Monday, April 23, 2007

Sing It Like You Stole It!

For those of you who may not be aware, this week is National Karaoke Week. Oh, if only Sanjaya could have survived just one more week on American Idol. They may have honored him during the telecast or at the very least pretended he has the potential to maybe, possibly have talent. I will say this though, he has nice hair (and by nice I mean a lot), if that’s what you’re in to. But enough about Sanjaya, this is about celebrating National Karaoke Week!

I thought it would be nice to come into the office this morning while celebrating the week to get everyone excited about it. I put a smile on my face, tried to get my voice in tune, or on key or whatever it’s called and strolled into the office singing ‘Take This Job And Shove It,’ because it was the only song that came to mind. It was brought to my attention that it wasn’t the most appropriate tune for the workplace. I calmly explained that it is National Karaoke week and I was merely celebrating the holiday. Figuring that another song might erase the work faux pas I had committed, I started singing Eric Burden’s ‘We Gotta Get Outta This Place,’ as it’s a 60s rock anthem. Apparently singing about escape wasn’t appreciated either. Not to be stopped, I started singing a few bars of Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’ Go figure that a prison tune isn’t acceptable at work either. Feeling defeated but not deterred, I walked away humming ‘I Fought The Law And The Law Won.’ Who would have guessed that management knew that one, too? I decided to celebrate by myself in my cubicle by singing ‘Escape (The Pina Colada Song).’ Since most people only know it as the Pina Colada Song and not by its real title, I got away with it. Happy Karaoke Week to me indeed.

While I am certainly no golden throat, I would like to think that I can carry a tune at least for a few minutes. I was born with a deep baritone/bass singing voice. OK, I wasn’t born with it, but it did show up after puberty. However, I have discovered over the years that there is not much space in this world for a boy that can only sing all the low notes for old Temptations’ songs like ‘Can’t Get Next To You’ and ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone.’ It goes over great as a momentary laugh for friends and coworkers, but not as a paying gig. It also doesn’t work well in Karaoke as I stand silently waiting for the one line in each Temps song that I can handle. It’s kind of like the way Andy Kaufman used to perform the Mighty Mouse theme song on Saturday Night Live. Only when I do it, I’m not trying to get laughs.

As a former frequenter of the Karaoke scene, I have picked up on the songs that aren’t the best to perform publicly, especially in front of people that know you. The worst part is that I learned this from my own experience. Without a doubt, the first song on that list has to be ‘Copacabana’ by Barry Manilow. I can actually trace my failures with the fairer sex back to the first time I performed this song publicly. Notice I said the first time I performed it. I am a very slow learner. I did ‘Copacabana’ with a couple of my friends and we actually had choreography. We sounded like wounded Geese and apparently looked like them, too. Helpful tip: never do the ‘who shot who’ chorus with your finger pointed in the shape of a gun. It’s not cool, it’s not hip and anything that would be done in the front lounge of a Vegas casino in the mid 60s should never be repeated in front of a high school or college crowd. In hindsight, I still think we made a good choice in performing that instead of ‘I Write The Songs.’

I also regularly used to perform ‘To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before’ with a friend. I had to sing the Julio Iglesias part. This always frustrated me since Willie Nelson’s part is much more challenging. ‘All My Ex’s Live In Texas’ was another regular one for me. That is until someone once asked me if I was aware that I was tone deaf after performing it. I explained that I wasn’t and was told that I should be. That Saturday night was the last time I performed that one. When I did Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand By Your Man’ as a joke, I was told it was the best I ever sounded. That Saturday night was the last time I performed that one.

I’ve since retired from the Karaoke scene, but in light of this week’s holiday, I might have to return to performing again. I practiced Joe Cocker’s version of ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’ in the office’s restroom before lunch. The acoustics are pretty good in there and it seemed like a good place to sing it. Unfortunately, my voice needs a little more conditioning and another guy from our office walked in while I was practicing. To save face I quickly switched back to ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’ I have always found that the verse ‘I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die’ is very effective in getting people to leave me alone.

Now I gotta go. I have to prepare to meet our HR department tomorrow for violence and harassment in the workplace counseling. I wonder how that happened…I guess I’d better start practicing the verses to ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Give Peace A Chance.’

15 comments:

Erica AP said...

I love "Copacabana"... That song make me want to shake my groove thing. I say sing your little heart out - isn't karaoke for that?

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

There's this fun karoke bar in NYC called Sing Sing and you can rent private rooms and have your own karoke party with your friends. That was a ton of fun. I want to go there again.

And my cousin is part owner of a karoke business that does shows in bars and stuff. Pretty funny to go to those shows...it's out in Indiana, so if you ever head to the Elkhart area you should check out one of their shows.

Michael C said...

Erica: There's a reason that song is a classic! Yes, I still listen to it often ;-)

Silverneurotic: Sounds like a lot of fun. We have a place out here called Sing Sing, but it's a sing along piano bar. If I am ever in Indiana, after I stop by the Brickyard, I'm heading right over to their show!

Patti said...

Did you ever sing "Dancing on the Ceiling?" That's a classic.

Patti said...

Why do you make me think of Lionel Richie standards? Last week it was "Stuck on You."

Michael C said...

Patti: No I have not, but I do like to sing one of my all time favorites, Lionel Richie's 'Sail On.' It's about break ups though so I try not to put too much feeling into it. I don't want the audience to cry. I'll leave that to Celine Dion or Engelbert Humperdink ;-)

Michael C said...

Patti: I was wondering the same thing. I do listen to his greatest hits often, but I don't want too many people to know ;-) Easy Like Sunday Morning has one of the best guitar rips ever, by the way.

mist1 said...

Just when I was thinking about tossing out my Casio karaoke keyboard.

Party at my place. Bring liquor.

CS said...

Copacabana is one of the funniest songs ever sung. I don't actually mean that in a good way, but it does make me laugh until I cry sometimes. So, good for you for singing it.

Michael C said...

CS: Something tells me we are going to have a love it or leave contest over Copacabana.

I guess it's just one of life's divisive things ;-)

Michael C said...

Mist: By God's good graces, don't throw it out! I can't drink liquor, but I can think ;-)

captain corky said...

I like Karaoke, but I must be properly primed in order to do it. I need at least two jello shots, a shot of vodka, and one or two beers. Then I'm ready to belt out songs like Let it Be, and Rock-n-Roll All Night.

Patti said...

Our 18-year-old daughter loves Copacabana..go figure

Odat said...

Sorry I'm late here....but hey...what can i say.....
I will say..michael, can't you ever stay out of trouble??? lol.
Peace

CS said...

But I did mean in all sincerity that it's fun. I mean, "She lost her youth and she lost her Tony, now she's lost her mind."? It gets no better than that.