Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Kind of Town

"They have the time, the time of their life," Frank Sinatra sings in "Chicago." "I saw a man, he danced with his wife, in Chicago, my hometown."

Now, Chicago is my hometown too, so I am not as familiar with many other American metropolises as I am with that toddlin' town. I can say that in Chicago, when you see a man dance with his wife, it is generally not worthy of note. Are there places where this is not the case, such that coming to Chicago and seeing a husband and wife cutting a rug, one might see fit to include that detail in a song?

7 comments:

Volly said...

Nothing whatsoever to back this up, just a hunch, but perhaps Sinatra was referring to a husband/wife dance team, like a pair of entertainers. Obviously, this isn't unique to Chicago either, by any means. But maybe he had seen one talented but not yet famous dance team during a visit to Chicago, and not wanting to specify them by name, put that line into the song as a "tip of the hat." Could it be?

I'm of course coming up blank trying to think of songs where this is done ... the only one that occurs to me at the moment is "Killing Me Softly," in which Don McLean is described but not named.

T. Nawrocki said...

"Poetry Man" is all about Jackson Browne, though he's not named in that either.

MJN said...

Then there's Mark Knopfler's "Boom, Like That," about the early history of McDonald's. He even sings "How about that friendly name?" but never identifies the corporation (no doubt following the wise advice of his attorneys).

Rob said...

I don't know what kind of preversions you people practice in Chicago, but in Boston, our streets are safe from postmarital terpsichore exhibtions. We don't "toddle" either! You people are sick!

Sinatra was kind of weird about people dancing with his wives. His longtime valet George Jacobs (who wrote the classic "Mr. S") was exiled for dancing with Mia Farrow years after the divorce. Ironic! Or not!

T. Nawrocki said...

I wonder if, in later years, Sinatra adjusted the lyrics to go "I saw a man, he danced with my wife."

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