Musical coincidences # 94

March 11, 2011

I received an email the other day from a chappy who goes by the name of “Dr. Keats” (Hi, Dr. Keats!). He mentioned that he indulges in musical coincidences himself, and then proceeded to supply me with a mind-bogglingly large list of musical coincidences that he’d found. I was gobsmacked. So much so that I don’t want to call him Dr. Keats at all. I want to call him Mr. Fabulous.

Today’s musical coincidence supplied by Mr. Fabulous is a doozy. It involves a riff you’re no doubt extremely familiar with, and another one you may not be as familiar with (I’d never even heard of the other song):

Deep Purple – “Black Night (1970) (the main riff)


Ricky Nelson – “Summertime (1962) (the main riff)



And, thanks to Mr. Fabulous, there’s plenty more where that came from. You beauty!

By the way, before we get to the full versions, I want to point out two things in “Black Night” that I found fascinating whilst editing the audio file. I’d never noticed these two things before, but now that I’ve heard them I can’t not hear them:

1. The first time the band plays the riff, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore comes in late on his very first note (at 0:03 in the left channel).

2. Singer Ian Gillan grunts (at 0:08) during that first riff when the instruments pause and the drums do their thing.

Here’s the band playing the riff for the first time, with both the late entry (0:03) and the grunt (0:08):

Deep Purple – “Black Night (1970) (the weirdness)


That grunt by Ian Gillan now stands out plain as day to me. (“Hnh”!) And as for Ritchie Blackmore rather surprisingly coming in late with his riff, now every time I hear that it feels as if it comes later and later each time. That delayed note is now so noticeable that I can’t hear that riff in quite the same way that I used to.

Magnificently helpful reader Alex (Hi, Alex!) told me in a comment shortly after this post was, er, posted that the riff also appears in The Blues Magoos‘ “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet“. And it sounds a little like this:

The Blues Magoos – “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet (1966) (the main riff)


(It looks like those Magoos boys based their entire song on that riff, not just sneaking it in here and there the way Deep Purple did. I admire the bravery of The Blues Magoos.)

Here are the full versions:

Deep Purple – “Black Night (1970)


The Blues Magoos – “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet (1966)


Ricky Nelson – “Summertime (1962)