Jul 012013


Greetings, fellow seekers of the wild, the weird, the wonderful, and the presumptively worthless! I come before you today with my usual slab of dusty vinyl scrounged from a flea market, featuring not just R&B third-stringers The Moments, but also their platooning labelmates, the Whatnauts! What could be better?

I’ll tell you what could be better: a full-on R&B conspiracy, featuring a mysterious man in purple who some around here love to hate.

Our story begins with the Moments and the Whatnauts, heard here collaborating on a great little chune called, simply, “Girls.” The groove is light and frothy, the melody pleasing, the sentiment positive and the singing tuneful, plus — what’s that I hear? A rare R&B deployment of a Mellotron! It’s a winner, and here it is for your enjoyment:

01 Girls-Part I

Up next, the villain in this case, one Prince Rogers Nelson, from his soundtrack LP “Under the Cherry Moon,” with one of my favorite Prince deep cutz, “Mountains”. As soon as I heard the Moments/Whatnauts number, I raced back to the stereo to play this track. Can you hear why?

08 Mountains

Have you twigged it yet? Here, this should help. First the opening chords to “Girls”:

01 Girls Opening segment, Whatnauts

Now, the opening chords to Prince’s “Mountains”:

01 Girls Opening segment, Prince

Let me make this even more plain. Whatnauts:

01 Girls Opening chords, Whatnauts


01 Girls Opening chords, Prince

And, for my coup de grace, the two segments, “stacked” on top of each other:

01 Girls Opening chords, Stacked

What I find remarkable about this coincidence is that both sets of chords are played, a.) in the same key; b.) at the same tempo; c.) with the same general timbre/voicing; and d.) as an introduction to their respective songs. Now, to be clear (lest Prince’s lawyers be listening in): I don’t really think Prince “stole” his intro to “Mountains” from “Girls.” But I do get a warm fuzzy glow thinking of the possibility that he knew about, and liked, that obscure track enough to pay it tribute at the height of his fame. It’s probably just a coincidence, but my job here is to titillate and tantalize as well as enlighten.

I look forward to your reponses.



  6 Responses to “Thrifty Music: Prince, J’accuse!”

  1. ladymisskirroyale

    Nice work, Detective HVB!

  2. cliff sovinsanity

    I can just picture Townsman HVB crying out “A-HA” while hunkered down in some Batcave-like lair running the two songs through a Batcomputer spitting out ticker tape from of the side of giant box with blinking lights.

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey, look what I found! A nice, tight, mostly live arrangement of “Girls.” No Whatnauts, though. Damn! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQYrE_pHRfs

  4. Amazing work from RTH Labs! Now you’ve planted another lead in my brain. There’s a song from my youth, I think a ’70s disco song, that also uses that exact opening. It’s killing me that I can’t figure out what song I’m thinking of, but it was some big smash hit, probably circa 1978.

  5. Not exactly the same, but I think “December 1963 (Oh What a Night),” by the Four Seasons, is what I am hearing:

    Is this a “natural” chord progression that a piano player might stumble over, the way there are chord progressions guitarists can’t help but fall into?

  6. you just blew my mind!

    now I’m off to listen to the rest of the album, I’ll see your Mountains and raise you a Sometimes it Snows in April

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