Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Earworm: Sultans of Swing

One of the reasons that I got into music was due to "Weird Al" Yankovic. When I was a kid, I wore his records and tapes out. I saw him in concert many, many times, and while I knew that most of what he did was parody existing songs, I wasn't familiar with the origials for a lot of them. I was well versed in "Another One Rides the Bus," but didn't know "Another One Bites the Dust" until years later.

At some point, I began investigating, trying to become familiar with the original artists of his work. Given that I didn't have cable and was subject to pretty much whatever was on the radio, it was a slow process. I still didn't know many of the songs or bands that were being parodied.

When Yankovic's 1989 film UHF was released, I immediately saw it in the theater. It was the greatest thing ever, and featured a video of a modern recreation of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song. I had no idea that it was a parody of "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits until years later.

As I got older and began expanding my musical experience, I did become familiar with "Money for Nothing" as well as several other Dire Straits songs. In the late 1990s, my roommate at the time cam back from a trip to Thailand with some bootleg CDs. One of them was a Dire Straits greatest hits album. At this point I did know the original "Money for Nothing" and its accompanying animated video, but still hadn't heard much more. That compilation didn't make me a big fan, but it did introduce me to some great songs like "Sultans of Swing," which was running through my head when I woke up this morning.

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