As the parent of a newborn child, I’ve been singing a lot of songs to the little bub. During diaper changes, I am fond of “I’ve been workin’ on the railroad,” mostly because it’s long enough to last for the whole process. Except one thing bother me about the song: Nobody works on the railroad “just to pass the time away.” Seems to me that people worked on the railroad for a number of mostly miserable reasons. This reminded me of Fleetwood Mac‘s song, “Dreams”, which hinges on the completely erroneous notion that “thunder only happens when it’s raining.”
Another number that comes to mind is Rhett Miller‘s song, “Four Eyed Girl” (terrible video, but all I can find) in which he claims that NYC deli “Katz’s never closes.” But it isn’t open 24 hours, as anybody who has spent a late night in the East Village would’ve seen it shuttered, shattering dreams of midnight pastrami (uh…).
Here are The Posies with a cover of The Hollies’ tune, “King Midas In Reverse”:
“He’s King Midas with a curse, he’s King Midas in reverse.”
The idea of King Midas was that he thought it would be sweet if everything he touched to gold. “So Midas, king of Lydia, swelled at first with pride when he found he could transform everything he touched to gold: but when he beheld his food grow rigid and his drink harden into golden ice then he understood that this gift was a bane and in his loathing for gold cursed his prayer.” In this song, everything he touches “turns to dust,” the implication being that having your foot and drink turn to dust is worse than having them turn into gold. (Okay, I know it’s more metaphorical than that, but you probably get my point.)
What other tunes can you think of that contain factual or conceptual errors?