Thursday, April 1, 2010

If at first you succeed, why not 'keep on rockin'?




When Joe and I are working building walls we often listen to music. The music alternates from jazz to classical to rock. We like to keep it a musical democracy. Sometimes we throw in some reggae if the sun is bright and we are getting hot. The number of 'classic rock' songs Joe knows amazes me. He can tell me the names of groups from the 60's that I cant even remember, and I was there. Accompanied by the constant sound of the radio and surrounded by an endless pile of stones that need to be shaped, it's just like the DJ says in his excitedly contrived voice,"The hits keep on coming! "

As far as one hit wonders go, there are a two crossover beauties worth commenting on. 'Classical Gas' is a unique non-vocal piece that is cleverly arranged and does sound vaguely classical . Too bad Mason Williams didn't give it another go. Maybe he changed careers and became a real mason, installing classic style gas fireplaces instead. Anyway Joe likes this tune and I like to think if Mason had produced more orchestrated pieces like this one, Joe might have cultivated a bit more tolerence for music like Pachelbel's canon, and then who knows, after that maybe even developed a taste for Copland or JoaquĆ­n Rodrigo.

The other not-so-classical 'one hit wonder' with a classical reference is the well known classic 'Rock Me Amedeus'. This song too presents a kind of 'blog-bridge' from walling to music, which means 'thinking with my hands' isn't wandering off topic too much. I am at least choosing singers or song titles which have some 'rock' or 'hand' connotations, even if the associations are oblique ones.

Here is a song that was done by a group called Falco who were never heard from again! Sort of like trying to find that phone number you wrote down of the landscapers who did your neighbours backyard retaining wall last fall. You cant even find them in the phone book. These guys must have been wanted by the authorities for tax evasion. Again if Falco knew enough to produce one smash hit why didn't they stick around and find a way to repeat their success? And what was that song about anyway?

Unlike Mason Williams, Falco made no attempt to sound classical. They were into purely eine kleine 'felsmusik'. Their musical premise, if they had one, was that Mozart was a 'rock star' of his day, and presumably they were all as licentious back then as everyone in the rock scene is today. (Not the dry stone 'rock' scene, of course!) As I review the video version of this song I can't help but think that everyone was too exhausted and dissipated to try to attempt to repeat their success or do any other variations on this theme. The world has thus been spared from hits like 'Shake Your Booty Bartok'.

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