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Musical Wordplay

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

By Joe Florance:

"He took it all too far, but boy he could play guitar" is a phrase that I try to incorporate daily.

It's from the song "Ziggy Stardust" from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie. No, I'm not pawning off a David Bowie line as one of mine. Yes, David Bowie is the coolest, and I want to be him or be like him. I've been listening to this album over and over for the last week while I've been writing.

Check out Bowie's vision, as described by Wikipedia: "Described as a rock opera and also a loose concept album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is about Bowie's titular alter ego Ziggy Stardust, a fictional androgynous bisexual rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings. The album, and the character of Ziggy Stardust, were influenced by glam rock and explored themes of sexual exploration and social taboos."

Just the coolest. So ahead of his time. I've recently come to like the songs on this that I've never heard before. They've really grown on me. Just finished "Rock n Roll Suicide"the last track. I'm starting the whole thing over again with the first track, "Five Years." I feel I have time to listen to the deep tracks now. The "one album approach" with Bowie is more streamlined than the "entire catalog approach" I did with The Eagles in last month's Flapper Press post. I don't have a line I repeat from an Eagles song, not sure why. I'll chew on that and try to find one.

A few months ago I made a conscious decision to insert the line"He took it all too far, but boy could he play guitar" into as many conversations as possible. This is my way to be Bowie—to keep him alive and affecting people, life, conversations.

Any reference to anyone by another person in the conversation was followed by me claiming that "He took it all too far, but boy could he play guitar."

Genders and identities are easily switched to allow for universal usage. Consternation and side looks normally ensue, which is a great by-product. Keep 'em guessing. You play by your rules. You do it your way. You "make me feel like a natural woman." That's what you do. Now everyone is playing your game. Starting to smile now. Didn't know you were in a game?


I had another line that was in my lexicon for a while that I sometimes dust off: "We all want something beautiful. Man, I wish I was beautiful." Sound familiar? If you are trying to guess based on my known tastes (The Eagles, David Bowie, a slipped-in Aretha Franklin line) and my age (extremely late 40s) you won't get it. I also gave you more than what I normally use. I usually shorten it to "Man, I wish I was beautiful." I try to include a hint of longing in there, usually unsuccessfully. Anyone says the word "beautiful" and it is on. It's from "Mr. Jones" from the album August and Everything After by Counting Crows.

Conversation enhancements can come from anywhere—TV, literature, films, etc. I encourage music though because it is a difference-maker. TV and film are easy. Not impressed. Kind of following the herd. Lit references are, of course, amazing, but no one will get them. Don't lose the audience, brainiac. I will be impressed, of course, and will definitely give the appropriate amount of shock and awe, but I don't see me finding that book and reading it. Too much of a commitment, and what about all those big words? Literature scares everyone away. Music is easily accessible and brings people together.

Here's a freebie, but it is pretty obnoxious: "Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday night's alright!" from "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" by Elton John from the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I would use it with your kids. I used it on a Saturday morning a couple weeks ago and replaced "night's alright" with "TIME TO GET UP!" Had a lot of fun with that. Oh, so obnoxious but definitely memorable.

Freebie number two is more obscure but very easy to incorporate. "Nothing's worrying me" is the last line from the song"Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" by B.J. Thomas, made popular from the great bicycle-riding scene in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Anyone ever asks you how you are doing and bingo. Enhance that conversation. I make it very obnoxious by starting the line softly then loudly emphasizing "WORRYING!" before finishing off the line. Put a spin on it and all.

Enhance with a line, and you are playing the game; send someone on a journey of discovery, and you just won the game. They listen to that song. They think of their own line. They start playing their own game and enhance their own conversations.

Starting to smile again.


Joe Florance owns and operates Circle of 10 Talent.

He encourages people to pursue their dreams, and helping them do that fulfills his own.

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1 Comment

Amy Carlson
Amy Carlson
Jul 04, 2020

Worst of all young man you've got industrial disease!

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