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)

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

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Excellent.

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)

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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.

Addendum:
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)

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(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)

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

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Ricky Nelson – “Summertime (1962)

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