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Doot-doot-do-doot-do-doot-doot-doot
March 29, 2010 6:15 PM   Subscribe

OddballPlaylistFilter: I'd like to make a playlist of songs that use a specific musical allusion -- the single repeating note doot-do-doot-doot-doot-do-doot that represents "signal transmission." But I can only think of two examples.

The only two songs I can think of that use it are Starman and Wichita Lineman, but surely there are more. I can't come up with a better way to search for them, so I turn to the hive mind for help. Thanks!

I'm not 100% sure that's the intent of that passage in Wichita Lineman, but it does seem that way to me. If you happen to know (or be) Jimmy Webb or Glen Campbell and would like to clarify, please feel free!
posted by Balonious Assault to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Morse Code by Roni Size
posted by seppyk at 6:18 PM on March 29, 2010


Uses a beep in the background, that may count for your list, or not: Spiritualized's "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space"

Maybe a little closer: They Might Be Giants' "Space Suit".
posted by knile at 6:23 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Telegraph Line from Schoolhouse Rock
posted by Daily Alice at 6:25 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a great intro / outro for your playlist that I'll try to dig up: I heard it on one of the Sleepbot-type internet radio stations a while ago, it may be called something like "Receiving Orbital Alignment", and it is a quiet overlay of "signal transmission" sections over the even quieter, outer space-lowpass-filtered sound of gargantuan structures moving into place.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:27 PM on March 29, 2010


Western Union by the Five Americans
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:29 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dear Miss Morse by Pearls Before Swine fits the bell, and even has a delightful message hidden in its morse code refrain.
posted by Bromius at 6:41 PM on March 29, 2010


Radioactivity by Kraftwerk isn't necessarily a communication signal. It's a signal, though. And it communicates.
posted by mikeh at 6:46 PM on March 29, 2010


"Telegram" by Silver Convention, Germany's entry to the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest
posted by 1901gunner at 6:51 PM on March 29, 2010


Thomas Dolby's Windpower, from "The Golden Age of Wireless."
posted by jamaro at 6:55 PM on March 29, 2010


Arguably the vocal part from the beginning of "Synchronicity" by YMCK. Edge case but see what you think.
posted by grobstein at 6:58 PM on March 29, 2010


There's a great intro / outro for your playlist that I'll try to dig up: I heard it on one of the Sleepbot-type internet radio stations a while ago, it may be called something like "Receiving Orbital Alignment", and it is a quiet overlay of "signal transmission" sections over the even quieter, outer space-lowpass-filtered sound of gargantuan structures moving into place.

A-ha! (NGC 5128 Receiving Station Alignment)
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:59 PM on March 29, 2010


Telstar by the Tornados. (Although the Ventures' version seems to have more of the effect you are looking for.)

Here is Wichita Lineman by Jimmy Webb, the guy who wrote it.
posted by gjc at 7:04 PM on March 29, 2010


Also "Reflections" by Diana Ross and the Supremes. Sort of.
posted by gjc at 7:08 PM on March 29, 2010


The outro to The Clash's London Calling.

It's pushing it a bit, but The Wire's Dot Dash is arguably about nothing else.
posted by tim_in_oz at 7:11 PM on March 29, 2010


The beginning of OHMSS by the Propellerheads uses the morse code for OHMSS but that's not quite exactly ... well, maybe it's close enough to what you're looking for.
posted by komara at 7:23 PM on March 29, 2010


Just off the top of my head,
The intro to Pink Floyd's Astronomy Domine.
The chorus of Caravan's Golf Girl.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:25 PM on March 29, 2010


I hesitate to call it a song, but "Continuous Trucks and Thunder" (full track on Last.fm), from Mercury Rev's brilliant debut Yerself Is Steam, starts off with this sound.

The lyrics, as I hear them: "Space patrol, I better get my pants back on, my mom is coming over."

Who are you making this playlist for? Have any weird friends?
posted by cirripede at 7:29 PM on March 29, 2010


Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side: A song in which all the colored girls engage in signal transmission (I'm pretty sure, at least).
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:32 PM on March 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Rush's YYZ has the name of the song in Morse code in a number of places.
posted by willnot at 7:35 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Great Big Sea - Ordinary Day
posted by davey_darling at 7:43 PM on March 29, 2010


"WKRP in Cincinnati" by Steve Carlisle has that sort of intro. (Not in the TV show open, just in the actual song.)
posted by gjc at 8:31 PM on March 29, 2010


The theme from Inspector Morse.
posted by dws at 8:37 PM on March 29, 2010


Utopia's song The Road To Utopia features this heavily in its intro. And it is amazing.


"Telegram" by Silver Convention, Germany's entry to the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest
Oh, awesome. Penny McLean!

posted by mintcake! at 8:41 PM on March 29, 2010


I'm embarrassed to admit that while I associated the sound with "modern" tv news broadcasts of the '50s and '60s, it never even occurred to me that it's essentially the sound of morse code.

I'm loving all the suggestions so far, and I hope there are many more to come. I guess I was looking more for the songs where it's incorporated into the music rather than layered over top of the music, but I realize there isn't always a clear delineation to be made, and I am really enjoying some of the more blatant examples despite their not being precisely what I thought I was looking for.

willnot: I was a huge Rush fan back in the day, could rock the entire YYZ drum solo on my air drums, and yet never knew that about the song. That's probably way more obscure than what I originally thought I was looking for, but it's a perfect song for the list. Thanks!
posted by Balonious Assault at 8:48 PM on March 29, 2010


Also by Kraftwerk, in the middle of the big "Trans-Europa Express" medley there's a part where the percussion gradually fades away to be replaced with a morse-code like sound in the same rhymic figure. It's one of my favorite moments in their entire catalog.

Also, there's morse code at the end of Roger Water's "The Tide is Turning" (I think) on Radio Kaos which actually says something. Something about fighting Sylvester Stallone IIRC.
posted by No-sword at 8:50 PM on March 29, 2010


Probably not at all what you are looking for, but look
here
for lists of songs which use Morse Code.
posted by CathyG at 8:52 PM on March 29, 2010


B-52's...Planet Claire
posted by sexyrobot at 8:56 PM on March 29, 2010


Image of the Invisible, a song by Thrice, features a morse code rhythm motif. Enjoy!
posted by makethemost at 8:58 PM on March 29, 2010


Orchestra Manoeuvers in the Dark - Telegraph
posted by hydrophonic at 9:34 PM on March 29, 2010


Tom Russell, "Stealing Electricity."
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:31 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Ramones: "We Want the Airwaves." In addition to an appropriately themed song has a short piano motif that sounds like transmissions.

Yo La Tengo: Beginning of "Little Eyes".
posted by jeremias at 5:24 AM on March 30, 2010


Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' "The Hammer Song" has a very similar riff, assuming I understand correctly.
posted by AugieAugustus at 5:47 AM on March 30, 2010


The Theme from BBC News 24 cased quite a reaction a few years back. This page features an extended (3 min) version of the original, plus user remixes.

I think part of the attention may have had something to do with Bill Bailey's awesome spoof of it from the Part Troll show.
posted by dirm at 6:12 AM on March 30, 2010


Gah, can't spell caused above.

Also the intro to Kraftwerk - The Telephone Call probably counts.
posted by dirm at 6:17 AM on March 30, 2010


There's an Alan Parsons song that starts out with some morse-codey kind of "doots". Can't remember the name, from the "Eve" or "Pyramid" album. Can't access any useful sites from work. MeMail me if you need more info, and I can check from home...
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:49 AM on March 30, 2010


The pips in the BBC News theme are most likely an allusion to the Greenwich Time Signal rather than morse code.
posted by benzo8 at 9:07 AM on March 30, 2010


The intro to "One of Our Submarines" by Thomas Dolby has morse code in it.
posted by wzcx at 3:05 PM on March 30, 2010


Wonder if the song from Primitive Radio Gods, Standing Outside a Broken Phonebooth, applies or if I'm being overly literal here.
posted by vivzan at 3:21 PM on March 30, 2010


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