Friday, May 23, 2014

Singing to my son in the bath again: the Duran Duran / Billy Joel (non) connection... and the Pixies commercial

While bathing my infant son I tend to occupy those moments by singing or humming tunes to him. Unlike what one might expect I don't go with lullabies or traditional children's songs but whatever happens to be stuck in my head (which I can still get away with because he has no grasp of what I'm singing).

Something I realized while doing so recently: The guitar riff in Duran Duran's "Planet Earth"... very similar to the melody of the "whoa-o-a-o-ah" vocals in Billy Joe's "Uptown Girl."

I'm about 85 percent sure that's mere coincidence.

Of course, one of those came out two years after the other, so some influence is not impossible. However, if that's the case, it was the piano man appropriating from the British quintet.

(This exercise also made me realize I can remember only that "whoa" part and the chorus to "Uptown Girl." Admitting that means I've confessed to singing the lyrics "Look now, look all around/There's no sign of life" to my four-and-a-half-month-old.

But as long as I've gone that far, let's cap it off with a bit more about my vocal stylings with that tune: When it gets to "Can you hear me now?" I do not sing that like the Verizon commercial but when it gets to "This is planet earth" I completely say the title the way in the Bugs Bunny Brooklyn accent I recall from old cartoons with him talking to Marvin the Martian—"This is planet oith, you're looking at planet oith."

As to why either Duran or Joel would be in my mind is inexplicable, given I haven't heard either in quite some time. But determining the inner workings of my mind is quixotic.)


On that topic (somewhat)...

Recently Apple has employed the Pixies' "Gigantic" in their TV commercial for the iPhone. What's interesting is how that hasn't so much made me inclined to consider their device but instead merely got a song I liked stuck in my head. It hasn't turned me off on the song at all as one might expect.

I suppose that shows the power of a really good song; no appropriation can ruin it.

But when I have sung that to my son in the bath—and I do remember most of the words to that—I have (for no discernible reason) switched the chorus to pseudo-Spanish: "Gigante, gigante/ Un amor grande." (I know that's not grammatically correct; it merely rhymes. See previous note regarding my brain.)

Eh, he seems amused by it, and that's all I care about.

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