Literary elites love to rep Shakespeare’s vocabulary: across his entire corpus, he uses 28,829 words, suggesting he knew over 100,000 words and arguably had the largest vocabulary, ever (average people have a vocab of 5,000 words). I decided to compare this data point against the most famous artists in hip hop. I used each artist’s first 35,000 lyrics. That way, prolific artists, such as Jay-Z, could be compared to newer artists, such as Drake.
posted by cthuljew
on May 3, 2014 -
Ever been to Johnsburg, Illinois? Have you received a Christmas card from a hooker in Minneapolis? Maybe you left Waukegan at the slamming of the door? Or perhaps you were simply full of wonder when you left Murfreesboro. If so, the Tom Waits map
is for you.
posted by scody
on Jan 17, 2014 -
You Can't Catch Me
, Music and Lyrics by Chuck Berry. The Stones covered it.
John Lennon was sued (twice!)
for covering it
and appropriating the lyrics
. If Iggy Pop and the Stooges were never sued for doing the same thing as "Come Together" in 1970
, perhaps it's because nobody could understand what exactly he was saying, not even the bands that took their names from the adapted lyrics
. Perhaps JJ Cale was thinking of the chorus when he wrote Call Me The Breeze
in 1971. Finally, though Jonothan Richman's "Roadrunner" clearly took inspiration from the Velvet Underground's Sister Ray
and Bo Diddley's "Road Runner
"(among other things
), but, as a Berry fan
, you can hear Richman echoing the lyrics in the Spirit of 1956 going Faster Miles an Hour, with the radio on, tuned to Rock And Roll. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue
on Jun 19, 2010 -
Have you ever wondered what the national anthem of Bolivia, Nepal or The Republic of Seychelles sounded like? Well wonder no more because NationalAnthems.info
has got you covered! It claims to have the national anthem for every country in the world in MIDI format, along with downloadable lyrics and sheet music so you can sing and play along. But if the MIDI format isn't doing it for you, there's also other sites that you can visit that have downloadable MP3s of pretty much every national anthem this planet and its inhabitants have to offer, such as this one
or this one
, which is notable in that the anthems featured there were performed by the US Navy Band. And finally, for your further reading and listening pleasure, check out this forum
which contains background information on and even more links to downloadable national anthems.
posted by Effigy2000
on Sep 22, 2008 -
When I was a kid, my dad, who grew up in London, during the Blitz, used to play this old record: a song called "The Laughing Policeman."
It always put a smile on my face. According to Wikipedia
, it was written in 1922 by Charles Jolly, who wrote "numerous other laughing songs (The Laughing Major, Curate, Steeplechaser, Typist, Lover, etc)." If you want to hear the happiest policeman ever, here's the mp3
. The song has inspired cartoonists
, mystery novelists
(great series, by the way!), filmmakers
, a more-recent recording
), and, inevitably, some scary people on youtube
. Speaking of youtube, this
is how I remember the song.
posted by grumblebee
on Feb 11, 2007 -
Made most popular to many Americans as the closing song for the Grand Ole Opry programs, Will The Circle Be Unbroken was written in 1907 by Ada Habershon, an intensely religious young woman and acquaintance of Dwight Moody
and Ira David Sankey
. The music was "composed" by Charles Gabriel
, a popular songwriter and composer of the era who is often solely credited with the song, but while he may have put the notes down on paper, the tune itself already existed as the African-American spiritual Glory Glory / Since I Laid My Burden Down. [lots more inside]
posted by luriete
on May 26, 2006 -
The Streets of Laredo: The Cowboy's Lament
was originally written as the Irish drover balled Bard of Armaugh
), which later mutated into A Handful of Laurel
, about a young man dying of syphilis in a London hospital, musing back on his days in the alehouses and whorehouses. Immigrants settling in the Appalachians brought their own version, The Unfortunate Rake
, sung as early as 1790, about a young soldier dying of mercury poisoning, a result of treatment for venereal disease, who requests a military funeral - a slight but important evolution from the previous version. The current lyrics are most popularly attributed to cowboy Frances Henry "Frank" Maynard
, who copyrighted them in 1879. While various versions
of the song were popular in the US before Maynard took pen to paper and needle to wax cylinder (under such titles as Locke Hospital
, St. James Infirmary Blues
, Tom Sherman's Bar
and Way Down in Lodorra
), his version is the one with which we are most familiar today.
beat the drum slowly, play the fife lowly / sound the death march as you carry me along / cover my body in sweet-smelling posies / for I'm the young
(rake, soldier, man, girl, lass, etc) cut down in
(or and I know I've done wrong
The song has been recorded by pretty much every country, western and folk-identified musical artist since recording music became practical, although the most popular versions must be those by Arlo Guthrie
(who once said it was "the saddest song I know," and who sings it on his album Son of the Wind
) and Johnny Cash
(who added a few verses
to his 1965 version, improving the song a bit and making it more emotionally complex). Roger McGuinn's
creative commons-licensed version is one of my personal favorites, as is Bobby Sutliff's version
posted by luriete
on Aug 3, 2005 -
Deep inside the poetic stylings of John Bon Jovi. To begin, I'd like to look at the opening verses of "Bed of Roses". You may think you understand the meaning behind this poem - that John Bon Jovi likes a lady, and is upset about it. This is just a sign of the brilliant, interweaving complexity of Bon Jovi. You can love the poem at that level, and many have, but let's go... inside.
- In case the other doesn't work]
posted by KevinSkomsvold
on Feb 23, 2005 -
is a site where you can read the lyrics to a song and then post your thoughts on what the song means.
posted by bargle
on Nov 18, 2004 -
Ceci Nes't Pas Une Satanic Message
• "Years ago someone told me that if you played Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven song backwards that you could make out 'satanic messages'. It is not my opinion that Led Zeppelin and the other artists here were given some kind of evil power to make these backwards sounds have a satanic message. And, no, I did not create this to show the evils of Rock and Roll. Instead I made this flash piece for two reasons: 1. I was new to Flash and wanted to be better at it and 2. The reverse files sound cool. "
posted by dhoyt
on Oct 8, 2004 -
The Song Is You:
there was a perfect singer
- and I do mean perfect
- it was Ella Fitzgerald
. Her Songbooks
(please scroll down for the listings and samples
) are still - and will always
be - the best collection there is of the great American standards. That is, if you don't mind crying and having the little hairs on the nape of your neck stand up and revolt. And swing
. They'd be the last
objects I'd be willing to part with: they're the mother's milk of
Western popular culture. So imagine my surprise when I found their perfect counterpart on the Web: the best-ever collection of lyrics to the songs of the greatest American composers: Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Richard Rodgers. Admirably, the compiler has gone way beyond his duty and included wonderful standards (quite a few unknown to me) that even Ella never got around to singing. Thank you, Todd
. And God bless you, Sir!
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Sep 22, 2003 -
Hey Jude, what does that song mean?
The Beatles Discography lets you look up almost any Beatles song
, and find out about its history and meaning. According to this, one of my favorite Beatles songs, "Paperback Writer,"
was written after Paul's aunt challenged him to write a song that wasn't about love. And "She's Leaving Home,"
another favorite, was based on a newspaper article about a runaway 17-year-old girl. and supposedly was attacked in the U.S. as being somehow pro-abortion. I always wondered if there was a real "Polyethene Pam," but I had no idea her name was really Pat,
and that she ate plastic. Fascinating stuff.
posted by GaelFC
on Mar 30, 2003 -
Mars Austrailia creates fake band and single to advertise Starbursts.
It is the latest marketing idea: create a fictitious group named after your brand and release a cheesy song that gets radio airplay and is sold as a music single to teenagers. The song is Get Your Juices Going
, by fictional pop group Starburst. It has secured high-rotation airplay on radio station Nova 96.9 and has had its promotional video featured on Video Hits. The song's lyrics were written by copywriters and the video, in which the group's identity is hidden, was created by television commercial producers. Not once, however, is the pop group linked to Mars.
posted by ncurley
on Sep 17, 2002 -