Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rhythm Nation (Or, Reverend Nation)


Here's a little Hemingway for you...in two lines:

I studied abroad one semester in college.

It was a good time.

To this day, I have trouble believing I earned college credit tooling around the Mediterranean for four months.

At the time, the song "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (see below) was a huge hit...and in Europe it was completely inescapable. Every time we (as in the other fourteen 20 year-olds in my program and I) went out, there it was - pumping and lumping its techno-y way out of every speaker and soundsystem we encountered.

Also of note, Madonna's "Erotica" and Prince's "Sexy Motherfucker" were huge hits then as well. Both songs were aired in Europe unedited...which led to some surreal situations. I remember seeing a group of toddlers at a circus in Greece bobbing their heads unknowingly to the beat as Prince screeched:

"Come here baby...you sexy motherfucker..."

Anyway, I digress.

We heard "Rhythm Is a Dancer" every time we went out...and for underage Americans in Europe, that meant as frequently as possible. Once on the way out of a bar, "Rhythm Is a Dancer" was stuck in my head...so I continued to sing it on the way home. As I warbled the song's insipid lyrics, my friend Julie grabbed my arm in horror.

"Wait. What are the words to that song?"

"Rhythm is a dancer...it's a soul's companion...you can feel it every..."

"Oh my God." She said, still clutching my arm.

A split second later, she was doubled over in laughter.

"What is it?"

"I thought the lyrics were 'Reverend Jesse Jackson...he's got a coalition...you can see him everywhere.'"

Did I mention Julie was a drunk?

7 comments:

Derek said...

Just found your blog, Love it, and your artwork as well! I'll be back!

hello, my name is danny. said...

that retelling rocks so hard. thanks for the walk down that musical memory lane.

those were the days...

Greg said...

Ha! I never thought about it, but the lyrics do sound lilke a call to arms for the Reverend Jesse Jackson. My favorite missheard lyric was to CCR's Bad Moon Rising:

Don't go out tonight
It's bound to take your life.
There's a bathroom on the right.


It's only now that I understand just how dangerous public toilets can really be.

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

It was popular when I was living on the Upper West Side. I never heard Rev. Jesse in the lyrics, and I drank a lot back then.

Big Daddy said...

I heart misheard lyrics.

Big Daddy said...

'Hold me closer, Tony Danza' instead of 'Tiny Dancer' by Elton John.

To this day, that's what I hear.

kusala said...

I have to be honest: I don't think I ever want to hear that song or "Show Me Love" ever again.