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Old 12-19-2007, 08:48 PM   #1
deadbeater
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Great song characters

Music, like literature, is full of great characters. One that comes to mind is the tragedy of 'Minnie the Moocher' by Cab Calloway, which depicts in great detail, in three minutes no less, the false joy, decline and ultimate fall of Minnie in such a way that very few movies can duplicate.

Another two great characters are in one song: 'Jack and Diane', immortalized by John Cougar Mellencamp. It depicts two teens enjoying each other' company for perhaps the last time before they graduate and grow up.

Can you provide other great characters in song?
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:31 PM   #2
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Billy Joe & Bobby Sue - Steve Miller Band. Two young lovers with nothin better to do - stole some cash got chased by the cops and..... well listen to the song wouldja? Oh thats right - don't forget Billy Mack - He's a detective in Texas
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:35 PM   #3
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One of my favorites is probably "Lady Madonna" by the Beatles -- a struggling mom with several kids just trying to keep it together.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:40 PM   #4
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"My name is Sue! how do you do! Now you gonna die!"
Yeah that's what I told him.

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes,
And he went down but to my surprise,
Came up with a knife an' cut off a piece o' my ear.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:48 PM   #5
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Steely Dan featured many great "song characters" ... and now the thread drift:

This relates somewhat to a pet peeve of mine, regarding the way musical lyrics are recieved. When a novelist writes about being a a serial killer, people understand that it is fiction; but if a singer sings about being a serial killer, people go "holy shit, this guy is a serial killer!" or "this guy advocates serial killers!" etc.

The musical artist is percieved as delivering a more personal message, while the artists of other mediums are understood to be describing fictional people and events, in order to get a metaphorical point across. If you don't believe me, watch this video of Frank Zappa on Crossfire (1986), debating against censorship of rock music.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:54 PM   #6
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Hi! My Name Is
(huh?)
My Name Is
(what?)
My Name Is
(tika tika)
Slim Shady!

I'm not ready to leave, it's too scary to die (Fuck that!)
I'll have to be carried inside the cemetery and buried alive (Huh yup!)
Am I coming or going? I can barely decide
I just drank a fifth of vodka -- dare me to drive? (Go ahead)
All my life I was very deprived
I ain't had a woman in years, and my palms are too hairy to hide (Whoops!)
Clothes ripped like the Incredible Hulk (hachhh-too)
I spit when I talk, I'll fuck anything that walks (C'mere)
When I was little I used to get so hungry I would throw fits
HOW YOU GONNA BREAST FEED ME MOM? (WAH!)
YOU AIN'T GOT NO TITS! (WAHHH!)
I lay awake and strap myself in the bed
Put a bulletproof vest on and shoot myself in the head (BANG!)
I'm steaming mad (Arrrggghhh!)
And by the way when you see my dad? (Yeah?)
Tell him that I slit his throat, in this dream I had
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:08 PM   #7
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Rocky Racoon went back to his room......


She's a Killer....Queen.....( do they have to have names? )
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:14 PM   #8
Flint
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
My Name Is
(tika tika)
Slim Shady!
Quote:
They said I can't rap about bein' broke no more.
They say I can't rap about coke no more.
(AHHH!) Slut, you think I won't choke no whore
'till the vocal chords don't work in her throat no more?!
(AHHH!) These motherfuckers are thinkin' I'm playin'
Thinkin' I'm sayin' this shit cuz I'm thinkin' it just to be sayin' it...
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There's a level of facility that everyone needs to accomplish, and from there
it's a matter of deciding for yourself how important ultra-facility is to your
expression. ... I found, like Joseph Campbell said, if you just follow whatever
gives you a little joy or excitement or awe, then you're on the right track.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Terry Bozzio
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:23 PM   #9
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Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.

Mack the Knife

and who could ever forget the Monkees' classics ... Auntie Griselda, Vallerei, and Daydream Believer.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:47 PM   #10
deadbeater
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Good examples so far.

Here's another: "Luka". No, not about the short-lived heavy from The Godfather-- that's Luca--but the abused child who lives 'on the second floor'.

Perhaps the reason that people responds to 'Folsom Prison Blues' more viscerally than, say, John Carpenter's 'Halloween' is that the story hits way too close to home.

Last edited by deadbeater; 12-19-2007 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:25 AM   #11
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Levon
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:28 AM   #12
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Well 'ole south side of Chicago
Is the baddest part of town
And if you go down there
You better just beware
Of a man name of Leroy Brown

Now Leroy more than trouble
You see he stand about six foot four
All those downtown ladies call him "Treetop Lover"
All the mens just call him "Sir"

And he's bad, bad Leroy Brown
Baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than a-old King Kong
Meaner than a junkyard dog
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:56 AM   #13
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Ziggy Stardust!

Hurricane is great except it's about a REAL person...
Bowie's Sweet Thing Suite from Diamond Dogs paints a great dystopian setting but lacks actual characters.
Of course, The Wall album does a great job, besides the pseudo-autobiographical aspect which i assume doesnt count
Don't forget Desperado!
As much as I hate Green Day, they do a good job with characters on American Idiot.
Tear Me Down, from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
The whole cast of Walk on the Wild Side
Mika's Billy Brown
Sweet sweet little Ramona!
The girl... well you know what kinda eyes she got.
Meet Virginia by Train...
the couple from 10cc's Don't Hang Up

aaaand I think I'm done
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:17 AM   #14
Shawnee123
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Rhiannon, of course!

Great thread idea, btw.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:31 AM   #15
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Mr. Bojangles

no, not the restaurant chain.
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