing manner and comes off like a tv guide listing
set to rhythm.

A similar song is WESTERN MOVIES by the Olympics -- which I often get
this one confused with -- only it lists Western tv shows. I know it
from an album, but I have to say that it was not one of my favorite
cuts (although I have to say that it is better than SEARCHIN').

So tell me, BG1: what makes this song soooo important that everyone in
the NG should be required to know it. (You'll note that it didn't
make my TOP 50 ERA-DEFING SONGS OF THE 1950S list -- and wouldn't have
made my top 500).

SavoyBG

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Jul 27, 2003, 8:03:57 AM7/27/03
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>From: Scar...@searchhawkmail.com (Scarlotti)

>So tell me, BG1: what makes this song soooo important that everyone in
>the NG should be required to know it.

It was the biggest R & B hit of the entire decade, also a top 5 pop hit which
was on the charts for 6 months.

Anybody who is not familiar with "Searchin" is not even remotely qualified to
draw up olists of "ear defining songs," or to come around here pontificating on
50's music.

>You'll note that it didn't
>make my TOP 50 ERA-DEFING SONGS OF THE 1950S list

What does defing mean?

Bruce Grossberg


Bobby

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Jul 27, 2003, 8:15:35 AM7/27/03
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"SavoyBG" <sav...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20030727080357...@mb-m16.aol.com...

It probably falls into the same category as "ear defining songs" (see para 3
above) :)


ebebes

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Jul 27, 2003, 1:36:43 PM7/27/03
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sav...@aol.com (SavoyBG) wrote in message news:<20030727080357...@mb-m16.aol.com>...

I have to AGREE? with you on this one. People seem to forget that the
Coasters
infused much humor into their music. SEARCHIN' is a good example of
this while also having a good R + B sound. Abd, btw, S. take a look
at many song lyrics and you will find that they sound ridiculous
without the music i.e. what is a 'Wayward Wind'?, 'How much IS That
Doggie In The Window?, what is a 'Tennesee Waltz' and how does it
differ from a 'Kentucky Waltz'?, etc. etc. etc.

Gary Nichols

Scarlotti

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Jul 28, 2003, 2:20:48 AM7/28/03
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todd...@peoplepc.com (ebebes) wrote in message news:<a17353b6.03072...@posting.google.com>...

> I have to AGREE? with you (BG1) on this one. People seem to forget that the


> Coasters
> infused much humor into their music. SEARCHIN' is a good example of
> this while also having a good R + B sound. Abd, btw, S. take a look
> at many song lyrics and you will find that they sound ridiculous
> without the music i.e. what is a 'Wayward Wind'?, 'How much IS That
> Doggie In The Window?, what is a 'Tennesee Waltz' and how does it
> differ from a 'Kentucky Waltz'?, etc. etc. etc.
>
> Gary Nichols

How ridiculous is THE WAYWARD WIND?

Let's see:

The wayward wind
Is a restless wind
A restless wind
That yearns to wander
And he was born
The next of kin --
The next of kin
To the wayward wind.

First off, in speaking this, it's almost impossible not to fall into
an approximation of the melody. That is my main point with the lyrics
of SEARCHIN' -- the "melody" doesn't come through in the lyrics,
precisely because it hasn't got any melody.

Second, there is a deceptive simplicity to WAYWARD WIND's lyric that
lends it the timeless quality of a perfectly cut gemstone. Note the
repetition in lines 2 and 3 and again in lines 6 and 7 -- as well as
in the opening and closing lines of he passage (1 and 8). That is
sheer brilliance! The entire passage is could not be more perfect.

The narrative passages which frame this chorus have an equally
recognizable music:

In a lonely shack
By a railroad track
He spent his younger days

And I guess the sound
Of the outward bound
Made him a slave
To his wand'ring ways

The passage both evokes sounds of the railroad and recreates it's
lure.

Tellingly, this is one song that is loved by Classic Pop and R&R fans
alike. It's appeal is just that universal.

And what about the lyrics of TENNESSEE WALTZ?

Again, try reading them aloud and see if the waltz tempo melody
doesn't keep forcing itself upon you:

I was dancin'
With my darling
To the Tennessee Waltz

When an old friend
I happened
To see

Again, the lyrics are disarmingly simple -- yet convey both a powerful
sense of loss (echoed in and symbolized by the song itself) and a
deceptively simple narrative plot.

The story itself is just the bare skeleton of a story, but the idea is
so universal that one cannot help but read a plethora of information
from one's personal experiences (or imaginary fears) into it.

DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW is one of the most maligned songs of all time --
because it is "uncool" to like a sweet, childrens' song (albeit with
enough wit to appeal to adults as well).

To read the lyrics, you have to do so bearing in mind that it *is*,
first and foremost, a childrens' song. While phrases like "waggily
tail" may sound goofy to an adult, they are magically appealing to
children -- and capture the appeal of a puppy to the child in all of
us far better than "adult" lyrics ever could.

How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggily tail
How much is that doggie in the window?
I do hope that doggie's for sale.

As with WAYWARD WING, note the lyrical repetition of lines 2 and 4 of
the chorus (perfect for easy memorization as well -- which is almost a
necessity for children's songs).

But think about the sentiment of that chorus and the image it conjurs
up! Anyone who's ever fallen in love with a puppy in a pet store
window (and who hasn't???) is immediately going to identify with those
lines -- perhaps even reimagining their first meeting with a dog who
shared their home and life for many years.

And, of course, the melody is practically dictated by the lyric.

The verses are cute, humorous and even a little scary at one point.
And the sfx of the barking dog are just too charming for words. Just
watch a little boy or girl's eyes light up every time that little bark
is heard!

But the lyrics to SEARCHIN' provide none of the charms of the
above-listed songs.

They have no melody whatsoever, and cannot provide the reader with
even a semblance of the way the song sounds.

Nor are they particularly humorous.

Look, I'm a fan of The Coasters (and Lieber and Stoller), and enjoy
the humor in a lot of their songs. But where is the humor in
SEARCHIN'?

The basic "story" (and the lyric seems to have chopped of the opening
-- as the song begins in what feels like the middle of a narrative) is
that the singer is going to track down his ex-lover (not that we have
any reason to believe that she desires to be tracked down). Lieber
and Stoller throw in references to popular music (BLUEBERRY HILL) and
detective movies, serials and/or tv shows (I believe that most of the
detectives mentioned appeared in all three of these formats).

While it may be a facile ode to the detective genre of pop culture, it
is certainly not the least bit funny. Nor is it fun to sing along to
due to the utter lack of melody. If one can dance to it (not my
forte), I can't imagine that experience being very pleasant either.
It's sole attraction is that it lists various detective characters
that everyone (at least at that time) was familiar with -- and it's
always gratifying to be able to "get" all of the references in a list
song (in much the same way that it's fun to solve the
impossible-not-to-solve TV GUIDE crossword puzzle).

BG1 champions the song because it was one of the few purely R&B songs
of the 50s that actually charted for any length of time. Well, I
suppose it has some "significance" to R&B fans, in that respect. But
the Coasters had a lot more songs that they're better off being
remembered by.

Lieber and Stoller as well.

ebebes

unread,
Jul 28, 2003, 11:09:43 AM7/28/03
to
You say that it is almost impossible not to fall into an approximation
of the melody when reading the lyrics to 'The Wayward Wind'. I can do
it and the lyrics are ridiulous without the melody. I mean ' ...a
restless wind that years to wander'. How does a wind get 'restless'
and where does it 'yearn to wander' to? And how is someone 'born the
next of kin' to wind(My daddy is the wind?) The whole song is
delightful but only if sung. The lyrics make no sense whatsoever.

The Tennesse Waltz - What song are they dancing to? The one she is
singing? Or is there another song called 'The Tennesse Waltz' that is
playing while they are dancing. Again I like the song but ridiculous
lyrics.

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window- is not a childrens song. It
was extremely popular among adults. I doubt if many children heard it
at all.
This one I can't stand. Woof Woof.

Searchin'- humorous lyrics sung in a distinctive R and B manner. It
to is a great song when sung but, as you point out, the lyrics don't
make sense. But they are not supposed to. They are meant to be funny
a la 'Poison Ivy' and most fo the Coasters songs. It is their singing
style that makse the song good. The lyrics to 'The Wayward Wind' and
'The Tennesee Waltz' are meant to be taken seriously. They are far
from serious. They are hilarious.

ebebes

Intheway1

unread,
Jul 28, 2003, 2:08:50 PM7/28/03
to
Scarlotti wrote (edited):

>First off, in speaking this, it's almost impossible not to fall into
>an approximation of the melody.

You can sing "Wayward Wind" to the melody of "Great Balls of Fire"

>The wayward wind Is a restless wind
>A restless wind That yearns to wander
>And he was born
>The next of kin --

>Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Fire.

Try it to "I Hear You Knocking (But You Can't Come In)"
(rhythmic breaks added to help the unmusical find "an approximation of the
melody')

>The wayward wind Is a restless wind

(bom bom bom bom)


>A restless wind That yearns to wander

(bom bom bom bom)


>And he was born The next of kin --

(bom bom bom bom)
>Come back tomorrow night and try it again.

There is absolutely nothing that demands "an approximation of the melody" in
those lyrics, or in any lyrics, for that matter.

Further:

>In a lonely shack
>By a railroad track
>He spent his younger days
>
>And I guess the sound
>Of the outward bound
>Made him a slave
>To his wand'ring ways
>
>The passage both evokes sounds of the railroad and recreates it's
>lure.

What precisely "evokes the sound of the railroad?" What "sound of the
railroad" does it evoke. It certainly isn't "the rhythm that the driver
made." If you want an example of a song that evokes the sound of the railroad,
I'd stick with "Orange Blossom Special." If I want something that evokes the
response you find in "Wayward Wind", I'll go with "I'm So Lonesome I Could
Cry."


>And what about the lyrics of TENNESSEE WALTZ?
>
>Again, try reading them aloud and see if the waltz tempo melody
>doesn't keep forcing itself upon you:
>

So does anything written in ž time. Try "Streets of Laredo" or "El Paso."

>
>Again, the lyrics are disarmingly simple -- yet convey both a powerful
>sense of loss (echoed in and symbolized by the song itself) and a
>deceptively simple narrative plot.

Not disarmingly simple, just simple.

Not deceptively simple. Just simple. What is deceptive about the lyrics?

There is nothing wrong with simple lyrics. But that's all they are. Claiming
some literary complexity that really isn't there is trying to make a silk purse
out of a completely functional sow's ear.

>The story itself is just the bare skeleton of a story, but the idea is
>so universal that one cannot help but read a plethora of information
>from one's personal experiences (or imaginary fears) into it.

This is because "Tennessee Waltz" depends, like hundreds or thousands of other
pop songs, on dancing as a metaphor for sex. "Tennessee Waltz" is nothing
special in this regard. The subjects of "Summertime Blues" and "School Days"
are just as universal, as are the subjects of probably 99% of pop music. Few
of us ever had to go "Working In A Coal Mine" but many of us, even at an early
age, are very familiar with the monotony of work.

Lyrically, "Tennessee Waltz" raises an interesting puzzle. According to the
lyrics, the old friend steals the singer's darling while dancing to the
"Tennessee Waltz," yet the song can't really exist until the singer tells the
story after the dance. So what song did the couple dance to? If my point was
to expose the fundamental illogic of pop lyrics (which it isn't), it would be
hard to come up with a better example.

>
>DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW is one of the most maligned songs of all time --
>because it is "uncool" to like a sweet, childrens' song (albeit with
>enough wit to appeal to adults as well).
>

It is maligned because it is insipid, and repeated hearings are enervating.
It's the "It's A Small World After All" of 50s music.

>To read the lyrics, you have to do so bearing in mind that it *is*,
>first and foremost, a childrens' song. While phrases like "waggily
>tail" may sound goofy to an adult, they are magically appealing to
>children -- and capture the appeal of a puppy to the child in all of
>us far better than "adult" lyrics ever could.
>
>How much is that doggie in the window?
>The one with the waggily tail
>How much is that doggie in the window?
>I do hope that doggie's for sale.
>
>As with WAYWARD WING, note the lyrical repetition of lines 2 and 4 of
>the chorus (perfect for easy memorization as well -- which is almost a
>necessity for children's songs).
>

Actually, it is lines 1 and 3, and you just made a case for Wayward Wind to be
a children's song.

>But think about the sentiment of that chorus and the image it conjurs
>up! Anyone who's ever fallen in love with a puppy in a pet store
>window (and who hasn't???) is immediately going to identify with those
>lines -- perhaps even reimagining their first meeting with a dog who
>shared their home and life for many years.
>
>And, of course, the melody is practically dictated by the lyric.

Actually, the melody is a pretty clear lift from "Jamabalaya." With a slight
shift in rhythm you can sing the lyrics to the melody from "Sea Cruise." There
is absolutely no mandate that someone reading the lyrics will hear the
particular melody, or even anything close.

>
>The verses are cute, humorous and even a little scary at one point.
>And the sfx of the barking dog are just too charming for words. Just
>watch a little boy or girl's eyes light up every time that little bark
>is heard!

And then, most of them grow up.

>
>But the lyrics to SEARCHIN' provide none of the charms of the
>above-listed songs.
>
>They have no melody whatsoever, and cannot provide the reader with
>even a semblance of the way the song sounds.
>

Because the musical accompaniment is integral to the appreciation of the
lyrics. The steady, relentless backbeat is as close as you get to a true
instrumental depiction of the singer's determination .

>Nor are they particularly humorous.
>

When taken with the previous claim of humor in "Doggie," this proves only that
humor is subjective.

>Look, I'm a fan of The Coasters (and Lieber and Stoller), and enjoy
>the humor in a lot of their songs. But where is the humor in
>SEARCHIN'?
>

Mostly in the performance, and you should see it done live to truly appreciate
it. The humor of the lyrics themselves is contextual, and it is too bad you
miss it.

>The basic "story" (and the lyric seems to have chopped of the opening
>-- as the song begins in what feels like the middle of a narrative)

Well, do we really know why the wanderer in "Wayward Wind" wanders? Or where
he has wandered before? Do we know why the singer in "Doggie" wants to buy the
dog? Did she not have one as a child, or was her previous dog run over? Not
every song needs a complete backstory. If you demand it from "Searchin'", you
need to fill me in on the details of how the "Tennessee Waltz" singer met his
"darlin'"

is
>that the singer is going to track down his ex-lover (not that we have
>any reason to believe that she desires to be tracked down).

Which is irrelevant to the song.

Lieber
>and Stoller throw in references to popular music (BLUEBERRY HILL) and
>detective movies, serials and/or tv shows (I believe that most of the
>detectives mentioned appeared in all three of these formats).
>
>While it may be a facile ode to the detective genre of pop culture, it
>is certainly not the least bit funny.

As noted above, completely subjective.

Nor is it fun to sing along to
>due to the utter lack of melody.

Someone found the melody. There are at least three instrumental versions of
"Searchin'" I know of. There are none for "Doggie," which is essentially a
polka rhythm. Maybe Frankie Yankovic or Jimmy Sturr did a version.

If one can dance to it (not my
>forte), I can't imagine that experience being very pleasant either.

The steady beat to "Searchin'" makes it eminently danceable, even for me. I
really can't see anyone rushing to the dancefloor for "Doggie."

Fred


Scarlotti

unread,
Jul 28, 2003, 5:28:36 PM7/28/03
to
> You say that it is almost impossible not to fall into an approximation
> of the melody when reading the lyrics to 'The Wayward Wind'. I can do
> it and the lyrics are ridiulous without the melody.

You're confusing 2 different things:

1) Getting a sense of the tune when you read the lyrics and
2) Considering whether the lyrics may sense.

> I mean ' ...a
> restless wind that years to wander'. How does a wind get 'restless'
> and where does it 'yearn to wander' to?

Attributing human qualities is a poetic technique (and a natural
psychological response in humans) known as "personification."

> And how is someone 'born the
> next of kin' to wind(My daddy is the wind?) The whole song is
> delightful but only if sung. The lyrics make no sense whatsoever.

Metaphorically (and, as with most poetry, we are dealing with
metaphor), yes -- the hero/antihero of the song is the "son" of the
West Wind. It is a way of saying that he and the wind share the same
qualities of "waywardness" and "restlessness" -- or, an inability to
settle down/maintain lasting relationships.

> The Tennesse Waltz - What song are they dancing to? The one she is
> singing? Or is there another song called 'The Tennesse Waltz' that is
> playing while they are dancing. Again I like the song but ridiculous
> lyrics.

It is not the song she is singing. But the song that she is singing
_becomes_ THE TENNESSEE WALTZ as her memory of that waltz is affected
by the sorrow which the events attached to it brought about.

> How Much Is That Doggie In The Window- is not a childrens song. It
> was extremely popular among adults. I doubt if many children heard it
> at all.
> This one I can't stand. Woof Woof.

My mother sang it to me when a was a toddler. I sing it (and play it)
for my own children. Patti Page has just released a CHILDREN'S ALBUM
which features a new version of DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW. I'd say you're
mistaken on this point.

The fact that adults enjoy it as well, doe not change the fact that it
is a children's song.

(I'm almost 40 and still enjoy watching Disney films.)

> Searchin'- humorous lyrics sung in a distinctive R and B manner. It
> to is a great song when sung but, as you point out, the lyrics don't
> make sense. But they are not supposed to. They are meant to be funny
> a la 'Poison Ivy' and most fo the Coasters songs. It is their singing
> style that makse the song good. The lyrics to 'The Wayward Wind' and
> 'The Tennesee Waltz' are meant to be taken seriously. They are far
> from serious. They are hilarious.

SEARCHIN' is a barely listenable song when sung. It is without a
doubt the worst Coasters' song I've heard. POISON IVY is funny. It
also has a melody. SEARCHIN' is far from being on a level with POISON
IVY -- much less on a level with THE WAYWARD WIND, DOGGIE, or
TENNESSEE WALTZ.

If you believe the lyrics to SEARCHIN' are funny, please explain the
joke. The basic premise is: "I'm gonna find you -- like Bulldog
Drummond, like Sam Spade, like a Northest Mounted Policeman... et al.
A real barrel of laughs.

Scarlotti

unread,
Jul 28, 2003, 6:20:46 PM7/28/03
to
inth...@aol.com (Intheway1) wrote in message news:<20030728140850...@mb-m27.aol.com>...

> Scarlotti wrote (edited):
> >First off, in speaking this, it's almost impossible not to fall into
> >an approximation of the melody.
>
> You can sing "Wayward Wind" to the melody of "Great Balls of Fire"
>
.....

Singing a set of lyrics in tune to another song is _not_ the same as
simply reading them. Any set of lyrics with a roughly equivalent
number of syllables can be forced into the melodies you use.

All this proves is that the metric "feet" of the lines are similar.
However, certain words (long/short vowel sounds for one example)
require a certain form of delivery... please take a refresher course
in English Lit. 101.

Reading the lyrics to THE WAYWARD WIND in a normal spoken manner
suggests the melody of the recorded song. The correct (innate) melody
is brought about based on the _words_ and one's normal delivery of
them in speech.

> There is absolutely nothing that demands "an approximation of the melody" in
> those lyrics, or in any lyrics, for that matter.

You obviously know nothing about poetry. The lines of every poem
suggest (even demand) the individual metrical nature of its reading.
I'm not a professor (nor even a "Resident Novelist") and can only
refer you to poetical theories by Coleridge, Poe and others.

> Further:


> What precisely "evokes the sound of the railroad?" What "sound of the
> railroad" does it evoke. It certainly isn't "the rhythm that the driver
> made." If you want an example of a song that evokes the sound of the railroad,
> I'd stick with "Orange Blossom Special." If I want something that evokes the
> response you find in "Wayward Wind", I'll go with "I'm So Lonesome I Could
> Cry."

You are misinterpreting my point. The lyrical _imagery_ (not the
meter -- we have moved on) evokes the sights and sounds of a rairoad,
etc.

****
RE the Waltz tempo of TENNESSEE WALTZ:

> So does anything written in ž time. Try "Streets of Laredo" or "El Paso."

Exactly. MOST songs (those with a melody) have their lyrics dictated
by the melody or their melody dictated by the lyrics (depending upon
which aspect was composed first).

SEARCHIN' has no melody, as evidenced by the scansion of its lines.

> >Again, the lyrics are disarmingly simple -- yet convey both a powerful
> >sense of loss (echoed in and symbolized by the song itself) and a
> >deceptively simple narrative plot.
>
> Not disarmingly simple, just simple.

Lapsing into one-liners is an ... immature ... approach to argument.

> Not deceptively simple. Just simple. What is deceptive about the lyrics?

Their apparent simplicity. (Sorry to have utilized a 10 cent phrase.)

> There is nothing wrong with simple lyrics. But that's all they are. Claiming
> some literary complexity that really isn't there is trying to make a silk purse
> out of a completely functional sow's ear.

The lyrics are deceptively simple in that they provide very little
actual information:

1) We were dancing
2) I introduced my sweetheart to my friend
3) My friend stole my sweetheart from me
4) I'm broken hearted.

Simple. Yet the few simple lines of the song "paint" (through
connotation, shared personal experience/projection, and emotion --
provided by the singer) a very personal and rather detailed portrait
of the incident.

You can "see" the 3 lovers dancing to the waltz -- see the drama as
the friend steals away the sweetheart -- see the singer, perhaps years
later, broken hearted and alone...

You feel as though you have been afforded a profound glimpse into the
singer's emotional life/personal history -- and all through a few
brief lyrics providing you with very little specific information.

> >The story itself is just the bare skeleton of a story, but the idea is
> >so universal that one cannot help but read a plethora of information
> >from one's personal experiences (or imaginary fears) into it.
>
> This is because "Tennessee Waltz" depends, like hundreds or thousands of other
> pop songs, on dancing as a metaphor for sex. "Tennessee Waltz" is nothing
> special in this regard. The subjects of "Summertime Blues" and "School Days"
> are just as universal, as are the subjects of probably 99% of pop music. Few
> of us ever had to go "Working In A Coal Mine" but many of us, even at an early
> age, are very familiar with the monotony of work.

Exactly. You're very good at understanding my meaning (if rather slow
at attributing it to its source).

TENNESSEE WALTZ, like most (good/artistically successful) popular
songs, draws on universal experiences (and throws in the well-known
dance=sex metaphor for good measure).

SEARCHIN', on the other hand, does not draw on personal
experiences/feelings. It is derived solely from popular (fictional)
culture (BLUEBERRY HILL, THE MALTESE FALCON, CHARLIE CHAN films,
etc.).

Most song that become popular hits do so because they are VERY good.
TENNESSEE WALTZ, WAYWARD WIND, DOGGIE are no exception in this regard.
Neither are STREETS OF LAREDO or EL PASO (also great examples of
songwriting).

> Lyrically, "Tennessee Waltz" raises an interesting puzzle. According to the
> lyrics, the old friend steals the singer's darling while dancing to the
> "Tennessee Waltz," yet the song can't really exist until the singer tells the
> story after the dance. So what song did the couple dance to? If my point was
> to expose the fundamental illogic of pop lyrics (which it isn't), it would be
> hard to come up with a better example.

As noted in the other post -- the original TENNESSEE WALTZ has been
_altered_ by the singer's experience. It has gone from being a
generic piece of dance music to a metaphor for the fickleness of
friends and lovers, the sexual dance represented by courtship, and for
loss.

> >DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW is one of the most maligned songs of all time --
> >because it is "uncool" to like a sweet, childrens' song (albeit with
> >enough wit to appeal to adults as well).
> >
> It is maligned because it is insipid, and repeated hearings are enervating.
> It's the "It's A Small World After All" of 50s music.

It is no such thing. IT'S A SMALL WORLD is cloyingly goody-two-shoed.
It is impossible for a jaded adult to listen to without cringing that
he/she ever could have once believed in its message of international
harmony. DOGGIE is a children's song, but it is presented from an
adult sensibility. For example, it is laced with wit that adults can
appreciate as well: "I don't want a bowl of little fishies/He can't
take a goldfish for walks."

> >To read the lyrics, you have to do so bearing in mind that it *is*,
> >first and foremost, a childrens' song. While phrases like "waggily
> >tail" may sound goofy to an adult, they are magically appealing to
> >children -- and capture the appeal of a puppy to the child in all of
> >us far better than "adult" lyrics ever could.
> >
> >How much is that doggie in the window?
> >The one with the waggily tail
> >How much is that doggie in the window?
> >I do hope that doggie's for sale.
> >
> >As with WAYWARD WING, note the lyrical repetition of lines 2 and 4 of
> >the chorus (perfect for easy memorization as well -- which is almost a
> >necessity for children's songs).
> >
>
> Actually, it is lines 1 and 3,

My error.

> and you just made a case for Wayward Wind to be
> a children's song.

Not at all. Repetition is necessary to help children to memorize the
song. But there are other uses for repetition (again I refer you to
Coleridge and Poe's theories -- or a good English 101 course).

>
> >But think about the sentiment of that chorus and the image it conjurs
> >up! Anyone who's ever fallen in love with a puppy in a pet store
> >window (and who hasn't???) is immediately going to identify with those
> >lines -- perhaps even reimagining their first meeting with a dog who
> >shared their home and life for many years.
> >
> >And, of course, the melody is practically dictated by the lyric.
>
> Actually, the melody is a pretty clear lift from "Jamabalaya." With a slight
> shift in rhythm you can sing the lyrics to the melody from "Sea Cruise." There
> is absolutely no mandate that someone reading the lyrics will hear the
> particular melody, or even anything close.

See above.

> >The verses are cute, humorous and even a little scary at one point.
> >And the sfx of the barking dog are just too charming for words. Just
> >watch a little boy or girl's eyes light up every time that little bark
> >is heard!
>
> And then, most of them grow up.

Sadly.

> >But the lyrics to SEARCHIN' provide none of the charms of the
> >above-listed songs.
> >
> >They have no melody whatsoever, and cannot provide the reader with
> >even a semblance of the way the song sounds.
> >
>
> Because the musical accompaniment is integral to the appreciation of the
> lyrics. The steady, relentless backbeat is as close as you get to a true
> instrumental depiction of the singer's determination .

But that is not the _melody_. The song has a backbeat. The song has
lyrics. But it hasn't got a melody -- and this, I believe, was my
point.

Allow me to refresh your memory:

BG1 said that BG2 should be barred from the group for not knowing
SEARCHIN' (actually for not knowing it backwards and forwards, but BG1
is given to overstatement).

I said that BG2 shouldn't be expected to have listened to SEARCHIN',
as he likes "smooth" music -- _not_ rhythm driven, R&B songs without a
melody.

> >Nor are they particularly humorous.
> >
>
> When taken with the previous claim of humor in "Doggie," this proves only that
> humor is subjective.

One cannot argue against subjectivity -- it's an argumental catch 22.

> >Look, I'm a fan of The Coasters (and Lieber and Stoller), and enjoy
> >the humor in a lot of their songs. But where is the humor in
> >SEARCHIN'?
> >
>
> Mostly in the performance, and you should see it done live to truly appreciate
> it. The humor of the lyrics themselves is contextual, and it is too bad you
> miss it.

Aha!!! If I should "see it done live to truly appreciate it" then it
fails as a _record_. It is a performance piece then -- dependent upon
visual presentation as much as on lyric, vocal delivery and music.

> >The basic "story" (and the lyric seems to have chopped of the opening
> >-- as the song begins in what feels like the middle of a narrative)
>
> Well, do we really know why the wanderer in "Wayward Wind" wanders? Or where
> he has wandered before? Do we know why the singer in "Doggie" wants to buy the
> dog? Did she not have one as a child, or was her previous dog run over? Not
> every song needs a complete backstory. If you demand it from "Searchin'", you
> need to fill me in on the details of how the "Tennessee Waltz" singer met his
> "darlin'"

No, we don't need a complete backstory, but an introduction would be
nice. When the singer starts out climbing a mountain, something is
amiss.

> is
> >that the singer is going to track down his ex-lover (not that we have
> >any reason to believe that she desires to be tracked down).
>
> Which is irrelevant to the song.

Exactly. The song doesn't bother with the persons, feelings, etc.
involved. It doesn't bother deciding if it's a man tracking down a
lost lover who is anxiously hoping to see him again, or if he is an
obsessed nutjob stalking his ex. The song isn't about emotions --
it's about a teenager fantasizing about fictional characters.

> Lieber
> >and Stoller throw in references to popular music (BLUEBERRY HILL) and
> >detective movies, serials and/or tv shows (I believe that most of the
> >detectives mentioned appeared in all three of these formats).
> >
> >While it may be a facile ode to the detective genre of pop culture, it
> >is certainly not the least bit funny.
>
> As noted above, completely subjective.
>
> Nor is it fun to sing along to
> >due to the utter lack of melody.
>
> Someone found the melody. There are at least three instrumental versions of
> "Searchin'" I know of. There are none for "Doggie," which is essentially a
> polka rhythm. Maybe Frankie Yankovic or Jimmy Sturr did a version.

Well I'd be thankful if they'd point it out to me.

> If one can dance to it (not my
> >forte), I can't imagine that experience being very pleasant either.
>
> The steady beat to "Searchin'" makes it eminently danceable, even for me. I
> really can't see anyone rushing to the dancefloor for "Doggie."

I can dance to DOGGIE (and do with my children). I can't for the life
of me dance to SEARCHIN'.

Think you could describe how you dance (or how one would ideally
dance) to it?

Intheway1

unread,
Jul 28, 2003, 8:30:46 PM7/28/03
to

>Reading the lyrics to THE WAYWARD WIND in a normal spoken manner
>suggests the melody of the recorded song. The correct (innate) melody
>is brought about based on the _words_ and one's normal delivery of
>them in speech.

I think it might suggest the rhythm, but I really can't see how it suggests the
melody.

There is a marvelous example of this in the (sadly offtopic) Blind Boys of
Alabama's rendition of "Amazing Grace" done to the melody of "House of the
Rising Son." There is nothing forced, it is a perfect fit. If nothing else,
this example casts some serious doubt on your contention that there is such a
thing as an "innate" or "correct" melody associated with a specific set of
words.

>You obviously know nothing about poetry. The lines of every poem
>suggest (even demand) the individual metrical nature of its reading.
>I'm not a professor (nor even a "Resident Novelist") and can only
>refer you to poetical theories by Coleridge, Poe and others.

Hate to break this to you, poet, but grits ain't groceries and meter ain't
melody, and we're talking melody here.

>
>****


MOST songs (those with a melody) have their lyrics dictated
>by the melody or their melody dictated by the lyrics (depending upon
>which aspect was composed first).

I would really appreciate learning what proof you have of this statement.


>
>SEARCHIN' has no melody, as evidenced by the scansion of its lines.

Perhaps you have some uncanny ability to be able to ascertain melody strictly
from reading lyrics. You ought to find a way to market that talent, because
you are the only person I have ever heard claim to have it, at least since
Gregorian chants fell off the Top 40.

The obvious test of this remarkable skill would involve you performing in a
karaoke bar where you couldn't hear the music. I will leave it to those
geographically closer (and with stronger stomachs) to set it up.

>
>SEARCHIN', on the other hand, does not draw on personal
>experiences/feelings. It is derived solely from popular (fictional)
>culture (BLUEBERRY HILL, THE MALTESE FALCON, CHARLIE CHAN films,
>etc.).
>

As you pointed out in your previous post, the song is about someone looking for
a lover who has gone astray. If that isn't a personal experience, I don't know
what is.

>Most song that become popular hits do so because they are VERY good.
>TENNESSEE WALTZ, WAYWARD WIND, DOGGIE are no exception in this regard.

Most songs that become popular hits do so because they sell a lot of copies.
That is what both the words "popular" and "hits" mean. "Goodness", even "VERY
goodness" has nothing to do with it. (Bruce Grossberg sometimes appears to
argue the inverse; that the "best" songs are rarely hits, and I think he is no
more right on this than you are.) If your definition is correct, then "most"
of the rock and roll records you abhor must be "VERY good" because they were
popular hits.


DOGGIE is a children's song, but it is presented from an
>adult sensibility. For example, it is laced with wit that adults can
>appreciate as well: "I don't want a bowl of little fishies/He can't
>take a goldfish for walks."
>

If this is representative of your idea of "adult wit," I can understand your
difficulty at finding anything humorous in "Searchin'." It's merely a question
of your grasp.

>> Mostly in the performance, and you should see it done live to truly
>appreciate
>> it. The humor of the lyrics themselves is contextual, and it is too bad you
>> miss it.
>
>Aha!!! If I should "see it done live to truly appreciate it" then it
>fails as a _record_. It is a performance piece then -- dependent upon
>visual presentation as much as on lyric, vocal delivery and music.

You "Aha!!-ed" prematurely. You can reach your conclusion only by stopping at
the end of the first sentence and presuming that it is only humorous live. I
suspect that your "adult wit" might even be tickled by the live performance,
but it is the performance, on the record, that makes the recording humorous.

The humor from the song itself is contextual, as I said in the second sentence
(the one you ignored). You have an individual faced with a personal (and
despite your contention to the contrary, not unusual) dilemma who reacts in an
unexpected way by calling upon pop culture icons as his models. It is clever
and unexpected, two qualities at the root of all wit. When these elements are
combined with a deliberately exaggerated delivery deftly performed, you end up
with a classic piece of pop clowning.


>No, we don't need a complete backstory, but an introduction would be
>nice. When the singer starts out climbing a mountain, something is
>amiss.
>

Your need for a literal grounding suggests more about the limits of the
listener's imagination than it does about the deficiencies of the song.


>I can dance to DOGGIE (and do with my children). I can't for the life
>of me dance to SEARCHIN'.

Again, that may say something more about the dancer than the song.

>
>Think you could describe how you dance (or how one would ideally
>dance) to it?
>

Almost any shag or swing dance.

Tell you what. The night you are willing to present a program of you singing
"innate" melodies, I will provide the choreography.

Fred

Len Blanks

unread,
Jul 28, 2003, 9:03:47 PM7/28/03
to
intheway1 <inth...@aol.com> writes:

[...]

Scarlotti claims:

>> I can dance to DOGGIE (and do with my children). I can't for the life
>> of me dance to SEARCHIN'.

> Again, that may say something more about the dancer than the song.

>>
>> Think you could describe how you dance (or how one would ideally
>> dance) to it?
>>

> Almost any shag or swing dance.

I can shag to just about anything, but I can't dance.

> Tell you what. The night you are willing to present a program of you singing
> "innate" melodies, I will provide the choreography.

--
Len

Small cats big dogs chase eat yummy fish.

PhillyGuy

unread,
Jul 28, 2003, 11:20:36 PM7/28/03
to
sav...@aol.com (SavoyBG) wrote in message news:<20030726105634...@mb-m15.aol.com>...

<snip>

> 7 SEARCHIN' (Coasters)
>
> >This is probably the one out of the 10
> I can't dredge up in my memory
>
> ANYBODY who doesn't know this record backwards and forwards should be barred
> from this newsgroup.
>
> Bruce Grossberg

Offering:

A review of the (TIC) rules around here in rec.50s may serve to bring
some order to recent proceedings:

#1. You're not allowed to be in here, even lurking, if you don't know
who Chuck Berry is.

#2. You are not allowed to participate if you don't own an Elvis
record.

#3. No will respect you if you don't know who Louis Jordan is.

#4. No one will talk with or reply to you unless you can name 3
records each by The Dubs, The Harptones, The Flamingoes, The Dells,
The Moonglows and The 5 Satins. The only exception to that rule is
you can sub The Skyliners for one of the above.

#5. A strong knowledge of rockabilly will help you get along, win
friends and influence people. Anyone mixing up country-rock for it
will summarily be given a major quick boot to where it will be hard to
sit down for a few days.

Once you understand the rules, newbies, as well as slow-learners,
you'll thrive here happily ever after.

Tom B.

Scarlotti

unread,
Jul 29, 2003, 3:15:58 AM7/29/03
to
inth...@aol.com (Intheway1) wrote in message news:<20030728203046...@mb-m02.aol.com>...

> >Reading the lyrics to THE WAYWARD WIND in a normal spoken manner
> >suggests the melody of the recorded song. The correct (innate) melody
> >is brought about based on the _words_ and one's normal delivery of
> >them in speech.
>
> I think it might suggest the rhythm, but I really can't see how it suggests the
> melody.

For example:

Line One consists of 4 syllables, "The way ward wind."

"The" is short. "Way" is long. "Ward" is short. "Wind" is long.
But in speech we don't draw out the first syllable of a two-syllable
word ("wayward"), but merely place the stress upon the first syllable.
Thus the spoken line is read (musically) as a quarter note followed
by 2 eighth notes followed by a half note; with an accent on the first
of the 2 eighth notes. With a few slight modifications for singing
(ex: holding the last syllable), you have the beat (or, as you admit,
rhythm) of the song.

To figure out the notes, again, you need only fall back on speaking.
"The" is a common article and would be spoken in the middle of your
natural range. "Wayward" would necessarily follow on the same note
(try raising it up a note or two for disastrous effect). "Wind" is
also going to fall in a similar range, perhaps a note or two higher
due to the lighter quality of the "i." A few seconds of experimenting
on a keyboard (piano var.) might come up with 3 Middle C's followed by
an E.

Unfortunately I haven't access to a piano at the moment, or I'd figure
out the actual notes.



> There is a marvelous example of this in the (sadly offtopic) Blind Boys of
> Alabama's rendition of "Amazing Grace" done to the melody of "House of the
> Rising Son." There is nothing forced, it is a perfect fit. If nothing else,
> this example casts some serious doubt on your contention that there is such a
> thing as an "innate" or "correct" melody associated with a specific set of
> words.

I'm not familiar with the recording, but I am quite familiar with both
songs, and can easily fit the lyrics of AMAZING GRACE into HOTRS's
(aka, NEW ORLEANS') tune.

It works. But not as well.

AMAZING GRACE is, after all, a song about Salvation. The ominous,
minor melody of NEW ORLEANS works fine with the "lost and wretched"
opening of AG, but fails to convey the appropriate sense of "sing(ing)
God's praise" at the song's joyous end.

NEW ORLEANS is a traditional blues song, and ... well ... folks in
Heaven shouldn't be singing the blues.

*****

Ralph W. Emerson (Transcendentalist philosopher and poet) wrote that
every poem exists from time immemorial in its complete and perfect
form. It is the function of the poet to capture it in as close to its
perfect form as possible.

Whether this is an aery theory, or whether it is a metaphysical truth
(and I suspect the latter) would make for some interesting discussions
(and has), but it is ultimately impossible to prove or disprove
(drawing heavily on a Subjective approach to Reality).

The same theory, IMO, holds true both with songwriting and recording.
This is one reason why I feel no qualms about citing "definitive"
versions of certain songs. It is what makes some songs -- and some
recordings -- Great, and others merely Good.

> >You obviously know nothing about poetry. The lines of every poem
> >suggest (even demand) the individual metrical nature of its reading.
> >I'm not a professor (nor even a "Resident Novelist") and can only
> >refer you to poetical theories by Coleridge, Poe and others.
>
> Hate to break this to you, poet, but grits ain't groceries and meter ain't
> melody, and we're talking melody here.

Don't forget that up until the recent times, poetry was originally set
to music: from Homeric bards, to Elizabethan minstrels, to Victorian
parlor music.

Are you familiar with Jonson's TO CELIA as a poem, or as the song
DRINK TO ME ONLY WITH THINE EYES -- or both?

Sometimes they were written along with the composition of the tune
(especially as part of the Bardic tradition ) and sometimes they were
later set to music by others (as was our National Anthem).

It was only with the advent of "Modern Poetry" in the 20th Century
that music and verse became incompatible.

Popular Music (especially the "Tin Pan Alley" var.) follows the same
rules as poetry (only the themes have been, to a greater extent,
brought down to a more mundane level). It's not poetry (and I don't
mean to imply that it is). But it follows the same rules as poetry,
and like the latter, it's melody is often implicit in its lyric.

> >****
> MOST songs (those with a melody) have their lyrics dictated
> >by the melody or their melody dictated by the lyrics (depending upon
> >which aspect was composed first).
>
> I would really appreciate learning what proof you have of this statement.

Again, this falls back on the Emersonian theory (which is purely
speculative). The only thing concrete I can offer you is the songs
themselves. Lyrics use words -- and each word was originally a "poem"
perfectly "capturing" the essence of the thing it was used to
represent (Robert Graves, THE WHITE GODDESS), and these words not only
dictate various facets such as length, accent and timbre of delivery
through their makeup (long/short vowels and consonants), but certain
words and phrases also evoke feelings that can only "truthfully" be
expressed in a certain manner.

"Gone are the days
When my heart was young and gay.
Gone are my friends
From the cotton fields away.
Gone from the earth..."

for example, is not going to work well with an upbeat tempo.

> >SEARCHIN' has no melody, as evidenced by the scansion of its lines.
>
> Perhaps you have some uncanny ability to be able to ascertain melody strictly
> from reading lyrics. You ought to find a way to market that talent, because
> you are the only person I have ever heard claim to have it, at least since
> Gregorian chants fell off the Top 40.

I see nothing out of the ordinary in my claim. The interaction of
lyric and melody is what makes a song "work." If the lyrics and music
don't fit together just right ... the song will seem forced.
Obviously, for words and music to harmonize there must be specific
elements of each which complement one another. And while the process
(being creative) is more intuitive than scientific, I wouldn't doubt
that music theorists have expounded upon this in the past.



> The obvious test of this remarkable skill would involve you performing in a
> karaoke bar where you couldn't hear the music. I will leave it to those
> geographically closer (and with stronger stomachs) to set it up.

That doesn't work. If music (an integral part of song) is involved,
then the singer must be able to hear it, in order to _sing along_ with
it (the whole point of karaoke).

A better test would be to submit a set of lyrics to several classic
songs from a period which the reader/singer is unfamiliar with and ask
him to set them to music. If the reader/singer is any good, his
melodies with be close approximations of the famous ones.

> >SEARCHIN', on the other hand, does not draw on personal
> >experiences/feelings. It is derived solely from popular (fictional)
> >culture (BLUEBERRY HILL, THE MALTESE FALCON, CHARLIE CHAN films,
> >etc.).
> >
> As you pointed out in your previous post, the song is about someone looking for
> a lover who has gone astray. If that isn't a personal experience, I don't know
> what is.

But it's not. The "personal" elements have been left out. Does the
singer love the missing girl? Does he want to marry her ... or kill
her? His claim of "I'm gonna find her, child, you know I will" sounds
a bit like a threat. As does the phrase "You know I'll bring her in
some day."

We haven't a clue as to what the singer is feeling (lost love or hate
and revenge). He's "gonna find her" ... but to what end?

Since we don't know his motive in seeking her (nor hers in having
disappeared -- or whether her disappearance was of her own will), we
cannot participate in on "personal" level with singer's feelings (as
these remain a mystery to us).

All we can do is to take the story at face value: the singer has
determined to track down an ex-lover, and is getting off on images of
himself in the guise of various detectives culled from popular films
and tv shows. It's a stunted adolescent playing an adult variant of
"cowboys and indians" or "cops and robbers."

But apart from the obvious ego boost gained from stepping into Bulldog
Drummond's (gum)shoes, I can find no emotion whatsoever in this song.

> >Most song that become popular hits do so because they are VERY good.
> >TENNESSEE WALTZ, WAYWARD WIND, DOGGIE are no exception in this regard.
>
> Most songs that become popular hits do so because they sell a lot of copies.

And in a highly competitive marketplace, it has to be good to sell a
lot of copies.

> That is what both the words "popular" and "hits" mean. "Goodness", even "VERY
> goodness" has nothing to do with it. (Bruce Grossberg sometimes appears to
> argue the inverse; that the "best" songs are rarely hits, and I think he is no
> more right on this than you are.)

True. Many Great songs have failed to catch on with the buying
public. But few lousy songs have ever been million sellers.

I've stated before that I really can't think of any song from 1955 on
back that I dislike (and only a handful from the late 50s). My hatred
of certain later genres/eras (rap, metal, disco) is less demonstrative
of a failing in the songs than it is of an inability in myself to
appreciate them. They obviously struck a chord with the listening
public.

> If your definition is correct, then "most"
> of the rock and roll records you abhor must be "VERY good" because they were
> popular hits.

I don't "abhor" R&R records. I have (and sometimes still play) albums
by Dion, Buddy Holly, Chuck "The Poet" Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl
Perkins, Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, The Doors, The Stray
Cats, George Thorogood, et al.

And most of them are "VERY good."

> DOGGIE is a children's song, but it is presented from an
> >adult sensibility. For example, it is laced with wit that adults can
> >appreciate as well: "I don't want a bowl of little fishies/He can't
> >take a goldfish for walks."
> >
>
> If this is representative of your idea of "adult wit," I can understand your
> difficulty at finding anything humorous in "Searchin'." It's merely a question
> of your grasp.

It's not Oscar Wilde. But it's a bit out of the range of a 3-year
old.

> >> Mostly in the performance, and you should see it done live to truly
> appreciate
> >> it. The humor of the lyrics themselves is contextual, and it is too bad you
> >> miss it.
> >
> >Aha!!! If I should "see it done live to truly appreciate it" then it
> >fails as a _record_. It is a performance piece then -- dependent upon
> >visual presentation as much as on lyric, vocal delivery and music.
>
> You "Aha!!-ed" prematurely. You can reach your conclusion only by stopping at
> the end of the first sentence and presuming that it is only humorous live. I
> suspect that your "adult wit" might even be tickled by the live performance,
> but it is the performance, on the record, that makes the recording humorous.
>
> The humor from the song itself is contextual, as I said in the second sentence
> (the one you ignored). You have an individual faced with a personal (and
> despite your contention to the contrary, not unusual) dilemma who reacts in an
> unexpected way by calling upon pop culture icons as his models. It is clever
> and unexpected, two qualities at the root of all wit. When these elements are
> combined with a deliberately exaggerated delivery deftly performed, you end up
> with a classic piece of pop clowning.

I dunno. I still gon't get it.

I mean, I get the line of thought, but what's supposed to be funny
about that? A recognition that we all fantasize about stepping into
the shoes of pop cultural icons? I mean, like, isn't that the point
of popular culture in the first place?

Perhaps its because I've always been very imaginative ... but I just
don't think it's funny.

> >No, we don't need a complete backstory, but an introduction would be
> >nice. When the singer starts out climbing a mountain, something is
> >amiss.
> >
>
> Your need for a literal grounding suggests more about the limits of the
> listener's imagination than it does about the deficiencies of the song.

If the first line of a conversation you heard was "Well now if I have
to swim a river, you know I will," wouldn't your natural response be
one of "huh?"

> >I can dance to DOGGIE (and do with my children). I can't for the life
> >of me dance to SEARCHIN'.
>
> Again, that may say something more about the dancer than the song.
>
> >
> >Think you could describe how you dance (or how one would ideally
> >dance) to it?
> >
>
> Almost any shag or swing dance.

By swing, you can't possibly be referring to the jitterbug or the
lindy hop. "Shag" I only know from AUSTIN POWERS clips (I've never
watched the movies) as a Britishism for "sex."

> Tell you what. The night you are willing to present a program of you singing
> "innate" melodies, I will provide the choreography.

Deal.

Intheway1

unread,
Jul 29, 2003, 5:45:06 PM7/29/03
to
>Line One consists of 4 syllables, "The way ward wind."

Long "innate" melodic analysis of a song you are familiar with clipped


>I'm not familiar with the recording, but I am quite familiar with both
>songs, and can easily fit the lyrics of AMAZING GRACE into HOTRS's
>(aka, NEW ORLEANS') tune.
>
>It works. But not as well.

You are truly astounding. Not only can you divine "innate" melodies, you can
assess recordings without even hearing them. Is there no end to your psychic
talents?

>
>NEW ORLEANS is a traditional blues song,

This is simply wrong. It isn't blues at all.

and ... well ... folks in
>Heaven shouldn't be singing the blues.

And this demonstrates the lack of knowledge and understanding of the genre.


>
>*****
>
>Ralph W. Emerson (Transcendentalist philosopher and poet) wrote that
>every poem exists from time immemorial in its complete and perfect
>form. It is the function of the poet to capture it in as close to its
>perfect form as possible.
>
>Whether this is an aery theory, or whether it is a metaphysical truth
>(and I suspect the latter) would make for some interesting discussions
>(and has), but it is ultimately impossible to prove or disprove
>(drawing heavily on a Subjective approach to Reality).

Interesting, to be sure, but completely irrelevant to the subject matter.


>The same theory, IMO, holds true both with songwriting and recording.
>This is one reason why I feel no qualms about citing "definitive"
>versions of certain songs. It is what makes some songs -- and some
>recordings -- Great, and others merely Good.
>

We aren't talking "definitive versions," which I am taking to be an attempt to
change the subject now that you are in over your head onthis one.


>
>Don't forget that up until the recent times, poetry was originally set
>to music: from Homeric bards, to Elizabethan minstrels, to Victorian
>parlor music.

Irrelevant.

>
>Are you familiar with Jonson's TO CELIA as a poem, or as the song
>DRINK TO ME ONLY WITH THINE EYES -- or both?

Yes, and also irrelevant.

>
>Sometimes they were written along with the composition of the tune
>(especially as part of the Bardic tradition ) and sometimes they were
>later set to music by others (as was our National Anthem).

So?

>
>It was only with the advent of "Modern Poetry" in the 20th Century
>that music and verse became incompatible.
>

And the point this makes about "innate" melodies is…?

>Popular Music (especially the "Tin Pan Alley" var.) follows the same
>rules as poetry (only the themes have been, to a greater extent,
>brought down to a more mundane level). It's not poetry (and I don't
>mean to imply that it is). But it follows the same rules as poetry,
>and like the latter, it's melody is often implicit in its lyric.
>

You keep saying this, but where is the proof?

>> >****
>> MOST songs (those with a melody) have their lyrics dictated
>> >by the melody or their melody dictated by the lyrics (depending upon
>> >which aspect was composed first).
>>
>> I would really appreciate learning what proof you have of this statement.
>
>Again, this falls back on the Emersonian theory (which is purely
>speculative).

"Speculative," of course, means not demonstrable, or in blunt terms, without
proof.
Thanks for making my point.

The only thing concrete I can offer you is the songs
>themselves. Lyrics use words -- and each word was originally a "poem"
>perfectly "capturing" the essence of the thing it was used to
>represent (Robert Graves, THE WHITE GODDESS), and these words not only
>dictate various facets such as length, accent and timbre of delivery
>through their makeup (long/short vowels and consonants), but certain
>words and phrases also evoke feelings that can only "truthfully" be
>expressed in a certain manner.
>
>"Gone are the days
>When my heart was young and gay.
>Gone are my friends
>From the cotton fields away.
>Gone from the earth..."
>
>for example, is not going to work well with an upbeat tempo.

Length, accent, timbre, tempo still have nothing to do with melody. Try to
focus here, Scarlotti.

>
>> >SEARCHIN' has no melody, as evidenced by the scansion of its lines.
>>
>> Perhaps you have some uncanny ability to be able to ascertain melody
>strictly
>> from reading lyrics. You ought to find a way to market that talent,
>because
>> you are the only person I have ever heard claim to have it, at least since
>> Gregorian chants fell off the Top 40.
>
>I see nothing out of the ordinary in my claim. The interaction of
>lyric and melody is what makes a song "work." If the lyrics and music
>don't fit together just right ... the song will seem forced.
>Obviously, for words and music to harmonize there must be specific
>elements of each which complement one another. And while the process
>(being creative) is more intuitive than scientific, I wouldn't doubt
>that music theorists have expounded upon this in the past.

Find one that says there is an innate melody contained in specific lyrics and I
will forgive the rest of the attempt to fog things up with irrelevancies.

>
>> The obvious test of this remarkable skill would involve you performing in a
>> karaoke bar where you couldn't hear the music. I will leave it to those
>> geographically closer (and with stronger stomachs) to set it up.
>
>That doesn't work. If music (an integral part of song) is involved,
>then the singer must be able to hear it, in order to _sing along_ with
>it (the whole point of karaoke).
>
>A better test would be to submit a set of lyrics to several classic
>songs from a period which the reader/singer is unfamiliar with and ask
>him to set them to music. If the reader/singer is any good, his
>melodies with be close approximations of the famous ones.

See the new thread "The Innate Melody Test".


---long segment in which you prove you don't get the point of "Searchin'"
clipped---

>> >Most song that become popular hits do so because they are VERY good.
>> >TENNESSEE WALTZ, WAYWARD WIND, DOGGIE are no exception in this regard.
>>
>> Most songs that become popular hits do so because they sell a lot of
>copies.
>
>And in a highly competitive marketplace, it has to be good to sell a
>lot of copies.
>

No it doesn't. Really, it doesn't. It just has to be heavily promoted.

I am sure you think your writing is good. Why doesn't it appear on the best
seller lists?


>> That is what both the words "popular" and "hits" mean. "Goodness", even

>True. Many Great songs have failed to catch on with the buying
>public. But few lousy songs have ever been million sellers.

Again, sadly untrue. The Billboard charts don't support your opinion.

Fred

Scarlotti

unread,
Jul 30, 2003, 2:23:57 AM7/30/03
to
inth...@aol.com (Intheway1) wrote in message news:<20030729174506...@mb-m23.aol.com>...

> >I'm not familiar with the recording, but I am quite familiar with both
> >songs, and can easily fit the lyrics of AMAZING GRACE into HOTRS's
> >(aka, NEW ORLEANS') tune.
> >
> >It works. But not as well.
>
> You are truly astounding. Not only can you divine "innate" melodies, you can
> assess recordings without even hearing them. Is there no end to your psychic
> talents?

"Psychic" you say? Hardly. It's a simple matter of imaginative
thought. As I'm familiar with both songs, I can easily fit the lyrics
of one to the melody of the other. In doing so, I can easily imagine
(even "hear" inside my head) a general sense of what the end product
would sound like.

And, I repeat, that while the result would surely be interesting, the
combination of a blues (depression, despair) melody and a hymn of
Salvation (uplifting, joyous) would utimately play against each other.
(You could consider the hybrid to be a sardonic comment on religion
-- downright blasphemous if you remember that the "House of the Rising
Sun" is a brothel -- but you would be mad to claim that the melody in
any way captures the essence of the lyric.)



> >NEW ORLEANS is a traditional blues song,
>
> This is simply wrong. It isn't blues at all.

No?

The following description is from
http://www.electricscotland.com/si/features/singasang/rising_sun.htm.

"Footnote: To celebrate American Independence Day, an American song
which was very popular during the Scottish Folk Revival. The great
Josh MacRae, in particular, was outstanding in performing the 'Rising
Sun'. No one appears to know the exact origin of this famous Negro
folk blues. The well-known folk collector, the late Alan Lomax, stated
that many jazz musicians were familiar with the song before World War
I. Rising Sun, as the name for a bawdy house, occurs in many folk
songs."

Please note the description as "Negro folk blues."

> and ... well ... folks in
> >Heaven shouldn't be singing the blues.
>
> And this demonstrates the lack of knowledge and understanding of the genre.

Rather, it demonstrates your lack of knowledge concerning the concept
of "Heaven."

> >*****
.....

> >The same theory, IMO, holds true both with songwriting and recording.
> >This is one reason why I feel no qualms about citing "definitive"
> >versions of certain songs. It is what makes some songs -- and some
> >recordings -- Great, and others merely Good.
> >
> We aren't talking "definitive versions," which I am taking to be an attempt to
> change the subject now that you are in over your head onthis one.

Again, you are mistaken.

The concept that a song exists from all time immemorial in some
"Cosmic Data Bank" (see also C.G. Jung's theories on The Collective
Unconscious) which all men and women have the potential of accessing
(albeit to greater and lesser degrees of accuracy) and drawing
material from implies that there is a "perfect" (akin to the Platonic
"Ideal") version of every song.

Both the composer and the lyricist (or one individual fulfilling both
capacities) tap into this "Data Bank" in an attempt to recreate this
"Ideal" song in as close a reproduction of its true state as their
individual talents allow. The arranger, vocalist, musicians, etc.,
working on a recording of this song are, to all intents and purposes,
attempting to tap into this "Data Bank" as well (for the "Ideal," or
perfect, version of the song would theoretically exist in its final,
recorded state).

Thus the idea of there being _one_ "Ideal" melody for each lyric (and
vice versa), ultimately implies that there would be a (potential)
definitive recording for every song as well.



> >Don't forget that up until the recent times, poetry was originally set
> >to music: from Homeric bards, to Elizabethan minstrels, to Victorian
> >parlor music.
>
> Irrelevant.

Not at all. The point is that lyric and music have _always_ been
intrinsically linked.

> >Are you familiar with Jonson's TO CELIA as a poem, or as the song
> >DRINK TO ME ONLY WITH THINE EYES -- or both?
>
> Yes, and also irrelevant.

Not at all. How do you separate the two forms (poem and song)? The
music of the latter is implicit in the former (and vice versa).

> >Sometimes they were written along with the composition of the tune
> >(especially as part of the Bardic tradition ) and sometimes they were
> >later set to music by others (as was our National Anthem).
>
> So?

So, again, the finished song is comprised equally of the two basic
components (words and music). Is the melody of THE STAR-SPANGLED
BANNER more important than the words? The words more stirring than
the tune? Or does the _combination_ of words and music work, in
unison, to bring about the most powerful (and most perfect) possible
effect?

THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC worked with its original lyric, JOHN
BROWN'S BODY, but, obviously, not half as well as with its final
("Ideal") one.

> >It was only with the advent of "Modern Poetry" in the 20th Century
> >that music and verse became incompatible.
>
> And the point this makes about "innate" melodies is…?

That in traditional poetry (and popular song lyrics stem from the
Bardic traditions of poetry) there is an innate melody that a cultured
ear will be able to pick out in every poem. Modern Poetry, in
attempting to separate the words of poetry from the music, have
utterly destroyed the art form -- much in the same way that Rap is
currently destroying the art form known as "music".

> >Popular Music (especially the "Tin Pan Alley" var.) follows the same
> >rules as poetry (only the themes have been, to a greater extent,
> >brought down to a more mundane level). It's not poetry (and I don't
> >mean to imply that it is). But it follows the same rules as poetry,
> >and like the latter, it's melody is often implicit in its lyric.
>
> You keep saying this, but where is the proof?

In all the above example that you claim are "irrelevant" -- for
reasons known only to yourself (as you've not offered a hint as to
_why_ they would be irrelevant).

> >> >****

> >Again, this falls back on the Emersonian theory (which is purely
> >speculative).
>
> "Speculative," of course, means not demonstrable, or in blunt terms, without
> proof.
> Thanks for making my point.

"Thought" is also speculative, not demonstrable (except by example),
and without proof (the role of thought in any example being, by
nature, subjective).

Would you care to argue against the existence of "thought" as well?

.....

> Length, accent, timbre, tempo still have nothing to do with melody. Try to
> focus here, Scarlotti.

Of course they do. A song's melody is comprised of a series of notes.
In order for this series of notes to produce a melody (as opposed to,
say, the electronic "beeps" heard when dialing a push-button phone)
they must vary in length, accent, timbre, etc., in a recognizable (and
harmonious) pattern. It is the alterations in timbre, etc., in a
lyric which determine precisely what series of notes will best
reproduce (and capture the meaning/feeling/sense of) the lyrics, and
how long or loud each of the individual notes in that series will be.

.....

> >And while the process
> >(being creative) is more intuitive than scientific, I wouldn't doubt
> >that music theorists have expounded upon this in the past.
>
> Find one that says there is an innate melody contained in specific lyrics and I
> will forgive the rest of the attempt to fog things up with irrelevancies.

I have already cited Coleridge, Poe, Emerson and Graves (all writing
on poetry). The difference between a poem and a song are, insofar as
these theories are concerned, virtually nonexistent. (I remind you of
the examples of the interchangeable nature of poetry and song as
evidenced, above, by TO CELIA, THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER, & co., and
maintain that if their nature is interchangeable, then the rules
governing them must be interchangeable as well.)

Unless you can present some "evidence" to the contrary (an example
from a music theorist denying it) you have no choice but to accept my
already cited sources as sufficient.

(If I happen across any examples culled from music theory, I'll be
glad to post them as well.)

*****

> See the new thread "The Innate Melody Test".

Wouldn't miss it for the world.

> ---long segment in which you prove you don't get the point of "Searchin'"
> clipped---

Glad to learn that I'm capable of proving _something_ to you.

> >And in a highly competitive marketplace, it has to be good to sell a
> >lot of copies.
>
> No it doesn't. Really, it doesn't. It just has to be heavily promoted.

A lot of heavily promoted music of questionable merit also bombs
(witness Michael Jackson's recent albums).

> I am sure you think your writing is good. Why doesn't it appear on the best
> seller lists?

My writing is a work in progress. I'm happy with several of my poems,
but am only now starting to approach the level I'd like with my short
fiction.

It has not made the best seller lists to date because I have yet to
publish a novel. (This is not to imply any conceit on my part that I
possess the ability to write a best-selling novel -- merely that one
doesn't get on any lists _before_ one is actually published.)

[I recently posted an open call on my message board for my more
talented peers to ghost write a marketable story for me. If anyone
comes through for me, I may make that damn best seller list yet!]

.....

> >> That is what both the words "popular" and "hits" mean. "Goodness", even
> >True. Many Great songs have failed to catch on with the buying
> >public. But few lousy songs have ever been million sellers.
>
> Again, sadly untrue. The Billboard charts don't support your opinion.

The ones I've seen sure do.

Take a look at my SCARLOTTI'S ALL-TIME GREATEST list (make sure to
sort by date for the most recent version): how many of BILLBOARD'S top
20 songs for each year made it on my list?

Matter of fact, I'd say that the BILLBOARD charts are highly
reflective of my opinion. Perhaps what you really mean to say is that
sadly, the BILLBOARD charts don't reflect _yours_ (opinions based on
taste being subjective, after all).

ebebes

unread,
Jul 30, 2003, 10:32:57 AM7/30/03
to
Would you do me a favor? Your posts go on and on and on. Please
shorten them. On 'Google' when it gets to the bottom of what it shows
on the first screen your posts are usually tagged "read the rest of
this message ...252 more lines'. Aren't you wasting bandwidth or
something?

Thanks.

e.

Scarlotti

unread,
Jul 30, 2003, 4:53:51 PM7/30/03
to
todd...@peoplepc.com (ebebes) wrote in message news:<a17353b6.03073...@posting.google.com>...

> Would you do me a favor? Your posts go on and on and on. Please
> shorten them. On 'Google' when it gets to the bottom of what it shows
> on the first screen your posts are usually tagged "read the rest of
> this message ...252 more lines'. Aren't you wasting bandwidth or
> something?
>
> Thanks.
>
> e.

No can do.

You, however, are free to ignore and/or killfile them.

PRowan9262

unread,
Jul 30, 2003, 5:47:35 PM7/30/03
to
>Aren't you wasting bandwidth or
>> something?

That's why I assiduously DO NOT subscribe to that Dr. Atkins diet fad, baby!!!

My elastic band width ain't wasted a bit !!!

I adhere to the CHET Atkins diet

I fret the weight off !!!!


Dennis C from Tennessee

Steve Carras

unread,
Jul 30, 2003, 9:50:36 PM7/30/03
to

Most would call "Mack" swing..classical instrumentation deinfes clasic
Pop (Vaughn Monroe, Joni James,etc.)

Most 1959-1962 Darin songs are basically rock-pop-swing a la Brian
Setzer Orch (falme time perphas, bring on the briquettes)

Steve Carras

unread,
Jul 30, 2003, 9:52:33 PM7/30/03
to
sav...@aol.com (SavoyBG) wrote in message news:<20030727080357...@mb-m16.aol.com>...
defing: tyypo:defining.
>
>
>
> Bruce Grossberg

Steve Carras

unread,
Jul 30, 2003, 9:53:09 PM7/30/03
to
sav...@aol.com (SavoyBG) wrote in message news:<20030727080357...@mb-m16.aol.com>...

I meant, typo: defying. (Now you're gonna ask about typpo)

Cousin Brucie

unread,
Jul 31, 2003, 8:48:41 PM7/31/03
to
"Steve Carras" <gca...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:8c311548.03073...@posting.google.com...
============================================
I'm asking about *defying*..........??? ;^)

LOL!


CB
===============================


Bruce R. Gilson

unread,
Aug 4, 2003, 2:20:32 PM8/4/03
to
sav...@aol.com (SavoyBG) wrote in message news:<20030726105634...@mb-m15.aol.com>...

> > 7 SEARCHIN' (Coasters)
>

> >This is probably the one out of the 10

> I can't dredge up in my memory
>
> ANYBODY who doesn't know this record backwards and forwards should be barred
> from this newsgroup.
>

Obviously, that kind of comment is why I keep feeling this NG ought to
be split up. But anyway, I just recently gave a listen to that song.
Turns out I certainly _do_ remember it, just not the association with
the title. I probably thought the title was "Gonna Find Her" -- at
least, the only thing memorable (and I don't mean it in a good way)
about the song is the endless repetition of those 3 words.

It is absolutely clear that the only thing that Bruce Grossberg and I
share in common is a first name and last initial. And what "1950s
music" means to him and to me have about as much in common as pickles
and strawberry ice cream.

Bruce

Roger Ford

unread,
Aug 4, 2003, 2:45:42 PM8/4/03
to

But some of us like both pickles AND strawberry ice cream

ROGER FORD
-------------------------
"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
an extra "b" in my e-mail address (mari...@bblueyonder.co.uk).
Please delete same before responding.Thank you!

DianeE

unread,
Aug 4, 2003, 7:57:29 PM8/4/03
to

"Bruce R. Gilson" <b...@post.com> wrote in message
news:c78edf3c.0308...@posting.google.com...

> It is absolutely clear that the only thing that Bruce Grossberg and I
> share in common is a first name and last initial.

-------------
Don't forget that *middle* initial!

DianeE


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