Posted by Brad @ 2:50 pm on July 22nd 2011

Music Video of the Week

Theme version!

This week’s theme: songs for which the chorus, but nothing else, was already written before the original songwriter came to them.

It’s a micro-genre I like a lot, wherein a songwriter hears a snatch of something – or an outright song chorus – and then just goes ahead and finishes the song.

My favorite of the genre is a song that, sadly, doesn’t appear to exist online. Jim Infantino had a dream one night, in which he was at the Iron Horse in Boston pulling on the drapes (the Iron Horse doesn’t have drapes), and singing the chorus of a song that went “Put a cold beer on her wrist, Rita,” and sounded sort of like a Tom Waits song. Anyway, he woke up, had that snatch of song in his head for days, and finally wrote the song. Although, as he was quick to point out, the song was theoretically already written, so it was more like rewriting something he couldn’t remember.

Close second: Peter Mulvey, who had a friend who had written a chorus that went:

“She was just a stranger, a stranger, a stranger,
She was just a stranger, too.
She was just a stranger, a stranger a stranger,
She was just a stranger too.
She was just a stranger, a stranger, a stranger,
She came in to town just lookin’ for a manger
She was a stranger —
She wasn’t looking for you.”

And for years Peter always thought that ought to be a full song, and then one day he vaguely remembered somebody that his father had once mentioned to him, a guy named Dynamite Bill. So Peter asked his dad about him, and wrote the song. Full story, and song, here at 3:25. A better version of the song was a previous MVOTW.

Anyway, for this week, I think I’m going to go with:

Colin Hay – Oh, California

If you have other examples, please, share them in comments.

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