Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Chuckle-Head Song #9: Ain’t That A Kick In The Head, by Dean Martin

There’s an old Robin Williams shtick where God creates Adam, then tells him, “I’ve got good news and bad news for you. The good news is I’ve given you a brain and a penis. The bad news is I’ve only given you enough blood to run one of them at a time.”

Terrifically funny things happen when the blood leaves a man’s brain and he starts writing lyrics – then sings them. Ain’t That A Kick In The Head, written in 1960 by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy VanHeusen, is lyrically tame by today’s standards, but when sung by Dean Martin, there is absolutely no mistaking the driving force behind it. When Capitol Records first heard it, they nearly put the kybosh on its radio play. Yessirree, the man’s blood is leaving his brain at such a velocity, it’s a miracle he can even form words – and by song’s end, he’s scarcely able!

Exclamation marks! The song begins with one! Before Dino can punctuate the very first line, the snare drum beats him to it: thwap! “How lucky can one guy be?!/I kissed her and she kissed me!” Within seconds, the singer is scrambling for a more potent form of punctuation. The tune barely makes the two-minute mark, but still fits in two bridges and eight bars of musical interlude that seesaw from the dreamy to the wow-wheee! Meanwhile Martin, whose usual singing style was smug insouciance, moves inexorably to a conclusion where all composure must be abandoned. When the song reaches its tumbling, shrieking climax, the cheese-eating grin on Dino’s face gets so wide he can scarcely articulate the words:

She’s telling me we’ll be wed!
She’s picked out a king-size bed!!
I couldn’t feel any better or I’d be sick!!!
Tell me quick!
Boy, ain’t love a kick!!
Tell me quick
Ain’t love a kick ... iiiiiin the heaaaaaaad....

Blood, oxygen, sense all gone. Nothing but the exhausted echoes of a delirious, hilarious song.

Chuckle-Head Song #8!

1 comment:

Scott said...

Wow, I'm loving this.

I'd never heard the Timbuk 3 song but, boy, I love that Dino tune and, yes, I always laugh at this one too. One listen and your life too is 'beeeee-yooo-tiful!'