Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Songs #315 & 316 - It's TWOsday!

Song #315 of 9999                        Song #316 of 9999

Title: Rammstein                           Title: Bo Diddley
Artist: Rammstein                          Artist: Bo Diddley
Year: 1995                                    Year: 1955
Album: Herzelied                           Album: Bo Diddley

Here are two song you don't see side by side every day! Tonight's theme is songs that have the same name as the artists who performed them. There are perhaps more of these than you think: Bad Company, Belle and Sebastian, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Icehouse, Motorhead, Body Count, Tin Machine, They Might Be Giants, Wilco...the list goes on and on. But I thought I'd take us back forty years to what may be the first! (Can you think of an earlier example?)

Let's go out of order and start with the elder statesman. "Bo Diddley" is Bo Diddley's rhythm-and-blues infused-with-hoodoo autobiographical third-person rendition of the lullaby "Hush Little Baby," set to a rhythmic pattern so unique and influential it has come to be known as the "Bo Diddley beat." Essentially the clave rhythm of Afro-Cuban music, the beat pattern took on a whole new personality in the hands of Diddley and his band. (I personally think the maracas make the song.) You could probably think of a half-dozen songs that use this beat without even trying, but I'll get you started: "I Want Candy" (Bow Wow Wow), "Desire" (U2), "Panic in Detroit" (David Bowie), "Faith" (George Michael), "Magic Bus" (The Who), "Not Fade Away" (Buddy Holly)....it's another long list.

Rammstein's Herzelied (translation: "heartache") was released in 1995 but I was unaware of the German industrial band until 1997 when I saw David Lynch's neo-noir thriller Lost Highway. Lynch enlisted Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails to collect most of the songs for the soundtrack, but chose two songs by Rammstein himself. Both are used to great effect in some very tense sequences in the film. "Rammstein" (the song) is about a 1988 air show disaster at the Ramstein (yes, one "m"—the band added the additional "m" to their name to allow for an alternate translation: "ramming stone") Air Force Base in the German town of the same name. The video shown here was directed by Lynch and features scenes from Lost Highway.

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