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Three Songs That Have Been Ruined For Me
Did you ever notice when a pop song turns up in a film or television show and you can't get the image or scene that it's associated with out of your head? I don’t mean a brand new song, but a song you already know and have heard countless times before. These are songs you already have some type of association with, you grew up with it, maybe even have a visual of it in your mind (the original video, a concert you saw, whatever).
Then suddenly, you "see" it on TV, and then days, weeks, or months later you hear the song again ... and all you can think of is the new scene it was in; your earlier connection has been shattered! Parodies can sometimes have this effect, too; the massive change in lyrics cause you to never think of the original the same way again. (And don't get me started on bad cover versions, or commercials using long-cherished tunes - those are separate issues altogether!)
This sort of thing is really annoying. Sometimes the new lyrics or visual can be at worst mildly distracting, or (less likely) even beneficial (!), but everyone has different associations with music. Even if it isn't your absolute favorite artist, album or song, memories are sacrosanct and messing around with them can have unintended consequences.
The three songs listed below are good examples of this change in association. They are all good, well-known pop songs from the 1970s which is a bit weird, I didn't get into music until the 1980s, but never mind that now. Anyway, they have all been absolutely RUINED for me in one way or another. If I hear them now I can never think of them the way I used to, now all I can think of is the new "version". Here is why I can never think of these songs as I once did:
"Stuck in the Middle with You" by Stealers Wheel
This is all Quentin Tarantino's fault. He just HAD to use this song in his movie "Reservoir Dogs", didn't he? And, to make matters worse, this up-tempo folksy-pop tune accompanies the most grisly scene! Torture takes on a whole new meaning for music fans in this scene.
"Another One Bites The Dust" by Queen
Thanks a lot, Weird Al! This is a fabulous rock song that was insanely easy to sing along to, but I can’t remember the original lyrics to it anymore. All that comes up in my head nowadays is the line "we're already packed in like sardines and we're stopping to pick up more" from Weird Al's parody, "Another One Rides the Bus!" Just great.
"Shadow Dancing" by Andy Gibb
I’ll be honest: I'm not a Gibb fan (any of them), but I simply cannot hear this dance tune without thinking about the television show "South Park"! Mr. Garrison's David-Hasselhoff plastic-surgery-makeover just refuses to get out of my head when this song comes on. This is from an early episode of the show, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised to hear that Trey Parker and Matt Stone planned it this way. The dirty rats.
Plus, a couple of good ones
“Sailing” by Styx
Here’s another early South Park reference, but it’s a funny one. Cartman just HAS to sing this song all the way through whenever he hears the first few words of it – and he does, really really quickly! Extremely funny.
“Mad World” by Tears For Fears
This 1982 new wave song shows up in the film “Donnie Darko” (not the original but a more acoustic cover version) and I can’t think of a better, more appropriate film for it.