Monday, February 25, 2008

Dizzies Music Supplement — February edition

Dizzyhead musical challenge from Levi:

Listening just now to the Magnetic Fields's "I Think I Need a New Heart," I realized that it's one of that small class of songs that includes a reference to a (possibly different?) song by that same name that's playing during the song:

As you put down your keys
and say, "Don't call me, please,"
While the radio plays "I Think I Need a New Heart."

The others I know of are "Bonaparte's Retreat"

So I held her in my arms
And told her of her many charms;
Kissed her while the guitars played
"Bonaparte's Retreat."
and "Tennessee Waltz"
I was waltzing with my darling
To "The Tennessee Waltz"
When an old friend I happened to see.
I introduced him to my darling
And while they were dancing
My friend stole my sweetheart from me.
—both written by Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart. Are there others that you know of?

(Write to: or leave a comment. The one that springs to my mind is "Write a song about your dream of horses/Call it 'Judy and the Dream of Horses," from B&S's "Judy and the Dream of Horses")

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Blogger Ed said...

From Dizzyhead JMcB:

I think Destroyer songs are littered with such self-reference, and here's just one to get the ball rolling, from "Looters' Follies" on DESTROYER'S RUBIES:

"I swear somewhere the truth lies within this wood/ I swear, Looters'
Follies has never sounded so good/ And, win or lose-what's the difference?"

12:34 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Dizzyhead Douglas writes: "One that comes to mind is Twa Toots' 'Please Don't Play "A Rainy Night in Georgia,"' although I don't know if it *quite* satisfies your criteria."

3:25 PM  
Blogger joe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:07 AM  
Blogger joe said...

Ok, I suggested the hokey pokey but realised that's what you're doing rather than what you're listening to; but maybe the Lucksmith's "Music to Hold Hands To" works? The lyrical context is ambiguous and seems to suggest an imagined genre rather than a title, but in that case the song is written as an example of that genre ("I could never understand you/ Hating music to hold hands to").

6:14 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

I like it!

7:53 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

And you know....these are ourobori, of sorts!

(If anyone has the June/July 05 Blvr., I have a piece on "seven musical Moebius strips," which includes B&S as well as Pulp: "I wrote this song two hours before we met." WHAA??)

7:54 AM  
Blogger Levi Stahl said...

These songs' relationship to ourobori was the reason I thought to appeal to you and your readership* in the first place.

*which reminds me of a great story: a friend was once asked some sort of arcane question at work one day, and when she didn't know the answer, her coworker said, "Well, can't you just put it out there to your network of geeks?"

10:45 AM  
Blogger Dewey Dell said...

Little Wings' song "So What" asks/says, "So what was the song that I wrote 3rd of June 2003? So what in the morning, like a playful kitten came to me." Delightfully doubling the title's question.

5:51 PM  
Blogger thatbob said...

1. The Last Cheater's Waltz is definitely one of these songs ("Oooh, three-quarters only / See how he holds her / As the band plays / The Last Cheater's Waltz"). I think that's why Emmylou Harris records it on the same album as Tennessee Waltz.

2. Depending on how you punctuate the refrain: "The night they drove ol' Dixie down / All the bells were ringing / The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down."

3. In Highway Patrolman, Bruce Springsteen sings, "Taking turns dancing with Maria / While the band plays Night of the Johnstown Flood." I can't find any evidence that Night of the Johnstown Flood exists outside of Highway Patrolman, and so I've always liked to imagine that Night of the Johnstown Flood is itself a song where the band plays a song called Night of the Johnstown Flood - or possibly even a song called Highway Patrolman.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Ed said...


Dizzyhead Brent chimes in: "what abt
'YOUR SONG' by elton john? i've always been confused when trying to figure out at just what point it becomes her or his song. but "you can tell everybody/ that this is 'YOUR SONG.'"

8:23 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Now someone just needs to put these on a mix tape/play them on his/her show...

8:25 PM  
Blogger thatbob said...

Strike up the music the band has begun
The Pennsylvania Polka.
Pick out your partner and join in the fun
The Pennsylvania Polka.
It started in Scranton, it’s now No 1
It’s bound to entertain you
Everybody has a mania
To do the polka from Pennsylvania.

By Lester Lee & Z. Manners. I like that they built a rhyme around the chart position they were hoping it would obtain. And I hate to think that maybe it never actually reached number one, making the whole song a lie.

1:14 AM  

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