Friday, November 09, 2007

What R the Odds?

I had one of those stupid music moments again the other day.

Before Rod Stewart and Carly Simon did standards albums, Bryan Ferry of the 70's band Roxy Music and some 80's solo work, did one called As Time Goes By (and he was doing it before that--there's a cover of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and These Foolish Things on his albums). Oh, and he dated/discovered a model named Jerry Hall. You might have heard of her.

Anyway, the last song I heard from the album was The Way You Look Tonight. I was listening to it at work, and when it ended, I had to make a call. I was waiting on hold and realised that the song was...The Way You Look Tonight in muzak. At first I thought I was still hearing Bryan Ferry in my head or projecting it onto the muzak, but no--really The Way You Look Tonight.
{Sidenote: I've been trying to show how fabulously talented Hugh Laurie is lately by sending people You Tube clips, and it just occurred to me to look for this from Peter's Friends:


So, I was thinking, what are the odds? Of all the songs in the world that I would hear those two back to back?

A local radio station had a contest (I think they've stopped because nobody won) called "Psychic DJ" The caller had to guess the next song. I'm not sure how they determined the next song--they claimed it was Magic 8 Ball, amongst other things, but how could one possibly win? Now, this is an alternative station which began somewhere in the early 80's and plays music from the 70's. So, let's say there's 150 new alternative singles per year. We're looking at some 5000 songs to choose from. That's absurd odds. And they did select songs from across the spectrum. From Peter, Bjorn & John's annoying "Young Folks" (2007) to Beck's "Devil's Haircut" (1997) to "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" by The Ramones (1977).

Now--given that there is no limit to the range of muzak, what really are the odds that I would hear a song written in 1936 twice in a row? Granted, "The Way You Look Tonight" is a very popular standard, more so than say, "I Got Spurs That Jingle Jangle Jingle" but even so, is it more popular than several thousand other possible songs--maybe millions.

It's tempting to ascribe a great deal of meaning to this, and many people do. For instance--before I went to see my mother I kept hearing "Daughter" as mentioned below, virtually every day. I haven't heard it once since.

And that means precisely nothing.

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