Musical coincidences # 114

June 26, 2011

Today we have what I’d call one-and-a-half coincidences. The first one is a definite “Yes!”, but I’ll admit the second one barely qualifies.

First of all, the proper coincidence…

The theme tune to the TV show The Colbert Report starts off with a brass fanfare and then proceeds with the band playing a propulsive riff. (Trivia time: it was written and performed by Cheap Trick.) This is the fanfare bit:

Cheap Trick – “The Colbert Report Theme Tune” (2005) (excerpt 1)


It took me a while to figure out what that tune reminded me of, but it finally dawned on me that it’s the main tune of the Christmas carol “O Come All Ye Faithful“.

It also took me a while to find a version of it sung in the same key to illustrate the similarity. When I did find a suitable version, I was mildly surprised. It’s by Stryper, a hair metal band. A Christian hair metal band.

Here’s how it starts:

Stryper – “O Come All Ye Faithful (1991) (excerpt)


By the way, Stryper’s version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” appears on a 1991 Christmas compilation album entitled The Christmas Album… A Gift Of Hope. With the band on that album are some very strange bedfellows. Just have a look at the album cover:

Now, the second coincidence…

When I heard the theme tune’s main riff, with electric guitars blazing, it reminded me of the riff in the Violent Femmes‘ “Blister In The Sun“. When I got around to actually hearing “Blister In The Sun” (as opposed to imaging what the riff was like), though, I realised that it’s not that similar to The Colbert Report‘s riff. Well, maybe a little. I’ll let you be the judge…

Cheap Trick – “The Colbert Report Theme Tune” (2005) (excerpt 2)


Violent Femmes – “Blister In The Sun (1983) (excerpt)


Maybe not.

Anyway, here are the full versions:

Cheap Trick – “The Colbert Report Theme Tune” (2005)


Stryper – “O Come All Ye Faithful (1991)


Violent Femmes – “Blister In The Sun (1983)


Oh, I want to mention just one more thing before this post ends up longer than it needs to be. (Note to self: Too late!)

Considering the magnitude of the ego belonging to The Rev. Sir Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A., I wondered if the similarity between the brass fanfare at the start of his theme was actually deliberate, and “O Come All Ye Faithful” was a call to arms for all the true believers (i.e., Colbert’s fans).

Just wondering.