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What's the name of that song?

OK, for the last day of April, since I haven’t any ideas, let’s go back to an old standard, the lyrics game. I print the opening lyric to twenty songs randomly selected from the top of my shuffle, and Gentle Readers tell me that they recognize the song. This really was the first twenty tracks, too; I didn’t have to toss out any foreign-language, and since there was just one instrumental, I left it in. Just for kicks, try to guess the lead singer or the band, on all the others. No Googling, now, we’re maximizing fun.

  1. The sergeant-major said to me/this is a true story/It happened once upon a time
  2. [title]/falling on my head like a memory/falling on my head like a new emotion
  3. Come in, sister/Papa’s in the swing/ain’t too hip/’bout that breed, babe
  4. [indistinct shouting]... let me see that permit! You ain’t got no permit!/You know this isn’t even funny, you guys are testing my patience like crazy/First of all, you have to have a permit for all six of youse! [note: all spoken]
  5. Toe to toe/Dancing very slow/Barely breathing/Almost comatose
  6. Oh baby, look how you got me [title]/Oh baby, look how you got me [title]/Lord I love you little girl, you're always resting on my mind
  7. In the evening, when the kettle’s on for tea/an old familiar feeling settles over me/and it’s your face I see/and I believe that [title]
  8. Macneal, Macneal, don’t steal my automobile/I’ll take you to a café and buy you a real fine meal/Jack I got to do some ridin’/Soon we got to come to a dividin’/I don’t want to continue ’cos the sign says [title]
  9. Hot ginger bread and dynamite/There's nothing, folks, but that at night/Back in [title]/Where the fellers chew tobaccy/And the women wicky-wacky/Woo
  10. The advantage of being in [title]/Is that you never have to look up
  11. It was Christmas Eve babe/In the drunk tank
  12. She got to take sick and die one of these days/She got to take sick and die one of these days/All the medicine I can buy, and all the doctors she can hire/She got to take sick and die one of these days
  13. No cares for me/I'm happy as I can be/I learn to love and to live/[title]
  14. Well, now, it takes more than a robin to make the winter go/And it takes two lips of fire to melt away the snow
  15. I'm gonna be a [title]/I got an awful lot to learn/But if you tell me that my heart's on fire/I'm gonna let it burn
  16. [instrumental] [go ahead and guess, though] [all right, it’s a dance medley] [I mean, it’s called Dance Medley] [so I’ll give full credit for anybody that guesses the performing group]
  17. While in these days of quiet desperation/As I wander through the world in which I live/I search everywhere for some new inspiration/But it's more than cold reality can give
  18. She throws back her hands and she shows you her mouth/The breath that I waste trying to ruin your life/Beauty's on a budget but you take it on the chin/'Cause you have to do your duty taking orders from the kingpin
  19. Hey, there was something wild about that girl/You know I felt it when we touched/We didn't say a word/I didn't know her name/But still it meant so much
  20. The leaves of brown came falling through the view/In [title], I first met you/I staggered through your chilly dining room/In [title], I first met you
There are quite a few easy ones in there (I think), and at least two that I would be surprised if anybody got at all.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


I think I'm going to get one of the easy ones:

2. Here comes the rain again. The Eurythmics. Annie Lenox.

...And now those three lines are going to be stuck in my head all night. Thanks.

The only one I recognize besides the one Nao already got is #11, which is possibly my favorite opening line to a song, and almost certainly my favorite Pogues song, "Fairytale of New York," featuring (iIrc) Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl on vocals.

#7 looks vaguely familiar, but on Googling, I see that I had no idea.

#9: I know I've heard this. I'm thinking "Hackensacky." Or maybe "Old Iraq-y." :) I had a vague idea it might be "Nagasaki," but then I thought the "dynamite" bit would be a little tasteless, but then I Googled it and it's true; just significantly pre-WWII. But of course I have no idea which recording this was. So I'd give myself maybe 1/4 credit or so.

#17 I'd have guessed was the intro (to a different tune) to something by Cole Porter or one of that crowd--you know the way a bunch of those big band songs have a couple lines of intro before launching into the famous melody and chorus?--but I'd have been wrong wrong wrong.

So basically I'm not very good at this game.

Not only that, but if someone were to generate such a list from my own music, I would fail miserably. I just gave it a quick try, and over half of the first 20 songs (not counting Rise Up Singing snippets) were songs I've barely ever heard and certainly wouldn't be able to name the titles of from first lines. Maybe I should spend more time listening to the music I've already got and less buying new music....

To be fair, most of them were songs I thought were okay from albums containing other songs that I liked a lot. So it's not that I know nothing about my own music.

2 eurythmics, 9 anybody covering nagasaki, 10 los lobos, 14 dinah washington, 16 klezmatics (hee), 18 elvis

for song titles, put 35 cents in a broken pay phone and look under the receiver

in own defense, i bet i could name any of these tunes in 3 notes.

can i take back the "in defense" part? i want that back. it was more fun than that

Nao got #2 (first), Jed got # 11 (first) and # 9 (partial). hibiscus got 9, 10, 14 and 18 (without the names of the songs), although technically it is Brook Benton singing those opening lines. And 16 was close, but not correct.

I had to look up lyrics to some of these, particularly Nagasaki, and some of them I had to listen to several times to make sure I had the lyrics right. I don't know that I'd get more than ten of them, myself, if I hadn't done that.


Wow. I was all over number 2, but I don't know any of your music :)

I would have guessed the Klezmatics for #16, too, but only because I know they're Generally Danceable. Could easily be, oh, any other band that plays dance music. How 'bout the Black Eyed Peas? Is it the Black Eyed Peas? (No, Matt, it's not the Black Eyed Peas.) Awwww...

Oh, yeah. And I guessed #11, too, but then I decided I was wrong. Only to find out I was right. Do I get partial credit?


A variant.


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