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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tom Lehrer's Clementine lyrics

"I should like to consider the folk song, and expand briefly on a theory I have held for some time, to the effect that the reason most folk songs are so atrocious is that they were written by the Le. if professional songwriters had written them instead, things might have turned out considerably differently. for example, consider the old favorite, with which, Im sure, youre all familiar Ot; clementine, you know: In a cavern, in a canyon, Dadada dadadada... A song with no recognizable merit whatsoever, and imagine what might have happened if, for example, cole porter had tried writing this song. the first verse might have come out like this:In a cavern, in a canyon, Excava-ha-ha-hating for a mine, Far away from the boom-boom-boom of the cityShe was so pretty, what a pity, clementine. Oh clementine, cant you tell from the howls of me This love of mine calls to you from the bowels of me.Are you discerning the returning Of this churning, burning, yearning for you-oo-oo... ah-ah...Well, supposing at this point that mozart (or one of that crowd) had tried writing a verse, the next one might have come out as a baritone aria from an italian opera, somewhat along these lines: Era legera e come un fairy E suo shoes numero nine,Herring bo-ho-ho-hoxes senza to-ho-ho-hopses,Sandalae per clementina si, per clementina si, Per clementina sandalae, per clementina sandalae, per clementine. Clehementina, clehementina, clehe-he-mentina...Herring boxes senza topses sandalae per clementina,Herring boxes senza topses sandalae per clementina, Che sciagura clementina, che sciagura clementina, cara clementina, caraClementina-na-na-na-na-na-na-na! Supposing at this rather dramatic juncture in the narrative, one of our modern cool school of composers had tried writing a verse, the next one might have come out like this: Drove those ducklings to the waterYeah brach! doddley doo doo uh ah! Evry morning like 9amOoh pah! de do de do do do, biddley da! Got hung up on a splinter, got a-hung up on a splinter Cloo ge mop! huh huh! Do de do de do do doFell into the foamy brine, dig that crazy clementine, man! To end on a happy note, one can always count on gilbert and sullivan for a rousing finale, full of words and music and signifying nothing. That I missed her depressed her young sister named esther,This mister to pester she tried.Now her pestering sisters a festering blister, Youre best to resist her, say i. The mister resisted, the sister persisted,I kissed her, all loyalty slipped.When she said I could have her, her sisters cadaverMust surely have turned in its crypt. Yes, yes, yes, yes! But I love she and she loves me. Enraptured are the both of we. Yes I love she and she loves i And will through all eternity! See what I mean?"

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