Saturday, January 30, 2016

Some Lyrical Blasts from the Past

YouTube playlist for this article,
playlist compilation article


In the distant past, I actually memorized some oddball sequential utterances of some lyrics. However, I think about other sequences—mostly names of locations—that I seem unable to memorize. Little wonder I had not seriously gone into acting or singing, which require seemingly innate talents to memorize and recite.

Learning weirdly nonsensical utterances are kinda embarrassing to admit to. Anyone else? Example songs include "Hooked on a Feeling" (Blue Swede, 1974), "Wanna Be Startin' Something" (Michael Jackson, 1982), "Witch Doctor" (Alvin and Chipmunks, 1958), and "Good Morning Starshine" (Oliver, 1969).

Hooked on a Feeling (Blue Swede)
The link is a two-fer, with lyrics in the video. Dig the chant part!
Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga
Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga
Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga
Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga
Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga
I read more information about "Hooked on a Feeling", most recently about it being in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. BJ Thomas released his own version in the late 60s, although YouTube listings don't show any live performances that old. Watch an undated and more recent performance.

Wanna Be Startin' Something (Michael Jackson)
Lyrics excerpt
Ma Ma Se,
Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa
Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa,
Ma Ma Coo Sa
[Repeat/Fade-Out]
Actually, the lyrics to the rest of the song are loads plentiful. About all I could remember are the song title and "You're a Vegetable". (I had no nope of memorizing the entire song!)

Witch Doctor (Alvin and Chipmunks)
Lyrics excerpt
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang...
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang
In my web searches, I ran across a different "Witch Doctor" version. The only similarity is the song title.

Good Morning Starshine (Oliver)—a big hit from the musical Hair
Lyrics excerpt
Gliddy glub gloopy nibby nabby noopy
La la la, lo lo
Sabba sibbi sabba nooby aba naba
Lee lee, lo lo
Tooby ooby wala
Nooby aba naba…
Early morning singin' song
Another Hair song comes to mind for memorization efforts—the actual "Hair" song, which has loads of adjectives and phrases WRT to hair. Love the song, can't memorize much of it to save my life, even though it has no utterances like Starshine does. Not sure I could sing "Hair" well even with karaoke lyrics to look at.
Lyrics excerpt
I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy
Shining, gleaming, streaming
Flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!

Let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas
A hive for bees
A nest for birds
Now to segue into other songs that I have lyrics memorization issues with. Although "Hallelujah" doesn't require much lyrics memorization, the rhythm and pitch are killers! Watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performance.
Memorization difficulties for me include lyrics with series of items.

Surfin' USA (Beach Boys, 1963)
Lyrics excerpt
You'd catch 'em surfin' at Del Mar
Ventura County line
Santa Cruz and Trestle
Australia's Narrabeen
All over Manhattan
And down Doheny Way

Haggerties and Swamies
Pacific Palisades
San Onofre and Sunset
Redondo Beach L. A.
All over La Jolla
At Wa'imea Bay.
Heart of Rock and Roll (Huey Lewis and the News, 1983)
Lyrics excerpt
New York, New York, ...
LA, Hollywood, and the Sunset Strip ...
DC, San Antone and the Liberty Town, Boston and Baton Rouge
Tulsa, Austin, Oklahoma City, Seattle, San Francisco, too ...
In Cleveland
Detroit!!
Vogue (Madonna, 1990)
Lyrics excerpt
Greta Garbo, and Monroe
Deitrich and DiMaggio
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean
On the cover of a magazine

Grace Kelly; Harlow, Jean
Picture of a beauty queen
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire
Ginger Rodgers, dance on air

They had style, they had grace
Rita Hayworth gave good face
Lauren, Katherine, Lana too
Bette Davis, we love you
Note: I looked up about six lyrics sites, and they all misspell Deitrich, which should be Dietrich.

Extreme Memorization and Delivery Performances
Watch astounding memorization, harmonization, and mashups in Straight No Chaser's "12 Days of Christmas". Read the lyrics, which are interesting for capably presenting numerous simultaneous singing parts.

Watch Weird Al's "White and Nerdy", his parody of Chamillionaire's "Ridin' Dirty". Lyrics to both songs are very taxing to the brain for their tempo and quantity. Notice visual similarities between the videos. (As a Weird Al fan, I especially appreciate his cultural references and also cameos by the comedy duo, Key and Peele, and Donny Osmond.)

"Life is a Rock" (Reunion), to me, is the King Kong of memorization impossibility that has lots of names and references—too numerous to list. Furthermore, the delivery is EXTREMELY fast. Visit the collage and the screen lyrics versions.

Mumbly Deliveries
I feel less inclined to learn lyrics to "mumbly" song deliveries. To me, one particular song stands out for mumbliness—both popular versions of "Louie, Louie". Contrast Kingsmen and Paul Revere and Raiders versions. For eyeball and ear convenience, read the screen lyrics while listening.

Two versions of "Gimme Some Lovin'" contrast in lyrics deliveries. Steve Winwood, who sang the Spencer Davis Group version, belts it out passionately, but the Blues Brothers enunciate great! (Watch both the SDG and the BB version.) BTW, the BB version is a clip from the movie.

Tiptoeing
I briefly considered titling my article "Tiptoeing Thru Some Blasts from Past Lyrics", which would have taken me far from my intended topic of lyrics WRT memorization. However, I do want to share the obvious tiptoe blast from past—"Tiptoe Through the Tulips". Amazingly, Tiny Tim's version is nearly 50 years old (1968). An older version is in the Golddiggers of Broadway movie (1929). BTW, my tiptoeing in Tiny Tim YouTube territory took me to an entertaining video of him performing "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" on the Johnny Carson Show.

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