Sing Lyric Sunday: “New Math”

When I started taking arithmetic classes in 1962, there was all kinds of excitement about a revolution in pedagogy called “New Math.” Ours was the first class at St. Ignatius School to have the honor (or be cursed with, depending on your point of view) of learning arithmetic in this newfangled way, and of course it baffled me and most of the class and I was falling behind. This was the cause for consternation in my family, because, after all, my grandfather was a professor of Mathematics at Loyola University less than two blocks away and, in fact, had taught many of the same teachers that were now telling my mother that I was falling behind. In fact, I was pretty number literate and could add and subtract with the best of them (all you need to know to pass 1st Grade), thanks to all I had learned from Professor Hicks, but there was the issue of learning it the “New Math” way, where getting the right answer was secondary to being able to explain how I got that answer (i.e. to tell the teachers what I was doing in between getting the problem and arriving at the answer). Sound familiar?

Anyway, around that time a Professor of Mathematics from MIT, Tom Lehrer, was making waves in the entertainment business by writing humorous songs and performing them in concert. At one point he was employed as a songwriter for the popular TV show That Was The Week That Was, the name of one of his albums. In one of his songs, he discusses this revolutionary new method of taking a problem like 2+2=4 and turning it into an incomprehensible discussion where you might end up with 5 as the answer, but at least you understood what you were doing. Normally I would include the lyrics copied from one of the many lyrics collections online, but as you’ll see, a young man named Jared Khan did that already.

In the computer biz, math is done in base 16, so 342 – 173 = 1CF (in base 16 you count 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F, 10…), usually pronounced “one charlie foxtrot.”

Anyway, that’s Song Lyric Sunday for March 17, 2019.

Song Lyric Sunday: “Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow (Baretta’s Theme)”

The prompt “animal” reminded me of a song in one of my favorite genres, namely TV Themes.

The show was Baretta, which ran from 1974-1978 and starred Robert Blake as the title character, an unorthodox police detective from the 53rd Precinct of “some unknown city”‘s police department (i.e. the NYPD) who often worked in disguise and in his off hours lived in a rundown hotel with his cockatoo Fred. Baretta replaced Toma after the latter’s lead character, Tony Musante, left after one season. The theme song was written by Dave Grusin and Morgan Ames, originally as an instrumental, with lyrics added shortly after the show began. Sammy Davis Jr. sang the theme, and released it as a single in 1976. It reached #42 on the Adult Contemporary chart, but failed to crack the Hot 100, peaking at #101.

Lyrics courtesy Lyrics.com:

Don’t go to bed with no price on your head,
Don’t do it.
Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

Keep your eye on the sparrow,
When the going gets narrow.

Don’t roll the dice if you can’t pay the price,
Don’t do it.
Don’t run your feet down a dead-end street.

Keep your eye on the sparrow,
When the going gets narrow.

Don’t do me dirt or you’re gonna get hurt
Don’t do it.
Don’t run away till you hear what I say.

Keep your eye on the sparrow,
When the going gets narrow.

Ain’t gonna fight with no thief in the night
Won’t do it.
I’m gonna go where the cold wind don’t blow.

Keep your eye on the sparrow,
When the going gets narrow.

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for March 10, 2019.

Song Lyric Sunday: “Candy Man”

Another one of those songs that just jumped right into my lap, and it even fits the theme (well, sort of). I was originally thinking of Sammy Davis Jr.’s song, from the 1971 movie Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, but this seems to be just as good. There wasn’t a Wikipedia article on it, other than a blurb that said it as the flip side of 1961’s “Crying.” Working off the record label, it was written by Beverly Ross and Fred Neil, and Roy was accompanied by Bob Moore’s Orchestra and Chorus. I saw him do this in concert, and he played the harmonica, though I’m not sure he did here.

The lyrics, from MetroLyrics:

Come on, baby, let me take you by the hand
Come on, sugar, let me take you by the hand
Go for me, let me be
All your own candy, your candy, candy man

Yeah, come on, baby, I love your honey lovin’ ways
Baby sweet thing, I love your honey lovin’, your honey lovin’ ways
Come to me, let me be
All your own candy, your candy, candy man

Come on woman, gonna treat you right
Give you candy kisses every single night

Candy man, candy man, candy man, candy man

Go for me let me be
All your own candy, your candy, candy man

Candy, candy, candy
I got a treat
All your own candy, your candy, candy man

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for March 3, 2019.

Song Lyric Sunday: “An Old Fashioned Love Song”

Today’s theme is “harmony/melody/music,” and this song jumped into my head almost immediately.

“An Old Fashioned Love Song” is a 1971 song that was written by Paul Williams and done by Three Dog Night for their 1971 album Harmony. Williams had originally intended for Karen Carpenter to sing it (and wouldn’t that have been something), but Richard thumbs-downed it and Williams offered it to Three Dog Night, who had already recorded one of his songs, “Out In The Country,” the year before. Three Dog Night took the song to #4 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, the first time they ever topped that chart. Here’s Three Dog Night, with Chuck Negron taking the lead, from 1971, “An Old Fashioned Love Song.”

Lyrics courtesy of MetroLyrics:

Just an old fashioned love song
Playing on the radio
And wrapped around the music is the sound
Of someone promising they’ll never go

You’ll swear you’ve heard it before
As it slowly rambles on and on
No need in bringing ’em back
‘Cause they’ve never really gone

Just an old fashioned love song
One I’m sure they wrote for you and me
Just an old fashioned love song
Coming down in three part harmony

To weave our dreams upon and listen
To each evening when the lights are low
To underscore our love affair with tenderness
And feeling that we’ve come to know

Just an old fashioned love song
Coming down in three part harmony
Just an old fashioned love song
One I’m sure they wrote for you and me

Just an old fashioned love song
Coming down in three part harmony
Just an old fashioned love song
One I’m sure they wrote for you and me

Just an old fashioned love song
Coming down in three part harmony
Just an old fashioned love song
One I’m sure they wrote for you and me

Just an old fashioned love song
Coming down in three part harmony
Just an old fashioned love song…

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for February 24, 2019.

Song Lyric Sunday: “I Can’t Move No Mountains”

I know I just used this in a Battle of the Bands, but when Jim chose “hill/mountain” as the words for the week, I had to use it again, because it’s such a great song.

I’ve used The Free Movement here before, too, at the end of December when I played their 1971 hit “I’ve Found Someone Of My Own.” I really wish they had gotten more attention, because they were really good. This song was written by Robert John and Michael Gately and has been covered many, many times, including Blood Sweat & Tears. From 1973, “I Can’t Move No Mountains.”

The lyrics, from AZLyrics:

Can’t stop the rain or keep the night from falling
Sometimes I just don’t hear you when you’re calling
I’m not a one man band, can’t write no songs about you
Can’t even tell you I’d be lost without you
But I can do things that will keep you smiling
Keep your face warm baby, make you feel like flying
Without to have trying

I can’t move no mountains
No I never said I could
I can’t make you love me
But I’ll make you feel so good
Or I could now

Can’t cool the sun or make a rock give water
Sometimes I treat you like a rich man’s daughter
But I can make your heart pound with desire
Make wonder, baby, how I keep the fire
Taking you higher

I can’t move no mountains
No I never said I could
I can’t make you love me
But I’ll make you feel so good

I can’t move no mountains
I can’t move no mountains

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for February 17, 2019.