Billie Holiday’s invention of the phrase “Me, Myself & I” with the song of the same name in 1937, had led her at the time, quite undeservedly, to be described as “The Narcissist’s favourite chanteuse.” However the first person singular has, in recent and perhaps more egocentric times, become a popular and widespread opening to songs of all genres. From John Lennon reading the news today to Bob Marley shooting the sheriff (although I believe Bob was wildly exaggerating his tale of a lawman’s murder for dramatic effect) the opening of songs with “I this” or “I that” now hold the song appreciating public in thrall – and it is these very songs which will be our focus this week.
It is an oft forgotten fact, of course, that prior to Ms Holiday, all characters in songs were required, by international law, to have full names and titles – hence such lovable personalities as Mr Bojangles, Mrs Robinson and, of course, Major Tom. This law can be traced back as far as Charles II of England who passed it in order to make the loathsome ballad “Scarborough Fair” illegal. Although the trend in history is for formality to slowly and surely erode over time, I for one can’t help thinking that something has been lost here along the way, and I’m sure we could all agree that banning “Scarborough Fair” would be a welcome bonus.
In this episode Carl parades his ignorance of Whitney Houston’s back catalogue, Tim declares he’s “getting into the Monkees” and Bill finally admits that Bruce Springsteen is probably not writing songs for him.
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