Previously, I wrote about the poignancy of song lyrics and how they can express something that touches you way down in the nether regions of your soul. Then there are lyrics that are simply fun.
Some of the most fun lyrics make no sense at all! As much as I love language, I also have a fondness for songs with nonsense syllables that are merely enjoyable to sing. This is different from scat – which is using syllables to mimic the sounds of instruments (Sammy Davis Jr. and Ella Fitzgerald were masters of scat).
What I’m talking about here is the world of shoo-bop and sha-na-na. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was often called doo-wop music. I looked for examples of particularly enjoyable ones and decided to share these more light-hearted lyrics for this Amaze-ing Words Wednesday. Enjoy the music, but see if you like the way the lyricists used nonsense words as well.
Sh-Boom by the Chords. The second verse is a perfect example in this song.
Witch Doctor by David Seville. With this 1958 song, Seville’s speeded-up voice in the chorus of “oo-ee, oo-ah-ah, ting-tang, walla-walla, bing-bang” created the Chipmunks.
Blue Moon by the Marcels. The opening and background vocals of the Marcels’ version of “Blue Moon” are fabulous. Their nonsense lyrics really give this song zip!
Do Da Ron Ron by the Crystals. Okay, this is the version I included because it’s the original. But I grew up hearing the Shawn Cassidy’s rendition. (By the way, is it my imagination or did Shawn have Justin Bieber’s hair first?)
We Go Together by the cast of Grease. Who doesn’t love the Grease soundtrack? And this final song in the movie put together a great combination of nonsense syllables that will always go together – like Danny Zucko and Sandra Dee.
Rubber Biscuit by the Blues Brothers. The Blues Brothers were never meant to be taken seriously, and this song proves it. But Dan Akroyd’s syllabic stylings are brilliant!
De do do do, De dad a da by the Police. Sting writes profound lyrics for many of his songs, but this time he admitted that he got tongue-tied in love and hoped the do’s and da’s would convey what he felt.
Bad Romance by On the Rocks. Yes, I know that Lady Gaga’s version is the definitive one, but if you haven’t seen the version by On the Rocks, the University of Oregon’s men’s acapella chorus, check it out. The opening lyrics of “ro-ma, ro-ma-ma” mean nothing to me, but they are a nice nonsense addition to the song.
Sometimes we don’t need actual words to communicate our feelings of longing or merely a sense of fun. These songs make me smile.
What are some of your favorite nonsense syllable songs? Do you enjoy music like this?