Sunday, September 16, 2012

Maim That Tune

It started three days ago.

I got a song stuck in my head—and I mean stuck—and for a while there it looked like nothing short of a lobotomy was going to get it out.

The song was “Welcome Me Love,” by The Brooklyn Bridge, which was released in 1969. This was the same year that the Beatles released "Yellow Submarine" in the UK and Led Zeppelin released its debut album in the US. But I didn’t get any of their songs stuck in my head.

This was also the same year Tommy James and the Shondells (what is a Shondell, anyway?) released “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” which popped up in a recent episode of “Breaking Bad,” one of my favorite TV shows. But again, that song didn’t loiter in my mind.

No offense to Brooklyn Bridge fans out there, but I really dislike this song. But even it were my favorite song of all time, I still wouldn’t want it bouncing relentlessly around my skull.

Why did this particular tune get stuck in my head? I wish to hell I knew. The thing just invaded my brain one morning and refused to leave. This was Occupy Memory Lane.

I’ve had songs trapped in my head before, but it was usually sparked by something that revved up my mental juke box. I heard the song on the radio, or someone near me was singing it, or I read some news item about the band.

But not this time. I haven’t heard “Welcome Me Love” since Richard Nixon was president and no one even so much as whistled a few bars of the song anywhere in my zip code. Yet the thing came crashing into my mind like John Dillinger taking down the First National Bank.

It was so bizarre. I felt like I was the target of a CIA mind control experiment.

You're Not Welcome!

I once had a boss who used to walk around the office and belt out a line from another Brooklyn Bridge song, “The Worst That Could Happen,” without warning, logic or mercy. He’d warble “It’s the worst that could hap-pen!”—and then fall silent.

I don’t why he was so fond of that tune, but no matter how many times he squealed out that lyric, “The Worst That Could Happen” never got stuck in my mind. Maybe the song was stuck in his head.

When “Welcome Me Love” first showed up, I thought, hmm, isn’t that interesting? A 40-year-old song just popped up out of nowhere. The human mind is such an amazing engine.

But then it wouldn’t leave. The song kept playing and playing, round and round. Ben Franklin once said guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days and this tune was starting to stink up the joint like a 30-pound mackerel.

I thought the song would just go away, but it flat out refused. It went from being a squatter to being an invader. This was turning into a hostage crisis only I didn’t have any mental SWAT team to rescue me.

Relief finally came at the end of the week.

I went for a walk at lunchtime on Friday and I happened to enter a Rite Aid on Broadway near City Hall. I forget why I went in there, but as I walked around I heard Billy Joel singing “Leave A Tender Moment Alone.”

All right! I like that song and I loved album--An Innocent Man –from whence it came. And now I have another reason to love the Eighties, besides the clothes, the songs, and the fact that I was much younger.

So I finally broke the spell of “Welcome Me Love” and my brain feels 10 pounds lighter.

But I shouldn’t complain. Among the other songs that came out in 1969 was “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies, an acoustic atrocity I loathe beyond description. It would be an absolute nightmare if that awful thing ever got stuck in my head.

Oh, no…


Ron said...

Okay, Rob, before I left this comment I went over to You Tube and searched for this song because I didn't remember it, but as soon as I heard it...I DID! However, I do remember, "The Worst That Could Happen." In fact, I think I had that on a 45 when I was a kid!

Isn't it funny how a song with get stuck in our head and won't leave? Last week, I had the song "We Found Love" by Rihanna running through my head and I don't even LIKE Rihanna. But I must have heard it somewhere and it got stuck!

And speaking of Billy Joel, I love him! My favorite song of his is, "Just The Way You Are." It immediately transports me back to the years I live in NYC and worked at Steak And Brew on Broadway, and would play that song over and over again on the jukebox in the restaurant. His "Stranger" album is my all-time favorite!

I just want you to know that now I'm going to be hearing "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies ALL week!


Have a great week, buddy!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron, you worked at Steak & Brew? I remember that chain. And I'm glad you're a Billy Joel fan! Sorry about the Archies, buddy, but you know misery loves company. Have a great week!