One day, not long ago, I woke up with the Pips, you know, of Gladys Knight and the…fame. I wasn’t aware of them while I slept, nor had I retired with Bubba, Edward and William, yet first thing upon my wakening I heard, “Leaving on a midnight train, woo-woo.” Gladys joined in eventually and by breakfast I was adding choreography. By afternoon, I had moved gratefully on, much like the fellow in Midnight Train to Georgia.
To some the idea of waking up with Pips might be disconcerting, but to those of us with a running soundtrack in our heads, it’s more of the same. Although the artist with whom you awaken isn’t controllable, (and if it were, plans would need to be made, immediately and forthwith) the phenomenon of music playing in our heads is not only tolerable, but, usually, enjoyable.
There are those rogue songs which should not be named, because just a few notes or lyrics can march into the cranial community and quickly squash all dissenting music. These songs are Fascists and must be avoided at all cost. At the risk of the rest of my day’s sanity, I’ll name one or two. Feel free to scan over them.
It’s a Small World After All.
This is the Song That Never Ends
All right, it’s safe to come out. That’s not an insidious song, it’s just a heads up.
As a rule, I am almost always familiar with the lyrics on my inner playlists as a song’s words are of supreme importance to me. Try making close guesses on lyrics and singing aloud with me in the car if you want to know how seriously I take them. However there are two that get stuck in my brain by happenstance, neither of which have I ever taken the time to learn. So, consider this my shame-faced confession, these are the songs which I know little to none of the lyrics but choose to sing anyway.
“Hail to the Chief”
A-hem. Hail to the Chief,
He’s the Chief and He Needs Hailing.
Hail to the Chief, let’s all give the Chief some hail.”
The rest of the song consists of matching each note with the world hail.
The other song is the Canadian National Anthem, which goes a little something like this…
You live on top of us.
And when we want to see you we can take a bus.
Actually, aside from the first two words, it goes nothing like that and I apologize to the people of Canada, although they are most likely not angry as they are…well, Canadians.
Other than those two examples, and why those two is a subject best left to my counselor and I, I can sing along with most any melody which pops into my mind, which is quite a challenge, as the songs can change quickly and without notice, like when my husband’s in charge of the preset buttons on the radio on a car trip.
If the world could tune into All Jamie All the Time earplugs would become a hot commodity; Broadway can roll into Nirvana, which can slide into Stand By Your Man, all within the time it takes to say Bob’s your uncle! (Reference my Idiom column.)
All of this might lead me to harbor concerns for my sanity (again and/or still) if I didn’t feel confident that, for the most part, and to varying degrees, inner music dialogues are universal. Although I can offer no solid proof on the subject, (which has never stopped me before,) beyond my lengthy, but still not prehistoric time line, it is my belief that stuck songs are an age-old occurrence.
I picture Ancient Jerusalem and one Rabbi saying to another, “I don’t know about you, Moses, but I can’t get that ram’s horn solo out of my brain.”
And in Ancient Rome: “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears. For I could not hear one more stanza of Romans Just Want to Have Fun. Indeed, here lies the body of Caesar, who whistled a stanza of the tune of which I had finally rid myself after 2 weeks of tortuous repetition. Then, on the Ides of March I did stab him upwards of 100 times to put an end to the tyranny of the malicious song, but I think we can all relate. Can I get a thumbs up?”
And Medieval England: Prithee, Mercutio, I do beseech thee, cease thy tortuous humming of A Maiden With Which I Once Communed. By the stars above and all their handmaidens, I vow, if thou doth continue, I shall draw my sword against thee, separating that which sings from that which delivereth thy life-giving blood. Doth thou knowest Freebird?
My greatest fear, at this moment in time, is not imminent death or plague. I fear, from this moment on through next Monday, I will hear “If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?” lyric, which in my case, might be the point of no return, sanity-wise .
Quick, someone sing Oh Canada!