Saturday, March 24, 2007

When Black is Burned

When I was 2 years old, (about) Neil Young recorded a very pretty song with Buffalo Springfield called "I Am a Child." I've always enjoyed the song, as well as a lot of Neil from the late 60s and early 70s in his many performance incarnations.

But something really weird happened to me while listening on the way to work yesterday. XM radio was playing Live at Massey Hall in its entirety. It was recorded in 1971, and it is allegedly the greatest performance this man ever gave, hands down. Why they waited this long to release it is beyond me. But that is beside the fact.

"I Am A Child" is one of the songs on the release. For over 30 years, I've been singing the wrong lyrics.

The line "What is the color when black is burned?" never came through to my ears. I don't know why. But yesterday, in the car, at 80mph zooming down I-95 on the way to work it rang through clear as a bell. A bell that rang in 1968 and finally reached my ears today in 2007.

For a second I was surprised. I actually laughed at myself, because I don't know WHAT I was hearing, but it sure as hell wasn't that! I was hearing "What is the color when black is brown?" and I honestly thought he was singing about racial issues. It was the time in American History when songwriters were exploring such things. And I always thought that it was a very sweet, innocent exploration into a child discovering interesting things about skin color... and asking the man (his dad I guess) to teach him more.

Instead, it is a line about what happens to the color black when it is made blacker. How is it possible for black, not the skin, but the shade itself, to become blacker.

And immediately I started laughing because I thought of "Spinal Tap" when they examine the cover of their new Black Album. Nigel Tufnel observes: "It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black."

The color when black is burned is none more black. I guess.

And that is your deconstruction of pop culture for today. I hope you enjoyed it. And I also hope you recognize that yes, I am a certifiable dumbass.

If you would like to share your favorite musical misheard lyrics in the comments here, feel free. Otherwise, go visit the archive of misheard lyrics, "Kiss this guy" for some more really fun blunders in auditory interpretations. Extra points if you know where the website gets its title from. And of course, I have wonderfully astute readers who know without having to look it up at all.

Not much going on today. I think we're going to the pet store in a little while, and then at about 6:30 I'm heading into Cambridge to MIT to watch the ICCA Semifinal at MIT Amy will be there, and she invited us to join. So I'm bringing Jess and a friend to go see the throw down at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. Join us if you're interested.

I guess that is about it. I just looked out the window and saw Geoff riding his bike down the street. I have to raise his seat and his handlebars because he grew so much over the winter. Jeeesh. I hope they both have room for raising, because I don't feel like buying him a new bike.. It would be a good investment, because Lord knows the boy likes to ride as much as possible.

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