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Songwriting Geographically 101

Lesson to inspire and enable 8th grade World Geography students to write songs connected to a specific world location.
by

Howard Rabach

on 17 May 2011

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Transcript of Songwriting Geographically 101

SONGWRITING GEOGRAPHICALLY Have an appropriate, meaningful title
ALLENTOWN
MY CITY WAS GONE
SWEET HOME ALABAMA
GOIN' BACK TO MIAMI Well we are living here in Allentown
And they're closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they're killing time
Filling out forms, standing in line
Well our fathers fought the Second World War
Spent their weekends on the Jersey Shore
Met our mothers at the USO
Asked them to dance, danced with them slow
And we're living here in Allentown
But the restlessness was handed down
And it's getting very hard to stay

Well we're waiting here in Allentown
for the Pennsylvania we never found
For the promises our teachers gave if we worked hard,
if we behaved
So the graduations hang on the wall
but they never really helped us at all
No they never taught us what was real
Iron and coke, chromium steel
And we're waiting here in Allentown
But they've taken all the coal from the ground
And the union people crawled away MY CITY WAS GONE

I went back to Ohio
But my city was gone
There was no train station
There was no downtown
Southtown it had disappeared
All my favorite places
My city had been pulled down
Reduced to parking spaces

Ay! Oh! Where did you go, Ohio?

I went back to Ohio
But my pretty countryside
Had been paved down the middle
By a government that had no pride
The farms of Ohio
had been replaced by shopping malls
And Muzak filled the air
From Seneca to Cuyahoga Falls
Said Ay! Oh! Where did you go, Ohio? nclude content that is accurate and vividly captures the nature of the region. WEREWOLVES OF LONDON

I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
Walkin' through the streets of Soho in the rain
He was lookin' for the place called Lee Ho Fooks
Gonna get a big dish of beef chow mein

He's the hairy, hairy gent, who ran amok in Kent
Lately he's been overheard in Mayfair
You better stay away from him
He'll rip your lungs out Jim
Huh, I'd like to meet his tailor

Well, I saw Lon Chaney walkin' with the queen
Doin' the werewolves of London
I saw Lon Chaney Jr. walkin' with the queen
Doin' the werewolves of London
I saw a werewolf drinkin' a pina colada at Trader Vic's
And his hair was perfect Be culturally sensitive. CHINA GROVE

When the sun comes up
on a sleepy little town
down around San Antone
And the folks are risin'
for another day
'round about their homes
The people of the town are strange
and they're proud of where they came

Well the preacher and the teacher
Lord, they're a caution
they are the talk of the town
When the gossip gets to flyin'
and they ain't lyin'
when the sun goes fallin' down
They say that the father's insane
And dear Mrs. Perkin's a game

But every day there's a new thing comin'
the ways of an oriental view
The sheriff and his buddies
with their samurai swords
you can even hear the music at night
And though it's a part
of the Lone Star State
people don't seem to care
They just keep on lookin' to the East Focus on including the most important information about the region BARCELONA

The summer sun set a vicious circus
When shadows held the world in place
But today I felt a chill in my apartment's coolest place
Fuggi regal fantasima

The village larks cannot be heard
Cause all the crows got panderers
I can't escape these velvet drapes
Don't want my rings to fall off my fingers
Fuggi regal fantasima

The mirror i find hard to face
Cause i fear it's a long way down
Got to get away from here
Think I know which hemisphere
Crazy me don't think there's pain in Barcelona
They dance you round a waltz confound
But i fear it's a long way down
This road
Even if that straw i pulled
And I got to fight that bull
Nothing really does compare to Barcelona
Besides in spain don juan's to blame
But I fear it's a long way down
And I fear I won't be around

Got to get away from here
Think I know which hemisphere
Make sure I have all my papers
Laying out my summer clothes
Search for traps in vain like scratching
So my suitcase I can close
Fuggi regal fantasima Including references to physical and cultural geography, demographics, economics, and politics. DENMARK STREET

Down the way from the Tottenham Court Road
Just round the corner from old Soho
There's a place where the publishers go
If you don't know which way to go
Just open your ears and follow your nose
'Cos the street is shakin' from the tapping of toes
You can hear that music play anytime on any day
Every rhythm, every way
You go to a publisher and play him your song
He says "I hate your music and you hair is too long
But I'll sign you up because I'd hate to be wrong" ISTANBUL (NOT CONSTANTINOPLE)

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you've a date in Constantinople
She'll be waiting in Istanbul

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks LONDON'S BRILLIANT PARADE

And the film takes place in an MGB
And a perfect re-creation of "The Speakeasy"
Everybody looks happy and twisted
Though she probably never existed
For old times' sake
Don't let me awake

I wouldn't want you to walk across Hungerford Bridge
Especially at twilight
Looking through the bolts and the girders
Into the water below
You'll never find your answer there

They sounded the "all-clear" in the occidental bazaar
They used to call Oxford Street
Now the bankrupt souls in the city
Are finally tasting defeat

From the gates of St. Mary's, there were horses in Olympia
And a trolley bus in Fulham Broadway
The lions and the tigers in Regents Park
Couldn't pay their way
And now they're not the only ones

At the Hammersmith Palais
In Kensington and Camden Town
There's a part that I used to play;
The lovely Diorama is really part of the drama, I'd say ANDALUCIA

I've seen the place
The place of falling rivers
Where we can breathe again

Rain falls, falling on the window
I ain't seen the sun in days
Bring me back
Bring me back the hope we found that day
Seems far far away

This place, feels strange
Impossible to remember
You're a 1000 miles away

I can't rest, cannot sleep
I'm feeling numb most days
Can you be the same?

The same dreams
Swimming in the ocean
White surf is all around
I can't think
Well I can't stop to think of her with him
So far far away CITY OF LIGHTS

Old ghosts, haunt you and they won't let go
They know, the city can take time to grow
What's done is done but you are still young, Berlin

Tell me, what will be your final role?
It seems either side would sell your soul
It's such a high cost when dreams get lost
in Berlin, city of night,
you sleep between the East and West,
along the left and right
broken, kept from the light
you close your eyes and everything
remains in black and white
Berlin, when will you fight
the mind that draws the border
no one crosses in the city of night

Strange times were to have thought make a whole
You'll find some old wounds cannot be closed
But I look to you, thinking of you “When in doubt, throw it out!”
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