Monday, December 12, 2011

Itsy Bitsy Petit

As admitted to recently, when someone passes away whose music I haven't heard of, I generally check out iTunes, listen to a sample, and then decide whether to download it and put it on my iPod. My iPod purchased list really does contain a good deal of music from dead singers and songwriters.

But when Lee Pockriss recently passed away and I learned he had written several songs that became hits in the 50s and 60s I had no need to purchase songs he had written. I already had them on CDs, notably 'Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.'

While I haven't yet transferred my CD version to the iPod, I have just downloaded the French version and transferred it to the iPod. Pourquoi, you might ask.

Aside from using iTunes for archival research into music of deceased artists, I also use it to flush out sound track music, from movies and television.  This generally works well, and leads me to some new artists that I would have never heard of or listened to. Perhaps they are dead, but that's not the point.

A recently viewed movie, with a very lively soundtrack, was 'A Good Year', the 2006 Russell Crowe movie that finds Russ shedding chain mail, guns, and boxing gloves while getting into a Peter Mayle story set in Southern France about a rich guy inheriting a chateau and vineyard.

It's actually a fun movie, propelled by the lively playlist in the sound track. The movie predates Marion Cotillard's best actress Oscar award for the 2007 movie 'La Vie en Rose'. There's visual candy for everyone in the movie. Landscapes and architecture as well.

The movie ends, for some reason, with the French version of 'Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.' There hasn't been a bikini in sight for the whole movie, but the arrangement is so lively with the French lyrics, that you get a whole new image of the girl embarrassed to come out of the locker room wearing the latest two piece.

The lyrics in French make it seem that the bikini is not only small (petit) it's barely there at all. It sounds even more alluring. Perhaps it's nearly transparent. The song became a hit in 1960, and a bikini then was really a two piece that revealed the navel. It hadn't yet gotten close to being dental floss.

I do remember when the song became a hit. I did have visions of perhaps seeing something really outstanding at the beach, but by then we weren't going to the beach anymore for some reason. It did cause excitement with the male adults as well, our neighbor and my father's best friend in the neighborhood making noise toward the radio that sounded something like "hubba, hubba, hubba." when the song was played. Sound as image.

Come to think of it, we used to go to the beach with that neighbor and his son, going in his truck to Rockaway Beach. Perhaps because of the song, the guys were no longer allowed to take their kids to the beach.

And they weren't even playing the French version in the states.

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