Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Wombles - Wombles of Wimbledon

The Wombles was a stop motion action show that ran on British TV originally from 1973 to 1975. Reruns of those original episodes have continued on TV for years, decades. Each episode was about 5 minutes long and chronicled the lives of these fictitious furry animals (kind of like hamsters) as they got into trouble in the English countryside.

The theme music for the show (And many associated songs featured in the show) were written and performed by Mike Batt, a well-known English songwriter who had a few hits in the 1970s (including the effervescent "Summertime City"). Batt also had a modicum of success as a songwriter for hire for a bunch of British acts from that era including Steelye Span.

Either way, the theme song to The Wombles is quite a lovely song, compositionally perfect in its cadences and melodic sense, to invoke both childhood in general but also a very specific English sensibility of childhood. There are lots of french horns and trombones and violins and a bouncy beat guaranteed to make you sway. It's one of those songs that has been the longest in my brain, chords, melody, lyrics literally imprinted in my brain until I die. I have sung this song forever and am now singing it to my son who finds all this more mystifying than amusing. But in a testament to its Beatesque power to burrow into one's brain, he also hums the song frequently and without being aware of it.

Stripped of all the musical accoutrements, with just guitar and voice, you get a sense of the awesomeness of the song's melody, chords, and lilting nature. It has a bridge worth killing for.

No comments: