It started with this advert.
I believe in the power of adverts and there has to be a reason why so much money is pumped into thirty seconds of television. I so believe in the power of adverts that I’m only too aware of what it will do at a vulnerable point in anyone’s psyche. So there was this advert. It was for Sky’s HD box I believe, which they’re giving away free. (See! Told you the power of adverts, not that I’m getting it, more than happy with the Sky Plus box and the relatively wide screen television the wife desired. Sky Plus box, rocks, now I need never suffer the ads for long again!)
So obviously as a piece of marketing to sweeten the deal the advert bombards us with a range of images that we are meant to receive as the promise of greater, richer technicolour than we have ever seen before. Speaking in complete ignorance of the concept, I’m of the impression HD transforms your viewing life forever and nothing will ever be the same again as you come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.
And it’s funny I should mention that line as that was the tune from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie. Now I had a feeling it was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but I wasn’t quite sure, so I googled the lyric and lo and behold my suspicions were confirmed. From there a whole world of musical fun opened up and where else am I going to celebrate that than right here? (That’s a rhetorical question, I’m sure funny people might point out the merits of sharing it with family and friends in person rather than just blogging it, but this here blogging business gets it done one time. Simples.) You need to check out how I’ve loved this movie in this post on the Oompah Loompa’s and their remix.
So we check out the original and Gene Wilder never pretended to be a singer, but he is wonderful in singing this song. I really love the rendition. I love the characterisation he gave to Willy Wonka and the way he sings the song just fits that character perfectly. And the deal about the song is that it fits in with that whole brain-teasing feel of the whole film. It psychedelic, but it’s not psychedelic, it’s on a trip and it’s not on a trip all at the same time. That’s so much fun and a bit eery as well, but you’re not meant to be completely safe in a Roald Dahl book are you? Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, who apparently wrote the song, put some style in this to make it so memorable.
When you check the amount of cover versions there has been, it suggests there is something that others have admired also. I could get deep on the lyrics, but why spoil the enjoyment … at the moment.
So from that eerie other-worldly film original version the Smoking Popes just go out and rock it almost REM style. I can see the indie kids digging this version and that’s fine, indie kids are people as well deep down within, and it shows their appreciation for the song that the Popes are relatively close to the original as possible and evidently it’s not about taking people on trip through their imagination, but putting together a faithful tribute to a great song. Fair enough.
From the rocking indie scene to the balladeer easy (no not cheesy … necessarily) listening music and the king of that has to be this man Johnny Mathis. I like this simple stripped down vocal and Mathis invests this song with a whimsy that is more about reaching your heart than your mind. He’s a good singer is Mathis and the simple approach with the piano gives you a pleading earnest ballad approach to things that leaves you with a smile on your face at such a touching tribute.
Just to show how versatile this song is, you go from rocking the indie kids to balladeering the older folks (or those of a younger age who stay in the closet when it comes to appreciating music older than they are). Just when you thought you heard it all out comes this trance version of the track! I mean that’s just whack. Is it important to know who the Psychonauts? No. All that matters is that this group have put together a truly unique and gripping version of the classic. It fits its genre of trance, although I’d love to see people tripping out in Ibiza at 2am to this track. (You know what I mean, tens and hundreds of 20’s and 30’s and illegit teens jumping up and down chanting ‘Go – Go – Go’ etc. With their sticks of significant luminosity of course. And drink of relevant beverage to keep them refreshed.) I think it’s cool – the song, that is not necessarily the Ibiza trip. Good stuff.
And that’s not even the best of it because … well just wait until the next post! Enjoy.