Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Variations on a Theme Song

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who have a theme song and those who don't. 

The year my friend Linda and I lived together in college, on most weeknights she would walk through my bedroom door at about 11:25 singing "Da da da daa da, Da da dada da da." In case you don't immediately recognize that transliteration, it's Johnny Carson's theme song from The Tonight Show, which started after the 11 o'clock news. Since then, I've always wanted my own theme song (and backup singers, but that's another discussion). 

I've been thinking a lot about theme songs lately, since I find myself unable to remember new information due to the huge portion of my brain that has dedicated itself to preserving every commercial jingle and theme song from my childhood and early adult years. Let's see if you suffer from the same affliction by playing a quick round of Match the Theme Song with the TV Show:
1. Suicide is Painless
2. Love is All Around
3. Making Our Dreams Come True
4. I'll Be There for You
5. Searchin' My Soul
6. Movin' on Up
7. Where Everybody Knows Your Name
8. Those Were the Days
9. The Final Frontier
10. Best Friend
A. Ally McBeal
B. Friends
C. Mad About You
D. The Courtship of Eddie's Father
E. Cheers
F. M*A*S*H
G. The Jeffersons
H. Laverne and Shirley
I. All in the Family
J. Mary Tyler Moore

Bonus question: hum the theme songs to both Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, and identify which is which. 

Answers: 1-F, 2-J, 3-H, 4-B, 5-A, 6-G, 7-E, 8-I, 9-C, 10-D. 

Give yourself two points for each match; add 5 more points for each one you can sing; bonus question: 15 points total. Score: less than 5 — you have led a sad, sheltered life (or are under 20 years old); 5-30 — you are reasonably well versed; 30-50 — you are a theme song aficionado; more than 50 — you have led a sad, sheltered life and need to get out more. 

As you can see, I literally have theme songs on the brain, so I've decided I should get one for myself. Imagine my excitement when I found the "What's Your Theme Song Quiz" on blogthings.com. All I had to do was answer a few questions and, voil√†, it would generate my ideal theme song. Here are my results:

Your Theme Song is Beautiful Day by U2

"Sky falls, you feel like
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away"

You see the beauty in life, especially in ordinary everyday moments.
And if you're feeling down, even that seems a little beautiful too.
Um, no. Thanks anyway. Nothing personal, Bono, but I'm more of a Van Morrison kind of girl. In fact, I've always secretly considered "Caravan" my de facto theme song. Upon further reflection, however, I realize that a theme song is different than a favorite song and more than just a jingle. By definition, it is a melody used to identify a performer, a play or movie. By implication, it is a powerful sensory indicator connecting a particular song to something tangible and specific. Finding the right one for me is going to take some serious effort.

I started by thinking of "name" songs (no, not The Name Game song — songs with my name in them). I don't answer to diminutives, so that automatically eliminates many promising possibilities, including Susie-Q, Runaround Sue, Boy Name Sue (um?), Wake Up, Little Suzie, and Satisfy Suzie. While some of these are great songs, they just won't do.

When we move onto "Susan" songs, we're much more limited: 
  • The Buckingham's Susan:  "Susan, looks like I'm loosin', I'm loosin' my mind, wastin' my time … Susan, do you have to be confusin' …"  Sure, it's a catchy tune, but the rhymes are weak and juvenile; plus, I've never been crazy about that weird instrumental/traffic noise interlude.
  • Al Jarreau's Susan's Song — Beautiful, angsty, but really all about Al, not Susan: "Susan, do you mind, sometimes I'm restless, rolling on the floor in pain and woe. After all the precious gifts you will gladly give to me, girl, I may blindly lock and bolt the door."
So, here am I, lamenting my lack of a theme song, when all of a sudden I get a Google Alert about "Two Kinds of People" and discover that my blog has it's very own theme song courtesy of Little Anthony and the Imperials. Little A et al never hit the charts with Two People in the World, and I'm not sure it's what I would have chosen, but how can you turn down a perfectly-good, ready-made theme song? I particularly like the a cappella version:

I guess I'll use Two People in the World as a leitmotif while the search for my personal theme song continues. Click here to tell us your theme song and why it works for you.  

On a final note (with a bit of shameless self-promotion), I've been writing around on the Web recently, with a couple of guest posts on Wee Windy City, and two new posts on the Chicago Moms Blog, including one on our lackluster summer and one on the group's Birthday Topic Day. Stop by if you have a chance. I've revamped this blog's sidebar to include 2KoP on the Web for easy linking. 


Cindy Fey said...

Isn't that Little Anthony song the cutest thing you have ever heard!???

Unknown said...

I thought I was the only person who knew almost every word from those songs! :-)

Great romp!

Anonymous said...

I miss The Courtship of Eddies's Father! I loved that show!

Unknown said...

I'm so excited to have made it into your blog! My fifteen minutes of fame! =) The irony is that I don't even think that Johnny was very funny, although I guess he was an excuse for yet another break from studying. And there were no John Stewarts or Steven Colberts in those days!

Didn't we live together in college for two years?

Susan Bearman said...

Linda — I think you just liked singing the theme song as a mid-study break. Johnny wasn't all that funny to me either, but he had a lot of great comedians over the years. Oh, and we lived together for a year and a half (didn't you graduate in December?).

Tricia said...

My theme song is Send in the Clowns. Need I explain why?

Shari A. Brady said...

Johnny Carson not that funny? I think he's about the funniest guy on this planet. Okay, maybe Vince Vaughn could take his place....I still miss the Tonight Show and Johnny's facial expressions, one liners....

Barbara said...

My theme song is "Ningen Kakumei no Uta," or Song of Human Revolution. Its about forging through a snowstorm and I hummed it many a difficult day. Suffering but victorious! (I know this is not very humorous. Sorry.)