A Townsman told me recently that he couldn’t make it through the film Into the Wild due to the incidental music by Eddie Vedder. He swore it was the Vedder music alone running through the narrative that made him pop out the DVD. At first I was shocked, but then I thought, Well, I can see that. Those of us in the Halls of Rock could be expected to react more strongly to incidental music than “regular” people. How many times have you been in a public space and found the canned music that’s barely audible to most people overwhelming? I know I have. Have you ever had a moment like the one my friend told me about, when music that’s secondary or even tertiary to the event at hand overwhelmed your senses and spoiled whatever good may have been offered by the primary activity?
When I was traveling in Ireland some time ago I kept hearing Dr. Hook playing, in cafes and such. This was not the 1970s: it was the early 2000s. It was weird more than overwhelming, and as wretched and annoying as Dr. Hook was/is, I think I’d rather hear the vomit-inducing “Sexy Eyes” than anything by Eddie Vedder.
My first bar tending stint was at a bridge and tunnel crowd club in San Francisco. That job left me with the ability to just tune out bad music. It also was the first time I realized that all dance music was not evil per se.
It’s funny you should mention having developed this ability, cdm. The other day I was in an Old Navy and they played THE WORST modern dance pap. I wondered how the employees could stand it, and then I realized the staff was composed of nothing but chubby 19-year-old kids in too-tight t-shirts and jeans.
I’ve been to amusement parks with adult friends, and they always like to go to the showbars and stop and get a beer and get out of the sun for awhile. I’ll be okay with it so long as the show isn’t going on, but when they start singing those super wholesome versions of whatever horrid country songs are on the charts that summer. I really hate it and will beg my wife to help me talk our friends out of it. It wrecks my afternoon.
We go to a little diner now and then that has the funniest muzak. It’s mainly soft rock songs, done more softly and with really weird vocals. There’s a version of Walk on the Wild Side that’s almost Sinatra style, but the guy’s voice is way too deep and it just cracks me up. My wife has never noticed it, but they only play about 30 songs on their loop and I’ve heard it a few times. I tried to find it once, because I figured Mr. Mod should hear it, but I don’t know where it comes from.
You’ve set me on a mission of identifying this cover version, 2K. I found this one, by someone named Gerty Molzen. Supposedly this old woman performed it on Letterman, but I can’t find that clip on YouTube. Here’s the version she released on record: