Today’s mystery earworm: ‘Misty’

This one had me going for more than an hour this morning, and I feel great relief that I finally got to the bottom of it.

I heard the song as a jazz instrumental on the Muzak system at the Cap City Club at breakfast this morning, during a lull in the conversations going on around me. I knew it was an old standard (meaning, from before my time), one that was as familiar as my own heartbeat, but could… not… place it!

Trying to sing along in my mind, I thought the lyric at one point said something about “puppy on a string.”

But that couldn’t be right, could it? Obviously, it would have to be the cliche, “puppet on a string.” Unless, of course, it was a play on the cliche, but I doubted it was. So I started searching on my phone for songs with lyrics containing the phrase, and had trouble getting past the song of that name. Actually, there’s more than one song by that name, although I don’t think I ever heard this one, I’m happy to say.

Then I decided that the last words in the verse were “so much in love.” (Those words turned out to be “holding your hand,” but my words would have worked there just as well, evoking much the same feeling.)

Of course, that produced this. Great pop song, but definitely not what I was seeking.mv5bmtizmtmzotg5n15bml5banbnxkftztcwotc0nzyymq-_v1_uy268_cr40182268_al_

So I gave up trying to figure it out detective-fashion (Tom Sawyer would be ashamed of me) and decided to close my office door and hum it into the SoundHound app on my phone. Since I couldn’t remember the crucial first three notes (“Look at me” in the lyrics), SoundHound wasn’t at all sure what I was humming, but it suggested that maybe, just maybe, I was trying to hum “Misty.”

YES! Finally, I can turn to other things and get on with my day.

Oh, and by the way, the lyric I remembered as “puppy on a string” was “kitten up a tree.” But you can see the association, right? Please say “yes.” Anyway, “puppy” was definitely closer than “puppet.”

That was a toughie…

6 thoughts on “Today’s mystery earworm: ‘Misty’

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Dang. I was hoping to get a discussion going on something other than Trump. I figured people would share their latest songs they couldn’t get out of heads, or make observations about jazz, or word associations, or Clint Eastwood. Didn’t work…

    Speaking of Clint, I saw some of “Gran Torino” again on TV over the weekend. First time in a while I’ve started watching an actual movie on broadcast TV — Channel 47, I think it was.

    That movie is so awesome…

  2. Norm Ivey

    I’ll bite on the earworm. 16 Tons has always been a favorite, and I couldn’t get the Johnny Cash version out of my head last weekend. Rather than battle it, I embraced it and put together a playlist of nothing but different versions of the same song. After the Cash and Tennessee Ernie classics, there are some remarkable versions. The Platters, Eric Burden, Bo Diddley and LeAnn Rimes all have nice covers. In assembling the list, I learned that the song is credited to Merle Travis, but was probably actually written by George S. Davis back in the 30s. His version is available on Google Play and differs from most of the others. My favorite version, though is the Spanish version by Noriel Vilela used in the Heineken commercial.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      All right! “Sixteen tons!” That song looms large in my legend, as one of my very first musical memories.

      Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded that in 1955, the year I turned 2. There’s something deeply profound in the sound of it that really got to me as a toddler.

      OK, new Top Five list! Top Five Songs I Loved as a Toddler:

      1. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”
      2. “The Ballad of Davy Crockett”
      3. “Anchors Aweigh” (Remember, my Dad was in the Navy)
      4. “The Marine Hymn” (But I wanted to be a Marine)
      5. “Hound Dog”
      6. “Sixteen Tons”

      OK, so that was six instead of five. I did just have five, but then I remembered “Davy Crockett,” and I wanted to keep “Sixteen Tons” on the list. I also remember being impressed by “Volare,” but I never tried to sing it. I sang the ones on this list regularly.

      Somewhere there is 8mm footage of me with a toy guitar singing “Hound Dog” in front of the duplex we lived in in Shandon when my Dad was stationed here on recruiting duty. Or maybe it was “Blue Suede Shoes,” another that could have made the list. If I can find it, I’ll post it.

      Could I have a more stereotypical, all-American, Mom-and-apple-pie list than that? But my life was like that. It was the ’50s.

      This is the kind of list a guy who’s running for public office would make up to get voters to think he’s a red-blooded American through and through. But these really were my faves…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Oops, I forgot about Sunday School songs — “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”

        I also sang “Yankee Doodle” quite a bit, I think. And probably “Dixie” as well.

        I also sang “London Bridge,” but I sang it as “Underbritches.” As in, “Underbritches falling down, falling down, falling down…”

      2. Norm Ivey

        I won’t tackle this one. I was deprived of radio pop music as a child, and the songs I sang were deep cuts off Ed Ames And Sonny James albums. True Love’s a Blessing is a great tune, but few people know it.

    2. Jim Cross

      If you want to get rid of an earworm, chew gum. It interferes with short-term memory which plays a part in creating earworms. A puzzle book will work, too. 🙂

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