An examination of my iTunes library reveals that most songs with titles that refer to famous people fall into a few common categories. Today, Types 4-6:
(Categories 1-3 can be found here.)
Type 4: Please Open Your Books and Turn to Page 413 (references to historical figures):
- “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” Mason Jennings. A cover version of the Bob Dylan original that pretty much lays out the story in the first few lines: “William Zantzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll with a cane … at a Baltimore hotel society gath’rin’.” Zantzinger (who died this year) was released during sentencing to harvest his tobacco crop, was levied a $625 fine and served only six months for manslaughter … which, as can be imagined, did not go over well with the civil rights movement at the time — or Dylan, who included this song on his 1964 album “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” If you haven’t heard it before, now you’ll know where “now ain’t the time for your tears” came from.
- “Black Superman (Muhammed Ali),” Johnny Wakelin
- “Il pleure (At the Turn of the Century),” Art of Noise. An honorable mention, since the title doesn’t reference anyone but pretty much all the lyrics do, as John Hurt narrates: “When [composer Claude] Debussy died on March the 25th, 1918, in Paris, it was being bombarded by the Germans — and it was raining.” (That would be the “il pleure” of the title.) About 8 minutes later Hurt concludes: “[Debussy] is considered not only the greatest French composer who ever lived, he is considered the revolutionary who set 20th-century music on its way.”
Type 5: Stalkerazzi (references to hot women):
- “Cindy C.,” Prince. “This song’s about a high-class model over in Paris, France,” he starts, but he really doesn’t care about how high-class she is: He’s soon announcing that “your furry melting thing awaits me.” One of the few times Prince was behind the times — this song came out years after even I had a Cindy Crawford calendar on my wall as a college freshman. (I was strangely drawn to this picture.)
- “Do It With Madonna,” The Androids
- “I Seen Beyoncé,” Cazwell
Type 6: WTF? (References that have little to no discernible relation to song):
- “Cologne Cerrone Houdini,” Goldfrapp. I’m used to a lot of “WTF?” when it comes to Goldfrapp — sometimes it’s awesome, like the leaf monsters in the video for “A&E,” and sometimes it’s creepy, like the dog heads in the videos for “Number 1” or “Strict Machine” … but it’s always interesting. (Also interesting: Allison Goldfrapp has taken up with a woman.)
- “Leif Erikson,” Interpol
- “Lenin,” The Arcade Fire
|WHAT SAM WORE: 12-31-09|
|The sweater: Cotton cashmere V-neck on sale at Banana Republic.
It was the last medium in the store, so I made them strip the mannequin.
|The shirt: Long-sleeved spread-collar shirt from Banana Republic.
(Ah, memories: I wore this my first day of work at McMurry!)
|The pants: Boot-cut trousers from Banana Republic.
(Funny Michael recommended I buy
this shirt/pants combo, for which I am thankful.)
|The shoes: Brown loafers by Rush Gordon Rush, from Last Chance.|