Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Earworm: “Sometime in the Morning”

I was still trapped in Florida, waiting for my parents’ house to sell, and as I hoped for reprieve I toyed around with the iPad I had brought to liven up my confinement. I don’t even remember what I was looking for when I stumbled across this old song on YouTube. I had heard it before, of course, when it was new. But back then it was just another song on one of the Monkees albums we kids had around the house.

And now hearing it again, half a century later, I admitted that “Sometime in the Morning” was a damn good song. And why wouldn’t it be? It was, as I already knew, written by Carole King, arguably the greatest American songwriter of the rock era. (With a nod to Paul Simon.) In fact, it was co-written by King and her former partner/husband, lyricist Gerry Goffin. And make no mistake, Goffin’s contribution to the song should not be dismissed. As original and infectious as the melody is, the lyrics, too, are creative and touching, and leave quite the emotional effect.

“Sometime in the Morning” is about a man who has an epiphany, and suddenly and dramatically appreciates the woman he has been with for who knows how long. And to give credit, it’s a joy to watch and listen to the short clips of Micky Dolenz sing it in the video, which is taken from the Monkees’ both wildly popular and surprisingly short-lived TV show of the 1960’s.

Still, as I played the song over and over I eventually switched to viewing the version with just the lyrics on the screen. As the song grew on me it became harder and harder to listen to it as the Monkees, dressed as clown, Benny Hilled it up trying to cheer up some chick at a circus. The song deserved better.

I played that song every day, several times a day, for about a week. When I was driving around that hot, flat state I often caught myself singing it. No doubt about it, “Sometime in the Morning” had become what today is commonly known as an earworm. That is, that song that you play over and over in your head until it almost drives you crazy.

And apparently I’m not the only one who appreciates the song. As you would expect, so does Micky Dolenz. In fact in 2010 he recorded his first album in ten years, cleverly titled King for a Day. On it he covers fourteen Carole King songs, including, of course, “Sometime in the Morning.” In concert Dolenz has introduced it as, “A beautiful song by Carole King.” He’s absolutely right, and it goes like this:


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