Morning Music: Suzanne Vega

Tom's Diner - Suzanne VegaWill sent me a text, “What’s the Suzanne Vega song that goes dun dun dunna?” I knew immediately what song he was talking about. It was off her second album. He added, “I think it’s a cappella.” Yep, that was the one. So I entered “song a cappella Suzanne Vega” into Google and it spit out, “Tom’s Diner,” which is indeed the first song on Solitude Standing.

There was just one problem. When I clicked on the first video for it — Official music video! — it wasn’t the song. Well, it kind of is. It is a DNA remix of the song with understandably mellow drums and synth work below it. It’s not a bad song that way. The story behind it is more interesting because it shows some actual sense coming from a corporation.

The producers of this remix did not get legal authority to do it. They just did it and released it kind of on the sly to various dance clubs. When the song seemed like it might be a winner, A&M bought the track rather than suing. And the song became a big hit. This is yet another example of how copyright normally does just the opposite of what it is supposed to do. In this case, a pretty a cappella song was turned into dance hit. This wouldn’t have happened if the copyright system worked the way it is “supposed” to.

But I still like the original better. It has nuance that it filtered out in the remix.

2 thoughts on “Morning Music: Suzanne Vega

  1. You mentioned your quest for this song resulted in false versions…… Not only did I find that too, but it was a real labor to convince my family the original Does Not have a stupid fake horn track and swish swish dance crap in it. See, the da da dada stuff is imbedded in a recent track, Centuries by Fall Out Boy, which is currently on the charts (made it to #10 on the US Singles Top 100, this year). They knew that part from my playing S.Vega a couple times around the house.

    • Yeah, I was confused for a while. Actually, when I heard the version with the drum track, I originally thought it was the first version. I never trust myself, so I figured that I had mis-remembered it. But Wikipedia explained all.

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