On Paul McCartney's birthday today, listen to Tammy Wynette cover "Yesterday"

Sir Paul McCartney turns 77 today. To celebrate, enjoy this lovely cover of "Yesterday" as recorded by country music superstar Tammy Wynette in 1968.

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Lead Belly sings about Mr. Hitler (1942)

My favorite blues singer Huddie William Ledbetter (1888-1949), aka Lead Belly, sung about traditional blues topics like relationships, prison, and poverty, but he also wrote about current events and newsmakers of the day, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jean Harlow to the Scottsboro Boys. In 1942, Lead Belly wrote this tune, "Mr. Hitler." Here are the lyrics:

Hiltler started out in 1932 Hiltler started out in 1932 When he started out, he took the homes from the Jews

We're gonna tear Hitler down We're gonna tear Hitler down We're gonna tear Hitler down someday. We're gonna bring him to the ground We're gonna bring him to the ground We're gonna bring him to the ground someday.

When Hitler started out, he took the Jews from their homes When Hitler started out, he took the Jews from their homes That's one thing Mr. Hitler you know you done wrong.

We're gonna tear Hitler down We're gonna tear Hitler down We're gonna tear Hitler down someday. We're gonna bring him to the ground We're gonna bring him to the ground We're gonna bring him to the ground someday.

You ain't no iron, you ain't no solid rock You ain't no iron, you ain't no solid rock but we American people say "Mr. Hitler you is got to stop!"

We're gonna tear Hitler down We're gonna tear Hitler down We're gonna tear Hitler down someday. We're gonna bring him to the ground We're gonna bring him to the ground We're gonna bring him to the ground someday.

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"Happy Furry Monsters" and other Sesame Street parody mashup songs

Sesame Street is turning 50 years in November. As part of the yearlong celebration, they've posted this fun compilation of well-known musicians parodying their own songs over the years. (I'm actually ok with not being able toget REM's "Happy Furry Monsters" out of my head because it's adorable.)

A YouTube commenter listed all the musical artists with their Sesame Street-ed song:

* 1973 - Stevie Wonder | Superstition (0:00) * 1978 - Paul Simon | Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard (5:09) * 1979 - Ray Charles | I Got a Song (1:40) * 1984 - James Taylor | That Grouchy Face (3:41) * 1988 - Smokey Robinson | U Really Got a Hold on Me (4:02) * 1988 - Billy Joel | Just the Way You Are (0:38) * 1988 - Marlee Matlin | Just the Way You Are (0:38) * 1996 - Melissa Etheridge | Like the Way U Does (4:15) * 1996 - Spin Doctors | Two Princes (1:15) * 1998 - Tony Bennett | Slimey to the Moon (2:48) * 1999 - REM | Furry Happy Monsters (1:24) * 2000 - Hootie & the Blowfish | Hold My Hand (2:01) * 2000 - The Goo Goo Dolls | Pride (1:05) * 2002 - Dixie Chicks - No Letter Better Than B (2:20) * 2003 - Sheryl Crow | I Soaks Up the Sun (1:48) * 2004 - Norah Jones | Don't Know Y (0:18) * 2005 - Andrea Bocelli | Time to Say Goodnight (2:27) * 2007 - James Blunt | My Triangle (5:00) * 2008 - Feist | 1234 (3:00) * 2009 - Jason Mraz | Outdoors (4:47) * 2011 - Elvis Costello | (A Monster Went and) Ate My Red Two (3:27) * 2012 - Train | Five By (3:11) * 2015 - One Direction | What Makes "U" Useful (4:31) * 2015 - Macklemore | Grouch Thrift Shop (3:53)

Just try and tell me that didn't make you smile, even a little. Read the rest

Update: "The Electric Slide" is *not* about a vibrator, according to songwriter

[UPDATE 7:20pm PT: Snopes reports that Electric Slide's songwriter "Bunny Wailer" Livingston denies that the song was about a vibrator. "Although many shared this rumor as if it were a fact, this claim is based on little more than an interpretation of the song’s lyrics...As this rumor picked up steam, Aazios.com published an article reporting that the song’s writer, Neville “Bunny Wailer” Livingston, had confirmed the subtext of its lyrics...This is not a reliable story; the alleged “confirmation” comes from an anonymous third party, despite what the site said in the article’s title."]

The line dance song that's popular at celebrations like weddings and bat/bar mitzvahs is about a SEX TOY. LGBTQ news and entertainment site Aazios is reporting that Neville Livingston aka Bunny Wailer, the songwriter behind "Electric Boogie" (the song also known as "The Electric Slide") has confirmed rumors that it's about a vibrator:

Rumors of the songs meaning began circulating on social media a few weeks ago and everyone has been desperate for answers. According to a source close to Livingston, word of the question about the origins of the song reached him in Kingston, Jamaica where he currently resides and he put the rumors to rest. "I'm surprised it took people this long to figure out" the source tells us he said. Apparently Livingston wrote the song after a girlfriend told him she didn't need him because she had a toy she nicknamed the "electric slide"

Here's a taste of those naughty lyrics:

It's Electric!

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Watch Shingle Jingle, the best way to experience shingles

Brian David Gilbert is the anxiety-laden voice of a generation in Shingle Jingle, the most upbeat song ever written about suffering from shingles outbreaks. Read the rest

Here's the catchiest ode to breakfast burritos in human history

Yum Yum Breakfast Burrito, a delightful earworm by Parry Gripp, will make you want to do one of three things: dance, eat a breakfast burrito, or try to forget that you ever clicked the play button. Read the rest

"I Caught a Snowflake," by Gina Borys

My friend Gina Borys has released a delightful, old fashioned Christmas song on iTunes, called "I Caught a Snowflake." We've added to our holiday music playlist.

Here's a snippet: Read the rest

More songs' emotional moods inverted with key changes

The Week catches up on a few years' worth of "minor to major" edits to well-known sad or dark songs, upsetting the mood to happy or humorous effect. Embedded here is The Godfather theme, which when modified sounds rather like the theme tune to the arcadian British show Last of the Summer Wine, about old Yorkshiremen enjoying their endless retirements.

Someone should make that sound tragic and sinister instead, a sort of "Last of the Middlesborough Vodka."

Also:

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Are pop lyrics getting more repetitive? (hint: yes)

Colin Morris at The Pudding analyzed the repetitiveness of a dataset of 15,000 songs that charted on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1958 and 2017. It's true: pop music lyrics are increasingly repetitive. Read the rest

Wha Oh! Wha Oh! That thing you hear in every other pop song is the Millennial Whoop

The Patterning's Patrick Metzger reports on the increasing prevalence of a repeating two-note motif in pop music, bouncing between the fifth and third notes of a major chord. The Millenial Whoop is everywhere. Read the rest

Britain's fabulous Brexit song is even better than the Trump Girls Freedom song

Britain is to hold a referendum on leaving the European Union, and the "Brexit" group—largely represented by the country's nativist UKIP party—have a fabulous music video to promote their cause.

Based upon a more charmingly patriotic soccer song by Lightning Seeds, with comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel, the new version is genuinely transfixing. It's hard to tell if it's a parody or not; the original artists write that they laughed like drains when they watched it.

They want our prisoners to vote They’ve taken all our fish. And money Through the years There’s endless regulation, red tape It seems there’s no escape Till the leave vote takes shape.

UKIP ("U.K. Independence") is often said to tap into the same currents of anger and despair as Donald Trump. Here, for comparison, are the "Trump Girls"…

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Watch a musician play Bach's "Air on the G String" on actual g-string underwear

Crafty and eccentric YouTube musician Andrew Huang enjoys performing classical compositions on weird objects. Read the rest

Funky Friday: “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” Elvin Bishop, 1976

A seventies country cock-rocker soft-bluesy ballad that you may know best from the soundtrack for the movies “Boogie Nights,” or “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Lock it Down: A song for Creative Commons, by Jonathan “Song a Day” Mann

From the world's most prolific internet songwriter.

Get the new Wilco album 'Star Wars' for free

In case you missed it, Wilco is offering its ninth album Star Wars free on iTunes and Amazon for a limited time. Read the rest

A splendid little secular Christmas carol

I just discovered Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun". I'm sure a lot of you have heard this before, but it's a lovely Christmas song and, frankly, the first Christmas song to actually make me cry. Especially that last verse. For a new parent, it's an emotional doozy. Really, overall, just a great song for people who aren't religious, but enjoy a religious holiday for the cultural traditions and the time it allows you to spend with people you love. (Even though, personally, I'd rather have dinner with Desmond Tutu than Richard Dawkins.) Read the rest

Why music makes us all verklempt (or angry, or wistful, or ...)

It could just be cultural connections that make us identify one song as happy and another as sad. But, explains Joe Hanson, there's evidence that our emotional connections to music are more universal than that.

In this video about evolution, music, and smooshy feelings, Hanson describes a study that asked participants to create short lines of music that matched specific emotions. The results were surprisingly similar, whether the participants were Americans, or people from an isolated village in Cambodia. Read the rest

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