Song Of The Day 10/4/2016: André Popp – “La Polka du Roi”


"La Polka du Roi" translates to "The King's Polka." It was written and most famously recorded by French singer Charles Trenet. It's an amusing little fantasy about King Louis XIV dancing with and eventually seducing the wife of another party guest who's passed out. They hustle upstairs. Just when we're about to break out the tittering gasps of the shocked commoners, Trenet lays the twist on us: The lady starts melting in the King's arms. The final verse reveals the two are actually wax figures in a museum. Nobody's getting any phone numbers after this encounter.

On the other side of the Second World War, André Popp was a musician and composer who recorded a wonderful album in 1957 called Delirium in Hi-Fi. If you're a fan of the jack-in-the-box surprises of space-age exotica master Esquivel, Delirium in Hi-Fi is your joint. For some reason it was originally released under the curious name "Elsa Popping Et Sa Musique Sidérante" ("Elsa Popping and His Staggering Music"). For English-speaking audiences it was reissued under the name "Elsa Popping and her Pixieland Band." Finally at some point they dropped all the pretense and released it under Popp's actual name. Use your pseudonyms carefully, kids.

On Delirium Popp immersed himself into new recording techniques and tricks and applied them to a host of well-known compositions. He included two by Trenet, one of which was today's cover of "La Polka du Roi." The strategy Popp applied on this song was to have the female vocalist sing backwards. For the final project he reversed the tape so it sounded forwards. This technique was also used on "Rain" by the Beatles, and also by the dwarf in the Black Lodge on Twin Peaks. Elyts ni kcab gnimoc si ekil uoy mug gniwehc taht.

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