Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Apr 12 03:27:25 UTC 2000

>At 01:38 PM 4/11/2000 -0400, you wrote:
>>Can't comment on the etymology/usage of the start of this thread, but
>>remember that a long number of years ago there was a pop song with the
>>taunting refrain
>>Can't for the life of me recall the context nor the musical group, but it's
>>obvious that it did represent imitating the mockery of little kids. Is this
>>Bernie Kane
>I don't know if it's relevant or not -- But I can add that I once read a
>published account of the making of this song which said that it was a B-side
>and in order to get the A-side played the producers tried to make the B-side
>as unplayable (from a top-40 radio viewpoint) as possible -- i.e., hugely
>long for a single in those days, sung a bit out of tune in places, and so
>on. The "na na etc." was sung in places where they had no lyrics written --
>a common practice among popular songwriters (note the "na na" etc. that
>ended up on the final version of "Hey Jude" in the same era.) In order to
>sabotage the song further, the producers ended up leaving the nonsense
>syllables in on purpose.

This is all true, but bear in mind that
"nanaNAHna/nanaNAHna/Hey-hey/Goodbye" is an entirely different melody and
rhythm from the taunting kids' tune
na na               na

(Hope the transcription doesn't rile the ghost of the late Dwight Bolinger.)


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