Sunday, August 14, 2011

Name That Tune: 12 songs you didn't know you knew

Logo of the famous CBS game show Name That Tune.

If you've ever had the frustrating experience of trying to identify a song to which you don't know the lyrics -- or which may not even have lyrics -- here is the article for you. This is a collection of very familiar melodies with obscure or little-known titles, many or most of which I learned from old cartoons.

By the way, if you enjoy this article, THERE'S A SEQUEL RIGHT HERE.

1. "La Cumparsita"



The one piece of tango music you definitely know, "La Cumparsita" ("The Little Parade") has its origins in a melody composed in 1916 by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez as an Uruguayan carnival march. Argentinian bandleader Roberto Firpo was the one who turned it into a tango. Apparently, both Argentina and Uruguay have tried to claim the song, but in truth it belongs to the world.

2. "The Streets of Cairo" (a.k.a. "The Snake Charmer" or "The Poor Little Country Maid")



Ripped off by everyone from Steve Martin to Ke$ha.

3. "The Year of Jubilo" (a.k.a. "Kingdom Coming")



That one Civil War song that kinda sounds like "Dixie" but isn't "Dixie."

4. "The Arkansas Traveler"



Bet you thought this one was called "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee."

5. "Moonlight Serenade"



Marge Simpson's mom's favorite song.

6. "The Sailor's Hornpipe"



No, it didn't start life as Popeye's theme song.

7. "Sing, Sing, Sing"



Funny title for an instrumental, but I'll allow it.

8. "Pick Up the Pieces"



Want to instantly establish that your movie or TV show takes place in the 1970s? Play this song.

9. "Entry of the Gladiators"



Gladiators, clowns. Same difference.

10. "The Irish Washerwoman"



I used this once on Mail Order Zombie. If you can find that bit, it's probably my favorite thing I've ever done for the show.

11. "Soulful Strut"


A whole generation will know this as "That was a moment! That was a spring break moment! That's all there is!"

12. "Night Train"



Yup, it's the song playing in the background at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance in Back to the Future. Kinda raunchy for that environment.

Don't forget to check out the sequel to this article for more mystery songs!

2 comments:

  1. You are correct that the band is playing "Night Train" in "Back to the Future, however, that song is derived from "Happy-Go-Lucky Local", which Ellington recorded back in 1946 on Musicraft. There may be earlier versions, but it is a Duke Ellington song originally. You can hear a later version of it here

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owOs8ewKw2k

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  2. Thanks for the info, Brian! I didn't mean to imply that "Night Train" originated in BTTF, but that's where many people might have heard it.

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