Tuesday, April 29, 2008

City Songs: Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

They Might Be Giants: Istanbul (Not Constantinople)


Why they changed it, I can't say. People just liked it better that way.

From Wikipedia (my favorite source for facts):

"Constantinople was the capital of the Roman Empire (330–395), the Byzantine/East Roman Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). As part of Atatürk's reforms, the Turkish government in 1930 declared its name to be Istanbul, a name in common use for many centuries among the Turkish citizens. By the end of the Second World War, English usage had generally followed this change."


Anonymous said...

One of my favorites, Paul...I keep it on tap at work (I teach in a middle school) to help retention in our unit on our study of the development of the cultures of the middle east.

Mario B said...

It may surprise you, but this is a cover ! The original version was from 1953, by Tin Pan Alley vocal quartet the Four Lads. Almost similar than They Might Be Giants !

Anonymous said...

True dat, Mario. Many people have a vague impression that the original is even older than that --something about how it sounds so much like a an Irving Berlin tune.

Anonymous said...

My mom has the original 45 by the Four Lads. When we were little kids in the '70s, we used to play it all the time. I almost fell out of my chair the first time I heard TMBG's version, but it makes perfect sense.

The Four Lads version is much slower.