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NOW I can Name That Tune! (formerly Is That What it’s called?)

September 24, 2014

One of the things I’ve done recently is rummage through the Mecca of production music sites as a way to pass downtime at work. I refer to Associated Production Music, and their most excellent s ite, which lets you preview tracks on any album you wish. Naturally, I wanted the comedy tracks to cheer me up, and to see what I would recognize. Lo and behold, the first album I clicked on was simply called CLASSIC COMEDY.  The very first track listed was one I didn’t expect to find and learn so much about.  This track was very prevalent in the 1970’s and 1980’s, especially when Sesame Street was featuring their time-lapse beginning/end series, and was used not only in this series, but also used in Owe Gustaffson’s three dancing penguins cartoon. Ah, now you’re either hearing it in your head, or you’re opening YouTube in a new browser to search for this.  That piece, dear readers is called I SAY, I SAY, I SAY.  The composer is David Lindup.  David was a session musician, arranger, and composer.  His son was the lead singer of Level 42. At last, the mystery was solved for me.  But here’s what I didn’t know about the track.  I mostly only ever heard the thirty second cut.  The full track clocks in at a minute and thirty-eight, with the familiar melody book-ending the track. The thirty second edit is actually the end of the track.  I never knew that there was a xylophone solo, a trombone solo, a trumpet solo, and an electric guitar solo as well.  I also didn’t know the train whistle is only one way to punctuate the end.  There’s also a siren whistle, and my favorites, the Monty Python raspberry and a laughing cornet sound. I must say that I owe props to the rhythm section. They only catch a break when the guitar comes in. Can you imagine what the lead sheet must have looked like? Now I put the question to you. Besides Sesame Street, what are your memories of I SAY, I SAY, I SAY? I’m eager to hear from you. UPDATE 10/7:  Recently, the A.P.M. site updated its preview section. Today I learned the version we know is the thirty second B edit, and that Owe Gustafson used the fifteen second “link” edit, minus the percussive intro. I also did a search on bing for this, and some hits made me chuckle. One site requested someone post lyrics. My question is how on earth do you write lyrics for this???? Then I find out that you can download it from Amazon.com as an mp3. I suppose it’s handy for a project, but for personal use? I don’t think so, unless you WANT a permanent musical ear-wig. Update: 2/16/2015: The coolest thing just happened! I emailed Mike Lindup about this piece. He wrote back saying he didn’t realize this was his dad’s composition, and asked ME to direct him to APM’s site so he could hear it for himself. Stay tuned for further updates!

Update: If you put the track type title into a bing or Google search, a suggestion will appear for I SAY, I SAY, I SAY JOKES. These jokes originated in English music hall and consist of three parts. The first comedian makes a simple statement like, “My brother’s on a singing tour of South Korea.” The second asks a simple short question, which in our example would be “Seoul?”. The first comedian then delivers the punch line answer: “No, R&B”. These jokes are delivered in a rapid fire patter rhythm. For me, this explains why the piece is set up the way it is. The tempo is definitely music hall comedy. The partial main theme evokes the comedians entering the stage and start dancing frantically. The middle sections of instrument solos are the jokes themselves. When the main theme reprises, the comedians exit dancing. Well, that’s my interpretation anyway. I guess this piece was David’s tribute to the early days of British entertainments.

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