Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No Nonsense

Hey diddly high diddly high dee high dee hoooooooo.

Sha na na na na sha na na na na.


I happened to notice the other day, for no particular reason, that in all of my song writing, I don’t think I have ever used nonsense syllables. I have written a lot of songs over the years. I couldn’t even tell you how many anymore. But, for some reason, I have not engaged in the common practice of nonsense syllables. I have never zip a dee doo dah’d. I have never bop sha bop’d or sh’boom’d on one of my songs.

Could there be something wrong with me?

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with nonsense syllables. Where would Doo Wop have been without the Doo or the Wop? The Beatles would have never koo koo ka choo’d. The Beach Boys would have had a lot less to say in the parking lot. And I don’t know how many singers and song writers still na na na and la la la their way through song after song.

But these things are conspicuously absent from my music, and I don’t know why. I have no idea. And I had not noticed until recently that it was the case. And I don’t know what to think about it. So I thought I’d just share it here, because what else do you do with such observations?

It all makes me wonder, who really did put the dip in the dip da dip da dip? Perhaps they could tutor me or something.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2010


  1. That's why I'm runnin'
    Running away, yea, yea, yea...

    There's three "yea" references that are pretty close to nonsense syllables to me. If I had a better memory I'd think of more. I think I just had a "Eureka" moment.

  2. I might give you that one, but technically speaking yea and yeah are both forms of yes, which has a sense of sense distinct from words like skiddleebopshoowopshoodoobydoo, which have no sense, but certainly make you feel better when you say them.

  3. I think a nonsense classic is "The Jungle" by ELO, which has the following Chorus:

    Chooka chooka hoo la ley
    Looka looka koo la ley

    I must admit, though, that it's possible these also are not nonsense lyrics, since they (according to the song) are actual animal words which the song fortunately translates for us as "Wondrous is our great blue ship that sails around the mighty sun and joy to everyone that rides along!"

  4. "Animal words." Now that's nonsense. Next thing you know, Jeff Lynne will be producing a bunch of other acts into sounding just like ELO. Wait. He already did that didn't he?

  5. Made me think of a funny scene in the movie "Peggy Sue Got Married". She writes down the lyrics to "She Loves You" for Nicholas Cage to claim as his own, so he can get his singing career going. Later he says, "I took a look at those lyrics you gave me - they're pretty good, but I think if we change the 'yeah yeah yeahs' to 'ooh ooh oohs', it'll be better."

  6. I remember that scene! That was great. And, the thing is, I get his logic. It really does make more sense on paper to carry the ooh phoneme forward instead of the abrupt change to yeah. But that's what made the Beatles the Beatles. Everyone else would have done an ooh. But they somehow knew to do the yeah.


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