Friday, August 18, 2006

Septennial Song

Jerry Scott, the indefatigable pianist at one of my watering holes, Danny's Grand Sea Palace, will be celebrating his seventh anniversary at that joint on September 9, so I thought a tribute would be in order. To the tune of Berlin's Dancing Cheek to Cheek, which by now I've parodied ten times, I reckon. I don't know why it tempts me so, but it does.

One reason might be that it presents certain features of interest that pose challenges that I seldom manage to overcome. Take the phrase, cheek to cheek: it's not easy to replicate that. Although one could sit and think of plenty of congruent phrases, like neck and neck, house to house, shore to shore, and so on, once you choose a phrase you no longer have control of the subject. Conversely, if you have a ripe subject, you rather paint yourself into a corner as far as finding a suitable phrase is concerned. The phrase chosen—or, more accurately, jerry-rigged—in the following ditty leaves much to be desired. But I'm stuck with it, I suppose. All I can say about the final version of the tagline is, you should have seen the drafts.

Another feature of interest is the last third of the bridge, which offers rich dramatic possibilities, if one can construct a four-syllable rhyme. This time, the rhyme is not so hot from a semantic point of view, but I couldn't bring my self to excise Scott, m'boy,/You play one hell of a song, which fits the expression of the melody like a glove, to my ear, notwithstanding the shortness of the syllable Scott.

Finally, there's the challenge of finding enough rhymes for the tagline to fill a chorus without resorting to identities. And don't expect me to give you here a treatise on the distinction between rhyme and identity, or even a link. Google it, you lazy bums!

Now, the song:

It's been seven—
Seven awesome and extraordinary years
With a pianist who hasn't any peers!
Everybody, reinforce your cheers with "Cheers!"

Lucky seven!
(There's a thought to keep among his souvenirs!
And, in case it isn't music to his ears—
Everybody, reinforce your cheers with "Cheers!")

We could sit around and listen
To the music of the spheres,
But we'd rather hear Professor Scott
Another seven years.

We're supposed to watch a baby
Being bruised by Britney Spears;
But, instead, we'll watch Professor Scott
Another seven years.

—Scott, m'boy!
You play one hell of a song!
—The spell of a song
That swept us along

(Count 'em—seven)—
Seven seasons filled with gaiety and tears.
Thank the Lord, he chose the best of all careers!
Everybody, reinforce your cheers with "Cheers!"

Lyric © 2006 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov


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