What song does the Cisco hold music remind me of?
March 15, 2020 3:53 PM   Subscribe

For a long time I thought the infamous Cisco hold music was an instrumental version of something else. Some late-80s/90s thing with an Aaron Neville-ish singer, and a chorus that sounded something like, "Doooon't go blebble-bee toniiiiight.... No, doooon't go blebble-bee to-niiigh-hiiiiight." Now I know the true origin of the hold music (This American Life story here) but every time I hear it (and a LOT of companies use it) I still hear the blebble-bees and it drives me nuts. What freaking song am I thinking of?
posted by Ursula Hitler to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just over one minute into "Graham's Theme" from the soundtrack to Thomas Mann's Manhunter, you get this. That's what the Cisco hold music has always made me think of.

But that's also instrumental, not a vocal tune.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:11 PM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

It makes me think of Beverly Hills Cop, which was released in 1984. Maybe it's just that mid '80s sound that makes you think it's a song you recognize.
posted by XtineHutch at 4:50 PM on March 15, 2020

The lyrics you mention are from the Aaron Neville song Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight, but personally I'm not hearing any resemblance to the hold music.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:02 PM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Drive by the Cars? Thats what I hear.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:30 PM on March 15, 2020

Is it the intro/verse of In Your Eyes?
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 5:34 PM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

To me it sounds like a cross between Phil Collins' "In the air tonight" and Ultravox's "Vienna". Neither is that close lyrically, but I guess the first one does have the toniiiiight bit.
posted by Calvin and the Duplicators at 5:58 PM on March 15, 2020

At the risk of the blindingly obvious, not Yellow Moon?
posted by jocelmeow at 6:03 PM on March 15, 2020

I feel like it could be any number of synthpop songs but the first one to identify itself is Big in Japan by Alphaville, which is completely different on the face of it, but has a similar melodic shape.
posted by rhizome at 6:14 PM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

It is Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight by Aaron Neville! It's far from an exact match musically, but the chorus (starting around the 45-second mark) does get pretty close to the Cisco song. I looked up the original Dylan version on Youtube and it really doesn't sound like the Cisco song, but Neville tweaks the chorus so it gets close. I'm sure I googled Neville's hits before to try and find what song it might be, but somehow I missed this obvious one with "Don't Something-something on Me Tonight" right there in the title.

Thank you for solving this silly riddle that's plagued me almost every time I've been on hold for the last few years!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:18 PM on March 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Thank you so much for this question! I’ve been wondering what that song was for years, and whenever I tried to describe it to people that seemed like the might know (admittedly, with descriptions like “it’s like Peter Gabriel and Vangelis teamed up to write some music for a Donkey Kong Country level”) I’m just met with blank stares.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:34 AM on March 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

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