Log in

No account? Create an account
Music Box Dancer - The Mad Schemes of Dr. Tectonic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Music Box Dancer [Aug. 13th, 2011|02:23 am]
I take the bus to work most days, which means I drive a few minutes to the park-n-ride in Westminster, park, then ride, taking the bus up to the park-n-ride in Boulder, and then take a company shuttle van the last couple miles to the building I actually work in, because it's way up on the side of the hill.

The different shuttle drivers all have their own choices of what to play on the radio. One of the afternoon shuttle drivers like classical, and the other one like jazz. In the morning, I usually get KBCO, though there's a younger guy (substitute driver) who plugs his ipod in and plays awesome glitchy warbly techno. (I have discovered some new bands via his playlist.)

There's also a lady who listens to the super-easy-listening station. Not the regular easy-listening station, the one that is even more mellow than that.

Anyway, she was driving this morning, and just before we got to the lab, on comes a song that I recognize.

Music Box Dancer.

I have a great fondness for this song because back when I was a kid, every now and then I would go to church with my grandparents and afterwards we would go out to lunch, generally at a cafeteria-style restaurant like Bonanza or Furr's. At Bonanza I would always get the chopped steak, but I always liked Furr's better. Furr's had a much better dessert selection, though it took me a while to learn to distinguish meringue from whipped cream, and to realize that I was always going to be disappointed if I got the lemon meringue pie, and that I should go for the chocolate cream pie instead.

Also, Furr's has fried okra, which I still enjoy as an adult, but which is even better as a child because fried okra is a vegetable that consists mostly of breading. But I digress.

Anyway, Furr's had a grand piano in one of the back rooms, and there was an older lady, with swept silver hair and old-lady dresses from the sixties who would play light background music while you ate. And sometimes, not every time we went there, but sometimes, she would play this song. And it's a lovely song, which I love.

So hearing it on the radio, I was reminded, and when I got home this evening I looked it up on YouTube.

I always figured this song was some kind of pre-war Golden Oldie, like all the other songs that the Piano Lady played. No. It's from 1978. This song was a recent pop hit when I was hearing it on the piano in Furr's! Which is mildly boggling.

The other thing I discovered whilst on YouTube is that there are dozens and dozens of techno remixes of this song out there.

Which is not really surprising, I suppose; there are probably a couple dozen techno remixes of any given instrumental tune you can think of. And I like techno, so I'm certainly not going to complain.

Anyway, if you don't know the song by name, please to be (re)-discovering it: Music Box Dancer, by Frank Mills

I think my favorite of the remixes is DJ Schwede's cover.

Tinkly piano yay!

[User Picture]From: derbiser
2011-08-13 12:52 pm (UTC)
This is rolling around my mind trying to attach to a more specific memory, but as soon as I heard the first few notes, it immediately made me think of my grandma's house...
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: joebehrsandiego
2011-08-13 03:22 pm (UTC)
What a great story. I had no idea Furr's was so grand (they never made it to Rapid City; we did have Bonanza, though).
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2011-08-13 08:55 pm (UTC)
Well, I think it's probably a lot grander when you're 9.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zalena
2011-08-13 03:36 pm (UTC)
So, as the daughter of a piano teacher, I will admit that I've always disliked this song. However, this description from wikipedia made me laugh: "Due in part to the resurgence of Bubblegum pop in the Third Bubblegum Era (citation needed."

Sometimes there's an elderly piano player at Schmidt's Bakery Sunday brunch in Loveland who always plays jazzy Muppets and Stevie Wonder. I love them so much that it almost always make me want to cry.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: goddessdster
2011-08-13 04:55 pm (UTC)
:D I, too, have childhood memories of hearing this song, mostly involving playing it on my tinny radio in my bedroom while imagining myself somewhere else, or pretending to play the song on my windowsill.

Your story is awesome, though. For one, it makes me wish I had gone to Furr's while I still lived in Austin.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: danthered
2011-08-13 05:38 pm (UTC)
AAAaaaaaaaaaaaah! I just clicked your first YouTube link and all the sudden it's 1979-80 and I'm 3-4 years old and my folks are out for the night and my babysitter is sitting at my mother's piano doing about an 80% job of playing this.

I usually get KBCO (…) There's also a lady who listens to the super-easy-listening station.

Is that still KOSI-101?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2011-08-13 08:48 pm (UTC)
KOSI's the regular easy-listening station. I didn't even know there was a radio station this mellow.

(They call KOSI "lite rock" now. It wouldn't be my listening choice for long stretches of time, but they play enough pop hits that I keep it in the backup set of radio presets, for checking out when all the regular stations are playing ads all at the same time...)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: danthered
2011-08-13 09:10 pm (UTC)
Oog. KOSI used to be the queasy-listening "all pablum, all the time!" station. 'Course, this was back in the days before KOOL-105 toppled KRZN (Cruizin' eleven-fifteeeeeee!), back when KVOD and KCFR were both going concerns, maybe even before KBTV became KUSA!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: danthered
2011-08-13 05:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, and also:

(Reply) (Thread)
From: detailbear
2011-08-13 06:06 pm (UTC)
That one's very hard to lipsync to.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2011-08-13 08:54 pm (UTC)
Hey, I downloaded an electronica remake of Popcorn just a couple months ago!

There are, um. A LOT of covers: http://www.popcorn-song.com
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: danthered
2011-08-13 09:20 pm (UTC)
Land sakes alive…I was aware of maybe four of these. I had no idea there were so many, though I suppose it stands to reason. Some of them are Not As Good, though I'm sure they all seemed like a good idea at the time.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: tdjohnsn
2011-08-13 06:34 pm (UTC)
I remember it being in constant rotation with "copacabana" and ABBA and YMCA and various Donna Summers songs. It would have been right around when I started high school.

As I recall, the story was that the single had been included in a shipment to a pop station by accident rather than the classical station it had been intended for and when the DJ played it, he got such a huge response that it got put in regular rotation and became a hit from there.

Edited at 2011-08-13 06:40 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: danthered
2011-08-13 09:11 pm (UTC)

…but Music Box Dancer isn't classical music. Not even a little bit.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: flwyd
2011-08-13 08:33 pm (UTC)
Fried okra was also my favorite item at Furr's as a kid.

I was also confused by the people who got a number on a stick, which didn't seem nearly as tasty as an actual plate of food.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kev_bot
2011-08-14 03:24 pm (UTC)
1973!? Seriously!? I am a little blown away!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: annlarimer
2011-08-15 06:11 pm (UTC)
We had (well, it still exists) a place called Lee's, which specialized in fried chicken coated in some sort of corny, flakey thing (if only there was a word to describe these flakes of corn!), and a lady who played the organ. The best bit was that if you were a smallish child you could go sit at the bench with her and watch her play, and she would take requests. So not only did you get to eat at a grown-up restaurant, you could get the hell away from your parents for a minute while they talked about FUCKING GOLF GOD SHUT UP ABOUT THE GOLF I may have issues.

Also, sometimes on the way home we got Dairy Queen.

The drive always took us past the orphanage. I made a careful note of where it was, just in case there was a bad car crash. I may have been a slightly morbid child.
(Reply) (Thread)