Saturday, May 21, 2011

Four Music Videos for the Rapture that Didn't Happen

Reports from beyond the International Dateline suggest that Harold Camping was wrong again.  There were no earthquakes or tsunamis or asteroid crashes that led to the end of the world, time zone by time zone.

Not that anyone of sound mind took Camping's predictions seriously.  He had been wrong before, and he'll no doubt make another inaccurate prediction again.  (I hope nobody is taking stock market advice from this crackpot.)

Still, unlike in 1994, the last time the Family Radio mogul made his wild-eyed prediction that the Rapture was imminent, for some reason the "end-is-near-and-it's-May 21" meme caught the popular imagination. 

People were having fun with it.  There actually may be some disappointment among those who planned to be Left Behind that there will be no post-Rapture parties (raves? barn dances? orgies? pig-outs at Hooters?) to celebrate the departure of the prigs and the prudes.

In the spirit of post-Rapture bacchanalia, however, I present four examples of the kind of music that might have been played at those non-stop dance parties.  Enjoy!

First, here's Skeeter Davis singing her hit country song, "Don't They Know It's the End of the World?," from "The Star Route Show" on television in 1963:

There has long been a rumor among high school debaters that Michael Stipe wrote the R.E.M. song "It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)" based upon his own experience as a debater, piling disadvantage upon disadvantage on top of the podium. As I understand it Stipe has denied the connection, but the rumors persist -- and no wonder, since the rhythms of the verse mimic the delivery of a debater at full-spread speed.
It would be a shame to forget Blondie's "Rapture," which charted 30 years ago and brought rap music to a wider audience. The video based on the song was also something of a genre-bender. (Videos were not widely seen back then; MTV didn't take to the airwaves until August 1981, eight months after "Rapture" was released.)
Finally, I want to add a song I heard performed by Elaine Paige the other night, in the new production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies at the Kennedy Center. Considering that the Rapture hasn't happened, what can be more appropriate than "I'm Still Here."

Here's the original Carlotta (Yvonne DeCarlo -- yes, Lily Munster), performing the song on a 1979 television show. (Unfortunately, whoever posted this on YouTube provided no more specific information about the program.) There's a slight hiccup at about 2 minutes in, cutting the words "Beverly Hills," but the rest is largely intact -- which is more than you can say for the original cast recording. (The vamp at the end is also cut short. C'est la vie!)

Enjoy the remains of your day -- even for Harold Camping, it's the first day of the rest of your life!

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