Thursday, June 21, 2007

Great Music Lyrics, Part I

Today, we're featuring the lyrics of "Elenore" by The Turtles. A few Turtles songs are on my iPod in the Bubblegum 60s playlist, so I have a soft spot for them in my brain. I think it's the tambourine. When I listen to any of The Turtles' songs, the tambourine blend is striking. I've seen only one tambourine player who's meant as much to his band. BYT (Before YouTube), when I heard a great song like "Elenore" or "Happy Together," I had to use my imagination to picture the lead singer and the tambourine player fronting the band, with everyone else in the background where they belong. Now, it's just as I imagined, only a little more so.

Anyway, that's not why I'm writing this entry. I'm writing this entry because I wanted to address the beauty of The Turtles' lyrics, especially in the song "Elenore." I thought about comparing the lyrics of "Elenore" and "Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles, but that's a little too gimicky. Plus we'd be getting dangerously close to one of those moot Pacino vs. DeNiro debates. No, I just want to focus on the lyrics of "Elenore." Here, listen. And don't get distracted by the battle of the front men. Just pay attention to the words. Close your eyes if you have to.

See what I mean? I sometimes wish my wife had three syllables in her name, so that when I was feeling romantic, I could proclaim, "Wendola, I really think you're groovy / Let's go out to a movie." Or, when this tri-syllabic soul mate of mine is cooking dinner, I could nuzzle up behind her and whisper, "Wendola, gee I think you're swell / And you really do me well / You're my pride and joy et cetera." It's the et cetera part that opens up the canvas. Latin, after all, is the source of all romance languages, and the female mind whirrs when told that in addition to being a pride and joy, she is many other things. Very many other things. I shall now ruminate.


  1. AnonymousJune 21, 2007

    I feel bad disrupting your reverie, Bob, but I did want to thank you for sharing this with us. It's great when someone such as yourself who is so accomplished with words and interpretations can point out subtleties to appreciate. You made me realize what a stroke of luck, or maybe genius, it was to have groovy available to pair with movie. It got me thinking about how hard pre-60's lyricists would have had it trying to match words like "peachy" or "nifty" with anything meaningful. Probably the best they could have hope for would be one of these clearly inferior choices:

    I think you're super-duper
    C'mon don't be a party pooper


    I really think that you're keen
    But risky since you're only 16


    I really think you're spiffy
    Let's kiss et cetera in a jiffy

    You couldn't use et cetera twice, though, could you. Too bad -- I actually kind of liked it there.

  2. AnonymousJune 21, 2007

    Just what I needed. Thanks for the laugh. But I'm still waiting for that crooning. (For those of you who don't know, Bob is somewhat challenged in the tune-carrying department, so a croon from Bob has a beautifully unique character.)

  3. AnonymousJune 22, 2007

    I'm having visions of Will Ferrell cowbell madness about now. Also, I couldn't help but notice the perpetual drumstick spinning done by drum player in the background.

    What is it with these bands from the '60s and ruffled shirt as worn by the front man? Fascinating stuff.

    Now I will just listen to the lyrics as I was asked to do in the first place...