We talked about ‘covers’. Brian Hyland had a hit with his 1962 cover of the Four Tops original song, “Sealed with a Kiss” that you all seem to remember and love. But it took Gary Lewis and the Playboys (who could barely sing and play professionally) to make a hit out of HYLAND’s original rendition of “Save your heart for me”, and this wasn’t a one time thingie because Gary Lewis and the Playboys also covered Sam Ambroise’s “This Diamond Ring” and turned it into a hit (and perhaps not a bad song either – although/because it reminded you of the Beatles, the Kinks, the Shadows, and reminded me of “Sukiyaki”. Sinatra was a great singer, he recorded over 700 songs, and only a few dozen are remembered widely today.
We talked about whether you can predict a song’s success and talked about Noah Askin’s TEDx presentation analyzing tens of thousands of songs with a proprietary algorithm. The conclusions were somewhat predictable – that hits are similar to other hits of the time, but with a little something different and special. Hey, isn’t that the same as practically ANYTHING? And what do you need to correct that something special? And once you’ve created it, isn’t it easy as pie to analyze it, to copy it, to reproduce it, etc. Oh, and he also discussed the importance of DANCEABILITY – hey, we talked about that too (and we’ll talk more about it today). Of course danceability wouldn’t explain the immortality of ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ or even ‘Over the Rainbow’ (the greatest popular song of the last century, and it’s not only me saying so). So maybe it’s rhythm? Fingersnappingness and foottappingness?
We talked a lot about whether we can completely analyze a song and its popularity (or any art form for that matter). More importantly perhaps, to what extent does understanding each ‘atomic element’ of a song (or piece of art) help you enjoy it? Is enjoyment of no consequence in an academic setting? Or perhaps you need a bit of both. Have a look at the song opposite. Can you analyze a relationship rationally?