Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Musical Transformations: Let the Good Time Roll

Jimi Hendrix: Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)


Most popular songs are built on the same formula: the I, IV, V  structure. This, of course refers to the  commonly used chord progression of most popular music (as in  A=I, D=IV and E=V – counting up the scale from the “root/starting” note). For the most part, “they’re all the same”. What’s amazing is the fact that – despite the prevalence of the I-IV-V format – they don’t all sound the same.

The realm of the “mashup” (which I raised a month ago) seems to fit our current topic: a new song based on two or more pre-existing ones. But we’ll steer clear of that genre here. Likewise, as per our guidance, we steer clear of covers, wherein the musician(s) re-interpret the I-IV-V format of some previous troubadour – of which there are many that come to mind.

As J. David said earlier this week, it’s often times hard to separate influence from outright theft. And as  Joe Ross pointed out and as I noted recently in reference to Weird Al basing some of his work on others’, there are those who creatively take from others.

Then, there’s the collection of songs that aren’t necessarily deliberately borrowed, but, rather, include source material that is so much a part of the whole rock/pop genre that it’s hard to credit any specific artist with the original conceit: the two are so far apart.

Last week I based my selection about our related “Musical Quotes” on a rather flimsy two words: New York, New York. Moving up the scale this week, I present a song that would appear to be built on a few more words: we’re going for 8. Who knows who came up with the phrase “Let the good times roll”? Who knows who added “Come on baby” to the mix? A 1950s duo called Shirley and Lee are credited with a song that includes these 8 words back in ’56. Numerous others have used bits and pieces of it. However, it seems to me that none can claim to have transformed it the way Jimi did on Electric Ladyland. You tell me, is it the same stuff?

blog comments powered by Disqus