Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

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09/19/2005: High Points of Popular Cultural History....

Back in 1969, a composer named Gershon Kingsley took 30 seconds out of his busy day, and composed a little tune he titled "Popcorn". He recorded it on an album of electronic music callend Music to Moog By (so called because the instrumentals on that album were recorded on the then brand-new Moog Synthesizer).

In 1972, Stan Free, one of Kingsley's associates in a Moog ensemble dubbed "The First Moog Quartet", got some inspiration from the fact that, when the First Moog Quartet went on tour in the late '60s, their rendition of "Popcorn" seemed to be a real crowd pleaser (once they noticed that, they tended to use it as an encore piece). So Free recorded a cover of "Popcorn" under the alias "Hot Butter", and that was the version that shot to the top of the charts back in the early '70s.

What I find interesting, over thirty years later, is that not only is there a web site devoted to "Popcorn", the song (no, that's not the really interesting part; after all, there are at least two websites devoted to every possible niche interest that has occurred to the mind of man), but that to judge from the site's "versions" page, there is an almost unbelieveable number of cover versions of this song (including, in 2005, covers by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (I'm startled to learn that they're still around, though the page notes that it's an earlier version that's been re-released on a 2005 compilation album) and Ben Folds).

Not bad for what is basically a trivial piece of fluff (however, an enjoyable, trivial piece of fluff).

Len on 09.19.05 @ 07:30 AM CST

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