Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Have a Song Stuck in My Head

People enjoy discussing the merits of cowbell in music, and I do agree that it adds a certain dignity to a song (Loverboy’s “Workin’ for the Weekend” springs to mind), but I must put forth another, even less traditional instrument in the competition for Most Rockinest Weird Sound That, Once Added, Becomes an Integral Part of the Rockinest Rock Song. I will always have a special place in my heart for Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” (hello, manic depressive teenager singing while staring into a candle, can you say amen?), but I must say the Strong Feelings shall never subside when I hear the lusty roar of motorcycle engines in “Lady” by Styx, arguably the best band in the Holy Trinity of Rock.

Rum! Rumrumrum! You know that you are hearing it right now…

Lady, when you're with me I'm smiling
Give me all your love
Your hands build me up when I'm sinking
Touch me and my troubles all fade
Lady, from the moment I saw you
Standing all alone
You gave all the love that I needed
So shy, like a child who has grown

‘Cause you're my lady of the morning
Love shines in your eyes
Sparkling, clear, and lovely
You're my lady…

It goes on with further awesomeness, resplendent with lots of rumrumrums to really supercharge it with masculine muscleyness. If you tried to imagine the song without the rumrums, you’d find it decidedly it is on the super-jip of a “Best of” album. Denis DeYoung does a softer, gentler version that sounds suspiciously like Air Supply. But we all know that the rest of the band is the only thing that kept Denis DeYoung from being the next Leo Sayer. You know it, and I know it.

You can also hear motorcycle rums on other tracks, such as the delicate rhythms of “Girls, Girls, Girls” by the Crue. The non-traditional instrument should not be abused (I’m talking to you, Jethro Tull), but it is fun to realize that some songs would be near-total crap without it.


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