Sunday, June 03, 2007

80s Music Video Sunday #25

Over the years, there's one thing Israelis have done that always makes me laugh. They aren't bashful about singing out loud, singing along with the radio, or basically about doing (or wearing!) anything in public that would make the average American cringe. The funniest, though, is definitely the singing, especially when the songs are in a language other than Hebrew. I've lost track of the number of times I've had to exert tremendous self-control in order not to laugh over badly mangled lyrics belted out in horribly accented English, often in a way that suggests the person is rehearsing for their "A Star is Born" (Israel's answer to "American Idol") audition. And of course, you know that if this were indeed the case, your acquaintance would wind up being one of those poor souls whose audition was shown on television purely for public enjoyment.

Sometimes, though, word-mangling is simply inevitable, even for those of us who actually know the language of the song being sung. Often, the lyrics are utterly unintelligible, and as hard as you try, you simply cannot understand the words that the singer is singing. This seems especially true of songs from the 80s, where discovery of the actual lyrics shows you just how far off the mark you are. We all know this was the case for this song, as well as several other songs that have been featured for 80s Music Video Sunday. The scary part is, even though you've finally found out what the real lyrics are, you've got the incorrect words so deeply ingrained in your brain that you know chances are slim that you'll ever learn the song properly, and will continue to sing along using the wrong words, remembering that they are wrong only after you've actually sung them.

There is, however, one song from the 80s that stands out in my mind as a gem in the indecipherable lyrics genre. "Come on Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners was a huge hit. We all loved it and we all sang along, but in truth, I don't think anyone actually knew the words. If we had each been asked to sing the song alone, I can only imagine how different each person's take on the words would have been, and if we take that thought even further, I'm guessing that each person's distinct version of the song would be far, far away from the original. I've just looked up the lyrics now, and quite frankly, they don't even resemble any words that I'd have come up with on my own.

Everyone "knows" this song, but with regard to the actual lyrics, how close were you really? Hmmm?



Come on Eileen
Dexys Midnight Runners

(Come on Eileen!)
(Come on Eileen!)

Poor old Johnny Ray
Sounded sad upon the radio
He moved a million hearts in mono
Our mothers cried and sang along and who'd blame them?
Now you're grown, so grown, now I must say more than ever
Go toora loora toora loo rye aye
And we can sing just like our fathers ....

Come on Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
At this moment, you mean everything
With you in that dress, my thoughts I confess
Verge on dirty ......
Ah, come on Eileen!

(Come on Eileen!)
(Come on Eileen!)

These people round here wear beaten down eyes
Sunk in smoke dried faces
They're so resigned to what their fate is
But not us, no not us
We are far too young and clever
Go toora loora toora loo rye aye
Eileen, I'll sing this tune forever

Come on, Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
Ah come on, let's take off everything
That pretty red dress .... Eileen (tell him yes)
Ah, come on! Come on Eileen!!!

Come on Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
At this moment, you mean everything

Come on, Eileen, taloora aye
Come on, Eileen, taloora aye
Come on, Eileen, taloora aye
Come on, Eileen, taloora aye
Come on, Eileen, taloora aye
Come on, Eileen, taloora aye

Go toora loora toora loo rye aye

Come on Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
At this moment, you mean everything
With you in that dress, my thoughts I confess
Verge on dirty ......
Ah, come on Eileen!

Come on, Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
Ah come on, let's take off everything
That pretty red dress .... Eileen (tell him yes)
Ah, come on! Come on Eileen!!!

Come on Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
At this moment, you mean everything

Come on Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
At this moment, you mean everything

6 comments:

as said...

holy moses! i've been wrong for 25 years! classic song though, their "Geno" ain't bad either...

RR said...

Erm...not very close!

Good pick!

Beth said...

I still maintain that you haven't really heard it until you've heard it at an Irish "disco" right before closing and the national anthem. For some reason it just gets better in the wee hours of the morning. ;)

nrg said...

Wow... I was REALLY way off base on that one... and yes, I sang along with the best of them!!

the dame said...

My much beloved, little bitty, acerbic Aussie grandmother was named Eileen. She raised 5 boys, who would sing "Come on, Eileen!" to her and irritate her to no end (They all towered over her and she'd huff and puff and swat them with whatever she had at hand). It's a fond family memory... but I have to say I am fairly certain that my father and uncles weren't singing those words! Now that I know the actual lyrics, I think it's probably just as well!

Andy said...

Do you know, I found exactly the same problem with pop lyrics as sung in the 1970s. Here's a few of my favourites:

Firstly, Diana Ross: "Little girl, please don't wait for me..." sounded like: "Hilda, there's no way for me..."

Secondly, "Blinded by the light - wrapped up like a dusion of the drummer in the night". I STILL don't know the correct lyrics for that and don't want to. I'm kind of fond of the absurdity!

And then Kate Bush - "coming home to a sight of wooden pipes" in "Wuthering Heights"...

"This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both of Us" by Sparks was one long gabble.

We used to buy a magazine called "45" in the 70s which contained lots of current chart lyrics. Boy, did we need it!