Ask Me Another
10:19 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Place That Band

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 12:11 pm

Geography rocks! Jonathan Coulton sings songs by classic rock bands named after cities, states, countries and continents, while rewriting the lyrics to hint at the locations.

Heard in Episode 322: A Primate Example

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Let's meet our next two contestants, Ben Ash and Rachel Jacobs.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Now you guys are going to be playing a music game which is exciting. Now when you enter a room, if you could pick any music to be sort of your walk on music, what song would you choose?

RACHEL JACOBS: Oh, that's easy, "The Imperial March."

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: OK. There, see, that's how you learn about someone quickly. Ben, how about you?

BEN ASH: "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins - no question.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You both are evil, basically. You're both the evil. So this game is called Place That Band. And Jonathan Coulton, why don't you take it away?

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: I'm going to take it away. In this game, you will have to identify various music artists and bands that took their names from a geographic location - could be a city, state, country or continent. For each clue, we have taken a song by that artist and changed the lyrics to be about that place. So to get the question right, you have to name the band, and then you can get a bonus point for naming the original song. Got it?

ASH: All right.

R. JACOBS: Mhmm.

COULTON: All right. Here we go. (Singing) Took a train this morning - New England bound. Got off in Back Bay, a city strong. Cobblestone streets and schools renowned - walked to Fenwick - took me all day long.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Rachel.

R. JACOBS: That's Boston.

COULTON: That is correct.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: For a bonus point, can you name the original song?

R. JACOBS: "More Than A Feeling."

COULTON: That's right.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (Singing) A real flat place - horizon lasts forever under these blue skies. Lots of farms - it's nearly perfect rectangle delights your eyes. People of the wind - this state's name means people of the wind.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Ben.

ASH: That is Kansas' "Dust In The Wind."

COULTON: That's right. Both points at once, slam dunk.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (Singing) They constantly bicker. Isn't it funny? But they want to be partners and use the same money. I guess there's no U.K. to blame. They're not in the zone. Will they ever invade us again? It's a tiny continent.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(LAUGHTER)

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Ben.

ASH: That is Europe's "The Final Countdown."

COULTON: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I had to stop myself from doing the...

COULTON: Ba-da-do-do-do. OK. Here we go. (Singing) I never meant to go so far with you - Oman, Japan and parts of Russia, too. Remember when you made an angry face when I said how long it takes to cross this place? It's more than four billion people living in many countries. Four billion people - some of them Thai.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(LAUGHTER)

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Rachel.

R. JACOBS: Asia. "Heat Of The Moment."

COULTON: Yeah, you got it.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Ben, you're mad.

ASH: I so had that one, also. But she deserves it. She deserves it.

R. JACOBS: (Singing) Telling me what your heart meant.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I can't believe we found the perfect game for two people.

ASH: I'm loving this. I'm loving this right now.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: It's perfect.

COULTON: (Singing) Well, I tried to sail to Asia, but I got so damn depressed. And I boarded the Santa Maria, and then we all headed west. It turns out there is a land mass with two continents so fine. As a sailor, it sure was a waste of time.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Rachel.

R. JACOBS: America?

COULTON: Yes, that's correct. Can you name this song?

R. JACOBS: Oh, "Sister Golden Hair."

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Rachel, you seemed sort of unsure there for a second, and it freaked me out.

R. JACOBS: I had no idea what the name of the band was and then the clues actually helped.

COULTON: Well, then it's working. The game is working.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: This is your last clue (Singing) Almost heaven - Colorado - Rocky Mountains, land of many rivers. Air is thin here - thinner than at sea. Makes it hard to breathe in, especially if you ski. Let's go down to this town with blue skies all around. Mile high city, home to Quiznos and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

COULTON: Ben.

ASH: John Denver, "Take Me Home, Country Road."

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: All right. How'd they do?

ART CHUNG: With such evenly matched contestants, it's appropriate that it's a tie.

COULTON: Oh, my goodness.

CHUNG: Hands on your buzzers, here's your tiebreaker. This 1970's band took their name from the Manhattan neighborhood where one of their members was spotted dancing in a Native American costume.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Ben.

ASH: I totally spaced out. I have no idea.

(LAUGHTER)

ASH: I was going to go say "YMCA," but that is not even the name of the band.

R. JACOBS: Oh.

CHUNG: Rachel?

R. JACOBS: The Village People.

ASH: So close.

EISENBERG: So that was a...

COULTON: That's a heartbreaker. That's a heartbreaker, right there.

R. JACOBS: Thank you.

EISENBERG: No, they worked together. They worked together.

COULTON: That's a better way of looking at it, yea.

EISENBERG: If this was Canada, you both would win

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: But in this case, Rachel, congratulations. You'll be moving on to our final round of the end of the show. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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