Naming That Tune

TSTDo you remember the TV quiz show, Name That Tune?  The quiz show ran, on and off, for over thirty years on NBC, CBS and in syndication.  The game featured a competition between two contestants trying to guess a the name of a song based on a clue provided by the host and a few notes from the song.   Contestants would bid with the once famous phrase, I can name that tune in three notes.  Or two.  Or one, and occasionally zero, based on the clue only.Name That Tune   You’d better have a really good clue because millions of songs start with the same note and I suspect thousands with the same two.  And three notes aren’t a sure thing either: the first three notes of Ebb Tide and Misty are the same; as are the first three of The Look of Love and The Theme from Exodus.  If you’re feeling nostalgic … or if you have Younger Eyes and this is all new to you … you can play an online version here.  Or you can find apps for iPhone here and Android here.

No, I haven’t been stricken by a sudden longing for ancient game shows.  I’ve been playing my own game of Name That Tune for a few days now with tune from my youth that popped into my head out of nowhere.   It’s a game I’ve always been good at, partly because I have a decent memory for melodies but more because of my extraordinary memory for lyrics.   If I can get far enough into the melody to remember a few lyrics, then I can usually make my way to the title.  Here’s the problem: the old tune that was circulating in my head was an instrumental.  Da-da-da-daaa-daah.  Da-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-da-dah.  Not much help, is it?  How about this?

I just couldn’t come up with the title, so I cheated … Googled rock instrumentals and found The 100 Greatest Rock Instrumentals.  There, at Number Fifty-One was the title I recognized, Harlem Nocturne.   We have ourselves a winner.  Written by Earle Hagen and Dick Rogers in 1939, it became a jazz standard played by big bands like Duke Ellington, Harry James, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and Quincy Jones and standard repertoire of many tenor saxophonists.  But is an oddity in that in 1958, a rock and roll band recorded it, adding an eerie echo guitar to the standard sax solo and it became one of the best known rock instrumentals of the era.  Then in 1966, The Viscounts version was re-released and climbed into the top forty again and in 1984, Harlem Nocturne was used the theme for the television series Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer.   This is the original Viscounts version.

So, here it is, Top Sites Tuesday #214 and I need to come up with Two Thoughts on Tuesday.  This week they are questions.  Thought Number One: Do you ever find yourself playing Name That Tune with songs that pop into your head?  And Thought Number Two:  Can you name this tune in six notes?

I’ll post the answer tonight in my comments section.  Meanwhile, if you enjoyed this post, please click my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #214.

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13 Comments on “Naming That Tune”

  1. cherperz Says:

    I am terrible at that game. While both your clips sounded vaguely familiar, I wouldn’t in a million years be able to guess the artist or the song.

    I had better stick to word games. I would fare better at Wheel of Fortune over Name That Tune.


  2. B Says:

    I’m no music-phile, but it only took me 3 notes to get to “Chances Are”, one of Johnny Mathis all-time bests.

  3. Trina Says:

    I play “name that tune” when I’m looking for some new music to listen to on pandora. I get lucky every now and then and the song I want to hear comes on and I can listen to it and see who the artist is.

    Also, “vanilla ice” and “pressure” by queen start the same.

    Wish I could name that tune….

    • oldereyes Says:

      I suspect that there are many songs that start the same. The tune was Chances Are by Johnny Mathis. Wolf’s parents used to listen to it. I’m old enough to be his father, you see. Hmmmm.

  4. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi bud,

    I could hum that tune to you cause my parents listened to it, but I couldn’t name that tune.


  5. territerri Says:

    I remember watching Name That Tune and loved it. I can’t name your tune, though it sounds familiar!

  6. oldereyes Says:

    Well, only my like-aged friend, Barry got it. Chances Are, Johnny Mathis

  7. SandySays1 Says:

    Hmmmm, Your post spawned an imprompto game at a gathering at my humans home last WE. The folks did fine on songs recorded before the 80’s – after that ———————————–

  8. Yippy skippy! I recognized that song almost immediately! I was so happy when I scrolled down through the comments to see you said it was “Chances Are” -loved that song. (Well, I still do love it actually!) And yes, as you already know Bud, we are of the same generation and by the end of this year, we will be the same age then too! (I don’t recall if you ever mentioned when your birthday is but mine is in October. No need to mention that we will be 1 step away then from the next big transitional year though, is there?

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