Mysterious Musical Occurrences

It started innocently enough. I was reading a magazine and I noticed a print ad featuring John Travolta. I think he was selling watches, but the gist of it seemed to be that he was proud to be a pilot — maybe even more so than he was to be an actor. I won’t comment on that, but I remember thinking that whenever I see Travolta I always think of Tony Manero strutting down the sidewalk to the sound of the Bee Gees singing “Stayin’ Alive.” But here’s what was odd. A short time later I was driving to the store, listening to my favorite oldies station, and that very song began playing on the radio.

puzzOK, no big deal, but that was just the beginning. The next day I wrote a piece about Hoyt Axton, and one of the key points I made was that he’d written a song called “Greenback Dollar” and it not only established him as a composer, but later become a big hit for the Kingston Trio. Once I’d finished writing the piece and saved it for publication the next day, I settled down in front of the TV to watch a DVD we’d rented, a movie called Thank You For Smoking. After watching the film – which was, by the way, very good – I was amazed to hear the Kingston Trio singing “Greenback Dollar” over the ending credits.

I guess you could say that it was just another coincidence, but there was more to come. The next day I was reading a novel and the TV was tuned to one of those cable music channels. You know the ones I mean — a different channel for every genre and sub-genre, and sometimes they have some pretty good stuff but they also feature a lot of lesser-known musicians.

One of those –  a female singer – began warbling “Walkin’ After Midnight,” and I put down my book for a moment and listened. Not bad, I thought, but she’s no Patsy Cline. I continued reading while the song played, and I soon discovered that one of the characters in the book was walking into a room where a depressed girl was listening to music. The song she was listening to? Patsy Cline singing “Walkin’ After Midnight.”

I am not making any of this up. (A phrase that’s often used by one of my favorite humor writers, Dave Barry.) I can only think of two possible explanations. Either I’m going crazy – a distinct possibility – or a musical gremlin has inhabited my world.

I can hardly wait for Halloween.


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