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I Dreamed I Held You In My Arms
June 3, 2014 8:47 PM   Subscribe

Jenny and Lottie sing "You Are My Sunshine" in minor key
posted by The Whelk (43 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
The lyrics to that song are pretty sad to begin with, and it really only took a little tinkering to make it A Stalker's Anthem.
posted by gingerest at 8:52 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Stalkers Anthem? Sheesh. It's an innocent old song with one line that I sincerely doubt was written as a threat.

I still have a great fondness for this corny old song. My grandparents used to sing it together in their quavery old voices. My mom sang it to us kids to put us to sleep, and I sang it to my grandkids. I've never even imagined the line about regretting to mean anything else except looking back at a love that you didn't realize was so loyal and true.

But hey, it's a whole different world now.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:08 PM on June 3 [10 favorites]


Y'know what this FPP needs? It needs like twenty more covers just like this, because this is just fucking delightful.
posted by dogheart at 9:10 PM on June 3 [10 favorites]


Yeah, parents and grandparents sing the chorus to and with little kids, and it's all cute and stuff, but it's truly one of the saddest songs ever written.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:12 PM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Oh, and that version is pretty incredible.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:16 PM on June 3


My mom sang me this song when I was little.

In the major key, of course. Even though, yeah, if you get to the verses, it is a sad song. Isn't the idea that the narrator of the song was cheated on by the subject?

Also, the girl on the left is wearing a shirt with my Catholic high school's tartan.
posted by Sara C. at 9:19 PM on June 3


BlueHorse, I was talking about the minor-key version as delivered by Jenny and Lottie. If your three generations of family sang the babies to sleep with that, I'm very excited to meet you, Mrs. Addams.
posted by gingerest at 9:21 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


People sing their kids to sleep with all sorts of terrifying songs. The lyrics to this song are indeed sad and kind of possessive/dwelling (like many love songs).

This version is really lovely, thanks for posting. I don't even usually like ukelele things.
posted by sweetkid at 9:26 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


This was a whole thing a while ago, right?

Ah, yeah: there we go. All kindsa key changes here.
posted by boo_radley at 9:32 PM on June 3


Remember the episode of The Simpsons where Bart gets sent to military school and Lisa decides to go with him? There's a scene where Lisa, who is very lonely because she's the only girl, listens to a cassette of her mom singing You Are My Sunshine acapella.

It is honestly one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking moments I've ever seen on television.

This song is the "Love You Forever" of songs.
posted by dry white toast at 9:38 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Changing major key songs to minor is indeed a whole thing, and I think it's kind of an interesting musico-cultural phenomenon. I think this one is oddly off-the-mark, though. Why? Because to me the weird disconnect between the sunny, happy chorus lyrics (and, of course its major key setting) and the otherwise sad message of the song is precisely what makes the tune such a little jewel. Giving it a minor key treatment obliterates that uneasy tension, the unexpected nature of which is, for me, absolutely key to the success of the song.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:43 PM on June 3 [18 favorites]


Here's Low's version, off of the incomparable I Could Live in Hope from 1994. They kept it in the same key, but of course slowed the tempo way down, as was their wont in those days. (I confess to almost always stopping the album when it gets to this song, however.)
posted by whir at 9:50 PM on June 3 [4 favorites]


Guys just so you know one of my ACTIVE PROJECTS (things that might actually get done this year instead of "Eh, some day") is arranging and recording 70s-90s TV commercial jingles (like Folgers, Blockbuster Video, etc) as incredibly sad minor-key funeral dirges and chorales (complete with baroque tonic-major "Amen" at the end) with like Mom and Dad's faces as a ghostly overlay in the sky, "Rest in Peace, 1947-2014" etc etc

Hey internet: don't exhaust this fully before I do it please
I promise it will be FPP-worthy, we're talking like 50 piece choir, via studio overdubbing magic
posted by jake at 9:54 PM on June 3 [12 favorites]


Anybody who's surprised to find that You Are My Sunshine has another side beyond the happy sing-songy familiar family staple is probably unaware of much of the fascinating history behind this particular song. For example, it could be argued that it played a significant role in putting a man in the Louisiana governor's mansion (Jimmie Davis, the first artist to have a major hit with it and the person commonly given credit for it (as was the practice in those days, he bought the rights from the actual authors) turned a successful country music career into a stepping stone to the governorship, which is why You Are My Sunshine is one of Louisiana's official state songs..)

If you haven't suspected the song's dark side before, you need to listen to Ray Charles' killer version from 1962's Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Volume Two and stay for the moment when Margie Hendricks (sometimes Hendrix) of the Raelettes simply crushes things on the verse that goes
You told me once dear
that you really loved me
and no one else would ever come between.
But now you've left me
and you love another
and you have shattered all of my dreams.
She drops the bomb right after the word "shattered" and leaves behind a smoking crater.
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:57 PM on June 3 [15 favorites]


And I'm not kidding when I say full choirs (self-link) -- this is my previous choral work, it HAS to get finished and not sidetracked
posted by jake at 9:58 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Jimmy Davis singing his biggest hit on the Porter Wagoner TV show.

When Davis was the governor of Louisiana he lobbied the Feds to build an expensive bridge across the Mississippi River which was hardly used for ten years but now is an essential part of auto traffic in the greater New Orleans area (alternately called the sunshine bridge and the bridge to nowhere--"it goes from nowhere to nowhere.")

Google maps calls it the sunshine bridge @ (30.097762,-90.912566). I'm pretty sure that was not the original name when the funds were authorized and the first concrete was being poured.
posted by bukvich at 10:03 PM on June 3


I'm surprised nobody has brought up Neil Diamond's... ahem... classic version from The Jazz Singer.¦
posted by zooropa at 10:10 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


alternately called the sunshine bridge and the bridge to nowhere--"it goes from nowhere to nowhere."

Oh man I have such memories of driving over the Sunshine Bridge with my mom, with her singing "You Are My Sunshine". Which I had no idea was a stealth Louisiana History lesson.

That bridge is kind of in the middle of nowhere, but then Louisiana is full of middles of nowhere separated from important things via water. So, you know, bridges.
posted by Sara C. at 10:18 PM on June 3


Brian Wilson used a minor key version of You Are My Sunshine as part of SMiLE, both in the original and the remake versions.

It's an oddly powerful statement for such a simple execution.
posted by hippybear at 10:22 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter user Sreiny beat them to it seven years ago! And on MetaFilter's own Music section: You Are My Sunshine in E Minor.

Crazy story relating to the song linked above. I first heard it while living in New Hampshire in 2007. I loved it and downloaded it and it inspired me to do my own sad version, which I posted in May 2008 (self link). Less than two months later I was working at a remote mountain retreat center in Washington state (population of about 400), where I met my partner. One day I was in her room with her roommate, and they began singing with each other a very familiar, sad version of this song. This was back when I did feel a little like the internet was, as MetaFilter's profile prompt puts it, "a place for freaks", but the coincidence was too strange so I had to stop the singing and say "where did you hear that song??"

My girlfriend then said "oh, it's my ex-boyfriend's minor version of You Are My Sunshine." I said, "Um, no, I know that song, it's my favorite version, it's by Sreiny, i'm on this website metafilter etc etc etc". So I showed her the song and who posted it, and indeed, both our stories lined up. Fortunately, the happier parts of this song have won out so far over the (very pretty! And important!) sad parts.
posted by Corduroy at 10:25 PM on June 3 [11 favorites]


How have we gotten 20 comments in and no one's linked the Muppets' HUGGA WUGGA??
posted by JHarris at 10:39 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Whenever anyone turns 40, I sing Happy Birthday To You in C Minor.

Because, yeah, it's your birthday. But then again, you're that much closer to death.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:03 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Remember the episode of The Simpsons where Bart gets sent to military school and Lisa decides to go with him? There's a scene where Lisa, who is very lonely because she's the only girl, listens to a cassette of her mom singing You Are My Sunshine acapella.

It is honestly one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking moments I've ever seen on television.


Wow. I looked this up and you weren't kidding, were you...
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:23 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


The Brian Wilson version is the saddest one I know, especially as he changed the tense.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 12:30 AM on June 4 [3 favorites]


Bridges.
posted by mannequito at 1:30 AM on June 4


The Brian Wilson version

Is so effin avant garde it ain't even FUNNY! Whoa!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:33 AM on June 4 [2 favorites]


I have memories related to this song and a particular terrible coercive ex of mine so I found this version much more fitting than most
posted by NoraReed at 1:33 AM on June 4


Hmm, they didn't alter the melody to a minor key, they just sang the original melody with accompaniment in the relative minor. (Although the ends of some phrases are modified to dip down to the new root.) Not as transformative as the MeFi Music selection linked above, which does actually alter the melody.
posted by scrowdid at 1:34 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]


Officially over the ukulele, but that's ok because Ray Charles' version has always been the best - major, minor, augmented or diminished.
posted by isopraxis at 1:54 AM on June 4


Terrafolk's version at Youtube
posted by mikelynd at 3:12 AM on June 4


Blah blah blah. Minor mode? Do it in Hypomixolydian or go home.
posted by slkinsey at 5:06 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]


For me this post and responses reminds of the wonder and beauty that can be MeFi--instructive, humorous, touching, a bit controversial and a wonderful diversity of responses adding even more information. Thanks to All of You
posted by rmhsinc at 5:32 AM on June 4


"I don't even usually like ukelele things."

Perhaps I can change your mind. UOoGB is fucking awesome.

Theme from The Good The Bad and the Ugly.

A medley.

Smells Like Teen Spirit.

One you might recognize here.
posted by vapidave at 5:36 AM on June 4


Here's the Civil Wars version they were doing on tour a few years ago.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:43 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]


Corduroy, that story is amazing! So glad that I could be a part of it. Cheers.
posted by Sreiny at 5:45 AM on June 4 [3 favorites]


This is definitely cool, and by searching around I found their cover of "Country Roads", which I actually like even more than this. Around 1:29, especially, it's absolutely beautiful.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:48 AM on June 4 [2 favorites]


Oh man, that brief break for "held you in my arms" is perfect, so's the way the stretch out the rhythm on "Skys are grey." That arrangement is solid. There's a nice continuity to what they're doing, throughout, but enough variation to keep it interesting. The harmony comes in on different parts of the versus, and crosses the melody at one point in the third verse. There's a natural sense of direction. I'm really impressed.


Hmm, they didn't alter the melody to a minor key, they just sang the original melody with accompaniment in the relative minor.


I don't have a piano handy plink it out on, and my transcription chops are a little rusty, but it sounds like they're doing melodic minor, with most of the song sitting in the upper part of the scale, which means that a lot of the melody is going to sound major.
posted by Gygesringtone at 5:53 AM on June 4


I'm surely not the first one to do this, but it is also super fun to sing You Are My Sunshine to the tune of When The Saints Go Marching In. Requires only slight lyric changes for rhythm. Try it now!
posted by echo target at 6:42 AM on June 4


It's sort of so over-the-top sad that it comes back around to not-sad. Which is not a bad thing, and they sing it very prettily, but as someone else mentioned, it's the contrast between the happy and sad bits that makes the original for me.
posted by emjaybee at 6:46 AM on June 4


I'm surely not the first one to do this, but it is also super fun to sing You Are My Sunshine to the tune of When The Saints Go Marching In. Requires only slight lyric changes for rhythm. Try it now!

Sort of like how you can sing most Emily Dickinson poems to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas." I always hear "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" that way now.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:40 AM on June 4


We used to have a sandwich van come around work every day which played the tune to 'You are my sunshine' and drove us mad.

So I did a lyric change to past tense instead of present and made the song really depressing... which cheered me up.

"You were my sunshine, my only sunshine
You made me happy... when skies were grey
You never knew, dear, how much I loved you
Then you took my sunshine away"
posted by Wysawyg at 9:35 AM on June 4


ICYMI - Minor key versions of happy pop songs (including Happy) by the Gregory Brothers
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:39 AM on June 4


For months, this was the song I sang repetitively to my daughter to get her to sleep. I love that it has multiple meanings, inflections, stories among the words and melody.

I really like this clip -- I love the dorm-y nature of it and I'm so happy that this part of the internet exists.
posted by amanda at 8:55 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


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