Friday, May 11, 2007

Sympathy Ear For The Radio Nurse

I have what I think is kind of a cool idea for a website, but I doubt how much use it would be for people. I know it would sometimes really come in handy for me, at least.

Here's the void it would fill. Have you ever had a piece of a song, a melody in your head, but you didn't know where it was from? It's one thing if you have a scrap of lyrics that you can take to Google. But, what if you don't know any of the lyrics? What if the song doesn't have any lyrics?

There are already some services out there to help you. SongTapper purports to be able to identify a song simply by the rhythm you tap with your keyboard. 411-SONG and Tunatic have you feed them an actual sample of the song, where they will, through some matching algorithm and a giant database of music samples, determine the song you are trying to identify.

I tried SongTapper, but the songs I would have submitted weren't recognized (it got the Itchy and Scratchy theme from the Simpsons right off the bat, though). And, though I realize the benefits of being able to immediately identify a song as you're hearing it, I usually find myself in the situation where I am trying to identify a song I am remembering, rather than a song that I am hearing at the moment. In this kind of situation, I don't have a sound sample of the song to submit to anyone, I just have my own memory and warbly voice.

What I'd like to design and implement is a bulletin-board type website, where people can post sound files of themselves humming, whisting, etc., out a piece of a song, for purposes of having other people on the web help them identify it.

Would this be a useful service? Have you ever had a melody or song in your head and wished there was some way to identify it? Or does this just happen to me?

I actually went so far as to buy a domain name for this idea of mine. I thought I'd call the site "Sympathy Ear For The Radio Nurse", after seeing an Antiques Roadshow that showed the first baby monitor (the invention of which was prompted by the Lindbergh baby kidnapping). That was the name of the product. I am a sucker for the pithy phrase, I guess.

I think it would be quite a bit of work to develop this website, especially with all the ideas and snags that I am envisioning. I was thinking an alternative to this could be that this blog could serve this niche. I could post sound files from myself, and potentially others, for the purpose of soliciting identification.

I'll give you a few sound samples. Pardon my crappy renditions, but these are the kind of sound files I would realistically expect that would be submitted for identification.

I know the answers to 1-3, but only after someone told me after I sang/hummed them the part. I still don't know #4. PLEASE HELP ME IDENTIFY IT. I'll follow up with samples of the real songs for Mystery Songs 1-3 for your listening pleasure.

Mystery Song 1 - This is probably very obvious now, especially after various commercials using this song, as well as it being present in Kill Bill Vol. 1. But, lemme tell you, I was in musical limbo a long time before I knew the name and artist of this song.

Mystery Song 2 - I probably have heard this song in other places, but I really noticed it when I was watching John Carpenter's Christine. I never thought to look at the damned credits to figure out what song it was. I was in a bar when a DJ cured my ignorance regarding this tune. A happy day!

Mystery Song 3 - This song popped in my head just yesterday. Thankfully, a friend of mine was able to fill in the blanks for me.

Mystery Song 4 - I know there is that Rod Stewart song, "Some Guys Have All The Luck" where there's a background vocal very similar (if not identical) to this. But I'm thinking there's some 50's song that has this. Am I crazy? If someone can answer this, all my blogging will have been worthwhile.


Johnny Yen said...

#3 is Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty. He was in Stealer's Wheel, who did "Stuck In the Middle With You," which was put to good use in the movie Reservoir Dogs.

#4 is, I think, "Ain't Got No Home," by Clarence "Frogman" Henry, a New Orleans artist. You can check it out here:

Scroll down and click on one of the "Listen" links.

Dale said...

I have no idea on #4. Is Johnny Yen right?

Is saying you're a good hummer acceptable?

Splotchy said...

Oh, God Bless You, johnny yen! That's the song!

I dedicate this Mother's Day to you!

Johnny Yen said...

Glad to be of service!

Tanya Espanya said...

What about that "I Love New York" from the 1970s? I can't find it anywhere and it's not that one by some clown Steve Karmen.

Anyone? Just me then?

I love New York...what a great sensation...(Or something like that...I don't know...I was 7.)

Splotchy said...

I'm drawing a blank.

This sounds like a job for Johnny Yen.