When Ian McCulloch wondered what the chords of Space Oddity would sound like backwards
Tag Archives: choice
Cover Versions: To Be Or Not To Be?
© Sing Better English, 2016
Oh Beryl, I think it’s time for running for cover
You’re writing a song, in English, about a young woman whose life has taken all the wrong turns, most of them involving rock musicians:
Well, sometimes it seems impossible
That the game could get that rough
But the stage is set, the exit’s barred
And the make-up won’t come off
To fit the music, you need a two-beat, two-syllable name for your young, damaged woman. Something that begins with a young, clear-as-a-bell consonant, but dulls into a schwa sound. Better still if the end of her name is a thick, tongue-clogging l, so that you can drag her name down into the dirt when you sing it.
You think I make the choosing of names for songs sound mechanical or cynical? No name finds its way into a song unless its sound serves that song. Layla, Emily and Jane suit the psychology of the songs where they appear. Each name is a sound picture.
To choose your heroine’s name, you start running through the alphabet and come to B. Two syllables, the second one a schwa followed by an l. Beryl. Beryl the rock groupie. Really?
Continue reading Oh Beryl, I think it’s time for running for cover
You’ve got me on my knees, Sheila
If you’re a drummer, falling in love with a woman called Pattie can be inspirational. Pa-ttie, Pat-tat-tat-ie is percussion in female form.
But if you’re a guitarist? You can’t bend or stretch Pattie‘s vowels. You can’t wrap her round a guitar riff. Her double tt tethers her to the beat and to the ground. Her a is the short, tidy type. Her P is sharp and unforgiving.
They say all clouds have a silver lining. When Pattie’s married to your best friend, you have the perfect excuse for giving her a new, secret, improved name in a love-song. Something exotic and soft, something to curve and soar to the sound of your guitar. Something like Layla.