You Whippersnappers Know Nothing of Remixes

27 04 2010

My post earlier today on Taylor Swift got me thinking about spooky tunes. One of the first things that jumped to mind was “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.” I’d credit it to a composer, but it’s kind of a team effort (more on that later). The song is catchy and childlike, but still sinister and slightly threatening. If ever had to direct one of those “Character walks down a dark hallway while unnerving music plays from an unknown source,” scenes in a scary movie, this would be my song of choice. Seriously, listen to the whole tune, and imagine creeping down the corridors of an abandoned house. Brown trousers time.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: people have been remixing stuff since before the word remix existed. “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” is a pretty righteous example. As noted on Wikipedia, one of the main themes in the song is reminiscent of Robert Browne Hall’s “Death or Glory,” published in 1895. 12 years afterwards, the music for “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” was written by John Walter Bratton. In 1932, Jimmy Kennedy added lyrics.

The tune’s been used in countless movies and TV shows, and has been incorporated into many original songs. The BBC used the 1932 Henry Hall recording (the one embedded above, natch!) of “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” to calibrate audio equipment for over 30 years, because of the recording’s high quality and wide tonal range.

So essentially, if the remix had never been invented, we would not exist in a world with “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.” We’d only have “Death or Glory.” And even if we did have “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic,” we wouldn’t have the lyrics, so we probably wouldn’t have the iconic 1932 version that cemented the song in the public consciousness. That means there would have to be a different song playing in the background as Bugs Bunny or Buster Keaton capered for enthralled audiences. Bart Simpson would have had to sing a different song in Season Three, Episode Eleven of the Simpsons. And we would be in a world without Hevy Devy’s “Satan’s Ice Cream Truck.” If “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” had been the sole work of one person, it either A) Wouldn’t exist or B) Wouldn’t have such a rich history and wide social impact.

And that’s why copyright law is ruining America. Eat me, RIAA. The End.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: