|Tom Kennedy hosted the 1970s version of Name That Tune.|
One of the stated goals of this blog has been to give its readers exactly what they want, and I've noticed that among the most consistently popular articles in the blog's history is this piece about tough-to-identify songs. It seems to generate traffic every month, and since this happens to be a particular interest of mine, I am more than happy to bring you a sequel. I once thought about devoting this entire blog to the issue of "song identification," but instead I decided to limit it to these occasional updates. Hopefully, you'll find this one interesting and informative.
"But hey," as Marty DiBergi (aka Rob Reiner) once memorably declared, "enough of my yakkin'! Whaddaya say? Let's boogie!"
1. "Hearts and Flowers"
|Bugs Bunny feigns death.|
2. "Hernando's Hideaway"
|Billy Crystal as "Fernando."|
The version I like best is by a 1960s guitar-rock outfit called The Ventures, the group behind "Walk Don't Run" and other hits. And, yes, this song did provide the inspiration for "Fernando's Hideaway," a popular recurring skit on Saturday Night Live in the mid-1980s, featuring Billy Crystal as a silver-haired Latin talk show host modeled after Fernando Lamas. This sketch, which used "Hernando's Hideaway" as its theme, introduced Crystal's famous catchphrase, "You look marvelous!"
3. Minuet from String Quartet in E Major, Op. 11 No. 5
|Krusty with typical snob.|
In movies, you'll hear it at fancy restaurants, exclusive country clubs, and refined cocktail parties. It doesn't represent sophistication so much as it represents a silly parody of sophistication. Very often when you hear this tune, an uncouth buffoon is about to show up and spoil the rich folks' tranquility with his crude language and gross behavior, causing a gray-haired matron to put her hand to her chest and declare, "Well, I never!"
Because of this music's sissified nature, furthermore, it is often used by comedians in a sarcastic or ironic way, i.e. the coda to "Heavy Duty" by Spinal Tap. Elsewhere, this music turns up in Family Guy, Date Movie, Animaniacs, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Witless Protection with Larry the Cable Guy, always used in pretty much the same way. Sorry, Luigi.
4. "Chicken Reel"
|The sheet music.|
This particular reel, as you might guess from the title, was meant to imitate the sound of chickens clucking in a barnyard. It was given lyrics by Joseph Mittenthal in 1911 and has been covered and rearranged many times over the last century, including versions by Leroy Anderson and Les Paul. Its real legacy, though, lies in innumerable cartoons, movies, and commercials where its presence instantly suggests we are "down on the farm." You'll hear it in A Christmas Story in scenes involving the hound dogs owned by the Parkers' "hillbilly neighbors," the Bumpasses.
5. "Sleep Walk"
|Santo and Johnny.|
Santo, the innovator of the family, played the melodic line on the steel guitar, while brother Johnny accompanied him on a standard electric guitar. They made the Top 40 just once more with a similar-sounding follow-up called "Teardrop." Santo's retired now, but Johnny still tours with a new band. "Sleep Walk," meanwhile, has been covered by axemen ranging from Brian Setzer to Carlos Santana.
6. "Dance of the Knights" (or "Montagues and Capulets")
|A smelly ad.|
So there you have it! Six more musical mysteries solved. If you'd like to see more articles of this type, please let me know in the comments section below. Believe me, I have a bunch of 'em! And I'm open to requests, too. Don't be shy! Speak right up!