Monday Jams: “When You Sing This Song It Will Make Your Whole Body Move”

Posted by Jessica

A bit of advice: If you are ever confronted (in a dark alleyway, say) by an Otis Redding song, the best thing to do is surrender.  In the end it just makes everything easier.  Better, even.

This week’s Monday Jam is Redding’s “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song),” and I’m going to give you an option for this one.

Something interesting happened when I was preparing to write this post.  I’m used to the studio-recorded version of this song, and I think one of the beautiful things about it is that even though the title and the melody is on the melancholy side, the lyrics are sort of uplifting.

I’d never really read the words before, so I looked them up just to be sure this opinion was on target.  In doing so, I came across the following lyric:

I keep singin’ them sad sad songs
Sad song is all I know.
It has a sweet melody, tonight,
Anybody can sing it, any all time
It got to your heart, put you in a groove,
And when you sing this song, it will make your whole body move.

Now, I agreed that even thought the sad song had a “sweet melody,” I was a little skeptical as to how it could make my whole body move.  Although it was nice to sway to the beat, the song had kind of a slow tempo.  It’s not disco music is all I’m saying.

Then I looked for a recording to link to this post and discovered something new.  Apparently, there’s a famous live recording of this song that I didn’t know about, and this version really does groove.  The live version takes on a whole new spirit.  In the same way that Smokey Robinson’s Tears of a Clown is an upbeat song about a sad subject, this version of Redding’s tune has an all-over happy quality, even though it is still called “Sad Song.”

So here’s what I’m doing: I’m sending you to a page with both versions of this song, and you can decide for yourself which one you like more, or which one makes you feel better.  Of course, there’s no right answer to this one, so go ahead and enjoy both if you want.  Let me know how it goes.

Click for link.


One response to “Monday Jams: “When You Sing This Song It Will Make Your Whole Body Move”

  1. I was always partial to the studio versions. Though the quality was rough by today’s standards, the tempos and levels were measured and somehow truer. Otis clearly knew how to move a crowd but the intimacy of the studio format helps connect the bittersweet singing conversations between sadness and the joy, performer and listeners.

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