Closing Songs for a Library?
March 20, 2013 7:38 AM   Subscribe

I was talking with one of my student employees the other day and it turns out he's a member of one of the college's acapella groups. We thought it would be pretty cool for his group to record a song to be played before the library closes for the night. I can make this happen. What song(s) should they sing?

This is a medium sized academic library. We usually close at midnight. It is a hard close (that is, everyone out, doors locked at 12am on the dot) due to the fact that lingering students could mean my staff miss their trains/buses home. Library patrons have already been notified of closing over the PA (and usually in person) multiple times.

Playing a closing song has some added benefit - frees up a staff person from the PA, gives the library some outreach with student groups, sets up a bit of a fun tradition.

Lyrics can be altered (and would probably need to be in some cases - no cursing, etc) to make things library-relevant, so we can remove the references to whiskey and beer from Semisonic's 'Closing Time', plus they can do mashups/medleys of multiple songs. I'd like the track to be around 5 minutes or so, including announcement.

Given those constraints, what songs would you suggest? What lyrics would you alter?
posted by robocop is bleeding to Media & Arts (41 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight by The Spaniels would make a nice mellow closing song. Lyrics would be easy to alter but I'll leave that for someone more talented than me.
posted by jabes at 7:47 AM on March 20, 2013 [11 favorites]

I love Goodnight Irene and it sounds fabulous acapella. The verses are a bit dark but maybe you could alter those to be library related ("quit your browsing quit your carousing...")
posted by kelseyq at 7:51 AM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

The Closing Song by Red Peters was always a favourite when I worked in a bar. You could sub in 'heck' to the chorus line.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:51 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

For "Goodnight, Sweetheart Goodnight": "Goodnight, patrons, well it's time to go.." - great for an a cappella group.

"Goodnight, Irene" is very adaptable, as it's been done a number of different ways over the years, e.g. by Raffi: "Books, they sleep in the bookshelves; students sleep in their dorms..."

"So Long Farewell" from The Sound of Music: "...So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn good night, I hate to go and leave these books behind..."
posted by knile at 7:51 AM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

Gonna sound weird, but ... Dance the Night Away by Van Halen. Upbeat, happy, semi-suggestive ... And includes the word "away." As in, go away, go be happy ... elsewhere.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:54 AM on March 20, 2013

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's song 'So Long, Farewell, Goodbye' would also work well, and is an ensemble piece.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:55 AM on March 20, 2013

Joe Jackson's Steppin' Out
posted by chavenet at 7:56 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by fleacircus at 7:58 AM on March 20, 2013

What a great idea.

How about School's Out for Summer? Or After Midnight by Clapton? I suppose that those two might not translate well to a capella. But you never know, eh?

Or Hit the Road Jack? That one might be fun. Except you would want to change the "don't come back no more" part.

As a person who lived through the bar scene in the late 90's, please don't use Closing Time by Semisonic. It's fun the first hundred times, then it gets really stale, really fast.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:58 AM on March 20, 2013

Semisonic's Closing Time?

*on Preview - I thought exactly what Elly Vortex said, but figured it would be an incentive to get the heck out ;)

Though, man, if you do get a recording of Goodnight Sweatheart Goodnight it would be awesome to get it posted to music.
posted by mce at 8:00 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Show Me the Way To Go Home.
posted by misteraitch at 8:21 AM on March 20, 2013

What about a medley of lullabyes?

(I'm guessing your patrons are too young for the Lawrence Welk show closing theme.)
posted by sleepingcbw at 8:21 AM on March 20, 2013

Came in to say "Goodnight Irene", but kelseyq beat me to it!
"The Long Farewell" by Roger... oh heck, what was his name?!?

How 'bout rotating different songs? Or would that risk people sticking around to hear them.....
posted by easily confused at 8:37 AM on March 20, 2013

"It's time to go home" by Bruce Springstein. But it would take some arranging.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:39 AM on March 20, 2013

At middle school dances (back in the '80s) the dj would always play Happy Trails by Dale Evans/Roy Rogers as the lights came up.
posted by vespabelle at 8:42 AM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

So Long, Farewell from the Sound of Music. On preview, jinx!
posted by apparently at 9:01 AM on March 20, 2013

Hit The Road, Jack

Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye (also has the advantage of being annoying as all hell, which may send people fleeing)

Or you could take an alternate approach, and try to just annoy everyone out by doing the Nyancat song or a continuous loop of the Chili's Baby Back Ribs thing like Dr. Cox did on Scrubs once.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:10 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Picture Book by the Kinks
Midnight Special - one version
Take the Long Way Home - Supertramp
posted by rongorongo at 9:14 AM on March 20, 2013

I think this calls for a medley! An increasingly annoying medley!
posted by mskyle at 9:28 AM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

> Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight yt by The Spaniels would make a nice mellow closing song

They play that over the PA at my library when it's closing time, so you know it's been endorsed by at least one library.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:32 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ramble On by Led Zeppelin might be a strange and interesting a capella choice as well.
posted by jquinby at 9:57 AM on March 20, 2013

No! NO! You have to alter the lyrics to Jackson Browne's The Load Out!! Because it's perfect.

"Please don't stay...not a single bit longer...."
posted by jquinby at 10:00 AM on March 20, 2013

...And we bid you goodnight.
posted by grateful at 10:03 AM on March 20, 2013

A lullaby? I know college kids are still raring to go at midnight, but it would remind them that they do have beds elsewhere.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:22 AM on March 20, 2013

Oh, on the lullaby note, this arrangement of Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel) was a big hit during my admittedly not recent college years. They might have a goodnight song in their repertoire already.
posted by mskyle at 11:16 AM on March 20, 2013

Used We'll Meet Again (Dr Strangelove outro) on my radio show
posted by maggieb at 11:26 AM on March 20, 2013

Cool Papa Bell and vespabelle (are u2 related?), Van Halen did an a cappella Happy Trails at the end of Diver Down. OP, here's your arrangement!
posted by maggieb at 11:34 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ah, I love this! My first thought was Semisonic as well.

But if you wanted to go a little more sentimental, I think Goodnight My Someone, from Music Man, would be kind of nice.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:38 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I suppose Leonard Cohen's Closing Time is totally inappropriate? It might be too much work, but I feel like some of the lyrics are just asking to be re-written from boozy bacchanal to library sobriety. You know, like changing "It's hell to pay when the fiddler stops" to "there'll be hell to pay if we miss our bus."
posted by looli at 12:21 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors?

It's got the theme of reading and of going to bed (presumably in one's own home).
posted by zizzle at 12:30 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

You say it is hard to get the patrons out by midnight.... bwahaha... Get your singers to intone a "closing in ten minutes" segment and a "closing in five minutes" segment (after which you began to judiciously lower the lights) play mixed over top Ligeti's Lontano [10:10] or something else slightly disturbing.

OK, I'm creeped out now. Time to go.
posted by maggieb at 1:32 PM on March 20, 2013

This is a fun idea, but please record several options; the people who work in the library will not want to hear the same song every night even though it means going home.
posted by Anwan at 2:31 PM on March 20, 2013

The traditional closing song of many a honky tonk band in many a Texas beer joint for many years -- Willie Nelson's "The Party's Over" -- would no doubt thrill the library going crowd.

Turn out the lights, the party's over . . .
posted by spitbull at 2:36 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I immediately thought of The Spaniels' version of "Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight" upon reading this question. It's so perfect!

As another suggestion: I am secretly fond of "Good Night" from The White Album. The arrangement is super-cheesy (apparently it's intentionally over-the-top), but I like that it was written by John Lennon as a lullaby for his son Julian.

I agree with others who have said a rotating selection would be nice if your a capella group would be willing to do it and you were able to play different ones every night.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:09 PM on March 20, 2013

Mr. hgg just recommended the very catchy call-and-response ending song for Wayne and Shuster (CBC comedy show from the 1980s). I used to sing along to this as a kid:
Well I see by the clock on the wall
That it's time to bid you one and all
Goodbye (goodbye)
So long (so long)
Farewell (adieu)
Be good (stay well)
Bye bye (keep warm)
Relax (at ease)
Take care (stay loose)
Adieu mon vieux.
A la prochaine.
Goodbye 'til when we meet again!

Or the closing theme from Carol Burnett's show.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:52 PM on March 20, 2013

The Doors, When the Music's Over? Followed by turning out all the lights at some point when Jim Morrison demands it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:14 AM on March 21, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you for the list, everyone! I've sent on most of the suggestions to the folks who would actually be arranging/singing/recording to see what they think.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:44 AM on March 21, 2013

Wait wait, one more! The Final Countdown by Europe. "We're leaving together but still it's farewell!" And if there isn't already an a cappella arrangement of it, there should be, because the keyboard part would lend itself splendidly to vocal trumpet.
posted by clavicle at 10:18 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Everly Brothers' "Bye Bye Love"
Go-Gos' "Get Up and Go"
"Hard Day's Night"?

If you go the increasingly annoying medley route, you could end with NSync's "Bye Bye Bye"
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:22 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: (Don't worry, clavicle, Final Countdown was already on my list.)
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:57 AM on March 21, 2013

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