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So. something struck me as I was driving home tonight.
(No, not a rock, or another car, or a giant sturgeon falling out of the space station. That last one’s for you Simpsons fans — remember the mechanic, when they took the car in, with the fish embedded in the hood?
‘Well… there’s yer problem.‘
Ah, Simpsons. Will your animated adventures never cease?)
Anyway, back to my decidedly non-animated life, and the thought that struck me as I drove home.
Last week, I spent time and effort and way too many brain cells thinking up ridiculous questions for people’s interviews — fifteen interviews times five outlandish questions equals seventy-five brain-bending, head-scratching, ‘what the fuck is Charlie smoking these days, anyway?‘ kinds of questions. But that’s not the point.
The point is that I came up with all of these questions, and completely neglected to ask anyone the one off-the-wall, ‘out there’ question that I most often ask myself. Just slipped my mind, I guess.
(Not that it’s difficult to slip my mind these days. I think my brain’s been greased up, Teflon-coated, and slathered in baby oil. In a completely platonic, non-sexual way, of course. If such a thing is possibly when you’re talking about baby oil slatheration.
I’m not entirely convinced, I have to admit. Everything gets a little ‘thexier‘ when you’re rubbing baby oil into it. Grandma, the neighbor’s cat, a nice big watermelon — really, it doesn’t matter. Something in the oil, I suspect.)
Anyway — running screaming from the mental image of me rubbing down grannykins while Mr. Whiskers from next door and an oversized melon look on expectantly — I was a little disappointed at first about forgetting the question, because it should have been so easy to come up with. But then I realized that this is much better — now lots of people can get to answer it, instead of just one! So, if you’re up for it, here’s my single ‘asinine interview question to the world’:
Imagine that someone comes up behind you, right this minute, puts a gun to your head, and says,
‘Sing one song that was actually produced and performed by a real band or singer in the last fifty years — no nursery rhymes, traditional folk songs, TV show themes, instrumentals, or anything like that. You can sing off-key — within reason — but you have to sing all the words in the song, in the right order, and in the right places, or I’ll kill you, right now.‘
So, the question is: what song do you know, absolutely cold, backward and forward, so well that you’d risk your life on your ability to sing absolutely every word of it without fail?
Once you’ve come up with a song — and really play along; if there are songs out there with one or two words or something like that, exclude those. Pick a ‘proper’ song, at least a couple of minutes long. Then try it — sing it once, as soon as you’ve picked it, all the way through, and see whether you’d make it out of this hypothetical dilemma alive.
To be fair, I’ll answer the question myself. And I’ll tell you that I didn’t make it the first couple of times I tried it. There was always a word or two in every song that I ‘sang through’, but realized I didn’t know, or I’d put the chorus where they change one word in the wrong place, or something… it was always something. I had my pretend-brains hypothetically splattered all over the simulated wall more than once.
Finally, though, I found my song. I’m admittedly a little rusty right now, but for at least a couple of years, I could sing (to myself, of course; no need to create panic and fear among the masses) Waitress in the Sky by the Replacements as faithfully as my warbly voice would allow. I was ready for that man with the gun, but it took several trial runs, and a few song changes.
And maybe you’ll have the same thing happen. Anyway, let me know what you pick, and how you do. I want to hear what happens — okay, okay… I want to hear about what happens. I’ve seen some of you say that you cannot sing, and — as someone who also makes the same claim — I tend to take that sort of thing at face value. So no MP3s of your efforts, please. Words will be just fine, thanks.Permalink | 13 Comments
Great question man!
I kept getting the words to “Tonight She Comes” (The Cars) and “Shake it up” (also, The Cars) mixed up. Maybe it’s a freudian thing.
comfortably numb- Pink Floyd
I was going to post a comment here, but I’m afraid my life has been ended by your gunman :-(
Memory. From the musical ‘Cats”. But I use to be a singer, and it was my audition song… so don’t laugh. It’s not like I have a spandex cat suit in my closet or anything…
Comfortably Numb -me too Jeff -and it instantly mellows me out every time.
Natalie -given his aforemention baby oiling the cat fantasy- you may have just really worked Ol’ Charlie up w/ the mention of the cat suit. LOL
I’d be comfortable attempting Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett or Fire and Rain by James Taylor.
There are probably 10 or 15 songs like that (I’m a musician, I know a lot of tunes), but under pressure, the only one that leapt into my head was “True Companion” by Marc Cohn. Why? I do not know.
I know I’m kind of pushing the 50-years thing, but I would do “I Write the Songs” by Barry Manilow or “Love Will Keep Us Together” by the Captain and Tennille.
I’m so ashamed.
“Yellow Submarine.” And Ringo sort of sang it off-key in the first place.
How about “baby it’s cold outside” sung by ella fitzgerald. Think the gunman would sing the duet with me?
“Wonderful” by Annie Lenox. It’s new (Bare CD), but I’m getting to old to remember anything that isn’t started for me.
Wow, there are a lot of songs that I know *most* of. But I guess I’d have to try Free Falling by Tom Petty and hope for the best.