Jeff Duntemann (jeff_duntemann) wrote,
Jeff Duntemann

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Muh-Nah Muh-Nah

A new earworm has arisen in my head like a June cicada in Chicago, singing its butt off while remaining infuriatingly out of reach. It all started with a new TV commercial for the Saturn Vue, accompanied by a ridiculous nonsense melody that I (very fortunately) hadn't heard in 30 years. It has no words, really, just a gruff voice saying "muh-nah muh-nah" alternating with a female duo singing similar nonsense syllables. It had been a top 40 song when I was in high school, and I vaguely recalled a Muppet Show clip with two pink cows and a caveman performing it. The song definitely suggests silly fooling around, which may be why (according to Pete Albrecht) it was background music for a series of comedy skits about Moon men that ran on the Red Skelton show 1970-ish.

Well. The Internet changes things. Searching for "muh-nah muh-nah" led me in a few hops to the song's own page on Wikipedia. I quickly learned that the song was written in 1968 by Piero Umiliani, and (once I found the clip itself on YouTube) that the muppet creatures I thought were pink cows were actually Snowths, which may be Muppetese for "pink cows." I learned that Frank Oz did both Snowths at once, one on each arm. I learned that the song had originally been written for a 1969 "mondo" film called Sweden: Heaven or Hell? about which the less we know the better, since it was apparently so raunchy that they banned Sweden. I learned that somebody actually tried to transcribe the lyrics, which is interesting because there really aren't any.

And if you really really want to hear the original version of the song itself, you can find it here.

Just don't say I didn't warn you.

Tags: humor, music

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