Posts tagged ‘Song’

April 6, 2012

Minnie the Moocher

cab calloway

Minnie the Moocher‘ is a jazz song first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, famous for its nonsensical ad libbed (‘scat’) lyrics. In performances, Calloway would have the audience participate by repeating each scat phrase in a form of call and response. Eventually Calloway’s phrases would become so long and complex that the audience would laugh at their own failed attempts to repeat them. The song is based both musically and lyrically on Frankie ‘Half-Pint’ Jaxon’s 1927 ‘Willie the Weeper’ (Bette Davis sings this version in ‘The Cabin in the Cotton’).

The lyrics are heavily laden with drug references. The character ‘Smokey’ is described as ‘cokey’ meaning a user of cocaine; the phrase ‘kicking the gong around’ was a slang reference to smoking opium. It was followed two years later by Lonnie Johnson’s ‘Winnie the Wailer.’

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March 16, 2012



Forever‘ is a song by American recording artist Chris Brown from ‘Exclusive: Forever Edition,’ a repackaged edition of his second studio album ‘Exclusive.’ It was written by Brown and his songwriting team, the Graffiti Artists (Rob Allen and Andre Merritt), and Jamal Jones and Brian Kennedy. The track was produced by Kennedy and Jones under his production name ‘Polow da Don.’ The song’s musical structure differs from Brown’s previous work, opting for a more European techno dance sound.

‘Forever’ is actually an extended version of a commercial jingle for Doublemint gum, commissioned by an advertising company working for Wrigley. Brown first created the short version for the commercial, then extended and amended it into a full song during a recording session in 2008, which was paid for by the gum company. Wrigley terminated their endorsement deal with Brown in 2009 due to his arrest for domestic violence against Rihanna.

March 16, 2012

Pass the Dutchie

musical youth

dutch masters

Pass the Dutchie‘ was a song recorded by the British group Musical Youth from their 1982 album ‘The Youth of Today.’ It was a major hit, holding the number one position on the UK singles charts for three weeks in 1982 and selling 5 million copies worldwide. The song was a cover version of the song ‘Pass the Kouchie’ by The Mighty Diamonds, which deals with the recreational use of cannabis, ‘kouchie’ being slang for a cannabis pipe.

For the cover version, the song’s title was bowdlerized to ‘Pass the Dutchie,’ and all obvious drug references were removed from the lyrics; e. g., when the original croons ‘How does it feel when you got no herb?,’ the cover version refers to ‘food’ instead. ‘Dutchie’ is used as a slang term to refer to a food cooking pot such as a Dutch oven in Jamaica and the Caribbean. It has since become a drug reference in itself, denoting a blunt stuffed with marijuana and rolled in a wrapper from a Dutch Masters cigar.

February 18, 2012

In the Year 2525

zager and evans

In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)’ is a hit song from 1969 by American pop-rock duo Zager and Evans. It opens with the words ‘In the year 2525, If man is still alive, If woman can survive, They may find…’ Subsequent verses pick up the story at 1,010-year intervals from 2525 to 6565. Disturbing predictions are given for each selected year. In the year 3535, for example, all of a person’s actions, words and thoughts will be preprogrammed into a daily pill. Then the pattern as well as the music changes, going up a half step in the key of the song, after two stanzas, first from A flat minor, to A minor, and, then, finally, to B flat minor, and verses for the years 7510, 8510 and 9595 follow.

The overriding theme, of a world doomed by its passive acquiescence to and overdependence on its own overdone technologies, struck a resonant chord in millions of people around the world in the late 1960s. The song describes a nightmarish vision of the future as man’s technological inventions gradually dehumanize him. It includes a colloquial reference to the Second Coming (In the year 7510, if God’s a-coming, He ought to make it by then.), which echoed the zeitgeist of the Jesus Movement.

February 16, 2012

Trans-Europe Express


Trans-Europe Express‘ is the title track of Kraftwerk’s 1977 album of the same name, and released as a single at the time. The music was written by Ralf Hütter, and the lyrics by Hütter and Florian Schneider. The track is ostensibly about the Trans Europ Express rail system, with technology and transport both being common themes in Kraftwerk’s ouvre. The track has since found further influence, both in hip-hop by its interpolation by Afrika Bambaata (via Arthur Baker) on the seminal ‘Planet Rock’ and by modern experimental bands such as the electroclash bands of the early 2000s.

The musical elements of the suite have been described as having a haunting theme with ‘deadpan chanting of the title phrase’ which is ‘slowly layered over that rhythmic base in much the same way that the earlier ‘Autobahn’ was constructed.’ The song’s lyrics reference the album Station to Station and meeting with musicians Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Hütter and Schneider had previously met up with Bowie in Germany and were flattered with the attention they received from him. Ralf Hütter was interested in Bowie’s work as he had been working with Iggy Pop, who was the former lead singer of the Stooges; one of Hütter’s favorite groups.

February 4, 2012

Circus Galop


Circus Galop is a piece for player piano written by Marc-André Hamelin. It was composed between 1991 and 1994 and it is dedicated to Beatrix and Jürgen Hocker, piano roll makers. Its duration is approximately 4–5 minutes. Scores of this piece are available through the Sorabji Archive. Piano rolls of this piece are available from Wolfgang Heisig and Jürgen Hocker, who have recorded all three of Hamelin’s player piano pieces on the MDG label, which were released in 2008.

It is impossible for a single human to play, as at some points all the piano staves are played at the same time, and up to 21 notes simultaneously. It is used to test MIDI software to drive it to its maximum potential, such as Synthesia, or PianoMIDI.

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January 26, 2012

Waterloo Sunset

Something Else

Waterloo Sunset is a song by British rock band The Kinks. It was released as a single in 1967, and featured on their album ‘Something Else by The Kinks.’ Composed and produced by Kinks frontman Ray Davies, ‘Waterloo Sunset’ is one of the band’s best known and most acclaimed songs. The lyrics describe a solitary narrator watching (or imagining) two lovers passing over a bridge, with the melancholic observer reflecting on the couple, the Thames, and Waterloo Station.

The song was rumored to have been inspired by the romance between two British celebrities of the time, actors Terence Stamp and Julie Christie. Ray Davies denied this in his autobiography, ‘It was a fantasy about my sister going off with her boyfriend to a new world and they were going to emigrate and go to another country.’

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January 2, 2012

I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)

hall and oates

I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)‘ is a 1981 song recorded by Daryl Hall and John Oates. It was the fourth number-one hit single of their career and second hit single from their album ‘Private Eyes.’ It features Charles DeChant on saxello. Daryl Hall sketched out the basic song one evening at a music studio in New York City in 1981 after a recording session for the ‘Private Eyes’ album. Hall began to play a bass line on a Korg organ, and sound engineer Neil Kernon recorded the result. Hall then came up with a guitar riff, which he and Oates worked on together. The next day, Hall and Sara Allen worked on the lyrics.

Thanks to heavy airplay on urban contemporary radio stations, it topped the U.S. R&B chart, a rare feat for a non-African American act. According to the Hall and Oates biography, Hall, upon learning that it had gone to number one wrote in his diary, ‘I’m the head soul brother in the U.S. Where to now?’ Also according to Hall, during the recording of ‘We Are the World,’ Jackson approached him and admitted to lifting the bass line for ‘Billie Jean’ from ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).’ Hall says that he told Jackson that he had lifted the bass line from another song himself, and that it was ‘something we all do.’

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September 25, 2011



Echoes‘ is a song by Pink Floyd including lengthy instrumental passages, sound effects, and musical improvisation. Written in 1970 by all four members of the group (credited as Roger Waters, Richard Wright, Nick Mason, David Gilmour on the original release), ‘Echoes’ provides the extended finale to Pink Floyd’s album ‘Meddle.’ The track has a running time of 23:31 and takes up the entire second side of the vinyl recording.

The composition uses many progressive and unconventional musical effects. The ping sound heard at the beginning of the song was created as the result of an experiment at the very beginning of the Meddle sessions. It was produced through amplifying a grand piano and sending the signal through a Leslie rotating speaker. At six minutes in, a funk progression in the tonic minor begins. Gilmour used the slide for certain sound effects on the studio recording.

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July 3, 2011

Eminence Front

Kimye by Agnes Street

Eminence Front‘ is a song written and sung by Pete Townshend of The Who. It appears as the sixth track on the group’s 1982 studio album, ‘It’s Hard.’ It is the only song from the album that the band has opted to play live after the initial post-release tours. Lead singer Roger Daltrey, vocally critical of the album, described ‘Eminence Front’ as the only song on it that he felt was worthy of being released.

In the song, Townshend sings about the delusions and drug use of the wealthy and hedonistic. The lyrics describe a party in which people hide from their problems behind a facade. Townshend has introduced the song in live performances with: ‘This song is about what happens when you take too much white powder; it’s called Eminence Front.’

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June 6, 2011

On Melancholy Hill

melancholy hill

On Melancholy Hill‘ is the third single from British alternative group Gorillaz’ third studio album, ‘Plastic Beach.’ The song was originally written by Damon Albarn during the production time for his other super group project: ‘The Good The Bad and The Queen.’ The single was released in 2010. The music video (directed by Tank Girl co-creator Jaime Hewlett) was released shortly thereafter.

Band member Murdoc Niccals stated the following about ‘On Melancholy Hill, ‘it’s that feeling, that place, that you get in your soul sometimes, like someone’s let your tires down. It’s nice to break up the album with something a little lighter. It’s good to have something that’s a genuine pop moment on every album. And this is one of those.’

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June 1, 2011

54-46 (That’s My Number)


54-46 (That’s My Number)‘ is a song by Fred ‘Toots’ Hibbert, recorded by Toots & the Maytals and originally released on the Beverly’s label in Jamaica and the Pyramid label in the UK. It was one of the first ska songs to receive widespread popularity outside Jamaica and is seen as being one of the defining songs of the reggae genre. It has been anthologized repeatedly and the titles of several reggae anthologies include ’54-46′ in their title.

The lyrics describe Toots’ time in prison for an arrest for possession of marijuana. The song features the same riddim (instrumental accompaniment) to a song as ‘Train to Skaville’ by Toots & the Maytals’ contemporaries The Ethiopians. Hibbert later admitted that 54-46 was not his actual jail number, and that he was not arrested for a crime related to marijuana.

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