Sunday, October 3, 2010

Technology has Changed the Song Lyric

I was thinking recently (a scarey thought in and of itself) about how technology has changed music over the years. Remember that scene in Back to the Future when Marty McFly plays a cover version of Johnny B. Goode and Marvin Berry calls his cousin Chuck on the phone and tells him he has found that "new sound?" Yep. The electric guitar (and some kewl licks) changed music forever.

Or how about the 70s groups of Boston or Abba? They used Phil Specter's wall of sound to perfection and changed the way we hear music.

But there are other technology changes that are not related to the sound but to the very nature of the song itself.

When the telephone become common, letter writing took a hit --- naturally. It is easier to call someone than to write a letter, mail it and then wait for a response. Still, the idea of the love letter or the phone call from that special someone was the lyricists best friend.

Until the cell phone, email and, of course, texting

Though the use of texting seems so cold when talking to a lover, wish-to-be-lover or a former lover, I can see where texting could solve problems for many couples-on-the-rocks. After all, how many high school sweethearts have been terrified to call that Hunka-Hunka Burning Love for fear the person that answers the phone would be the foreboding parent? Now, with a cell phone, a quick text that says, "Hi, I'm sorry" can save that passionate relationship for another, oh, two weeks.

So all that got me to thinking about songs that relate, somehow, to the idea of the phone call or the forgotten skill of handwritten letters. Here's a quick list I came up with in a few hours. Please feel free to add your's via comments.

Sylvia's Mother, by Dr. Hook.
Memphis, Tennessee, by Chuck Berry.
Please, Mr. Postman, by The Marvelettes and again by The Carpenters'.
Telephone Line, by Electric Light Orchestra.
Return to Sender,  by Elvis Presley.
Callin' Baton Rouge, made most famous by Garth Brooks.
867-5309,  by Tommy Tutone.
Rikki Don't Lose That Number, by Steely Dan.
Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels), by the amazing Jim Croce.
By the Time I Get to Phoenix, made popular by Glen Campbell.
Walking on Sunshine, by Katrina and the Waves.
Call Me, by Blondie.

Feel free to add some more via comments.

1 comment:

foxofbama said...

Proud of your comment this morning at
See my follow up as youexcuse the typos. The screen was jumping on me this morning.
Here is what Me and you can do.
This deserves higher paygrade than our friend Bruce Gourley.
Headlong let's pursue bringing Randall Balmer and possibly the Producer of the Film to Berry to discuss the final episode of GIA, on Caesar.
Have Lecture by Balmer, break and then panel of Berry Alum John Pierce, Berry Trustee and Chic Fil A CEO, Dan Cathy with Balmer and you can moderate or Mercer President Underwood.
Let's Do it.
Stephen Fox

Richard Kremer is nearby Berry now at Garden Lakes BC. He is the son in law of former South Carolina SBC state convention attorney Preston Callison. He may help us Birth this baby.
I don't speak for him, but this UGA Rhodes Scholar candidate may take to the idea.