The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

17 April 2005

Mah-na mah-na

Or, as it reads on the label of the 45 (Ariel 500): MÁH-NÁ-MAH-NÁ.

Questionable accents aigu aside, Donna is tickled to note that this tune, popularized by various Muppets, originated as part of the soundtrack to a "Swedish porno." Well, it's kind of soft-core, or so I'm told, but there's still some amusement value in the repurposing, as it were, of the material; it's not quite like, say, Disney coming up with a cartoon version of Lady Chatterley's Lover (imagine, if you will, Donald Duck sputtering about John Thomas), but it's still giggle-worthy.

For a recording that made only #55 in Billboard, this is one wildly-popular tune, and I went through the charts looking for other songs peaking at #55 that might have had similar, or any, impact. To my surprise, I found quite a few worth mentioning:

"Goldfinger," Billy Strange and His Orchestra (GNP Crescendo 334, 1965)
"Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl," The Barbarians (Laurie 3308, 1965)
"Solitary Man," Neil Diamond (Bang 519, 1966) *
"You're Gonna Miss Me," The 13th Floor Elevators (International Artists 107, 1966)
"Let's Spend the Night Together," The Rolling Stones (London 904, 1967) **
"Foggy Mountain Breakdown," Flatt & Scruggs (Columbia 44380/Mercury 72739, 1968) ***
"Someday Soon," Judy Collins (Elektra 45649, 1969)
"Oh Well," Fleetwood Mac (Reprise 0883, 1970)
"Cinnamon Girl," Neil Young & Crazy Horse (Reprise 0911, 1970)
"She Don't Use Jelly," The Flaming Lips (Warner Bros. 41102, 1994)

Surely there's a lesson to be learned from this.

* Reissued and slightly reedited in 1970, charted at #21.

** B-side of "Ruby Tuesday," which made #1.

*** The Columbia version was a remake, done for the film Bonnie and Clyde; the Mercury release was a reissue of the 1949 original.

Posted at 9:31 AM to Tongue and Groove