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"Take It Like a Melody."

I've spent my entire life fascinated by melodies and the rare, rare individual who can create them from the ether. And what's really interesting to me is that people born with the gift of creating melodies--or discovering them, really; although that's another long and fierce argument--are also given the ability to execute them. What do I mean? That's a great, great question. Well, I mean that Paul McCartney woke up with the melody to "Yesterday" fully formed in his brain, but he was also born with the intuitive understanding of how best to express the melody in song. It seems that the gift of the creating melodies comes with the ability to know how to execute them. It's a full-package deal.

For that reason, one of the things I learned from Boy George's "Take It Like A Man" that knocked me out and I still dwell on is the following: he recorded his vocal for "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" in one take. One. Take. The song that became part of history, that we all know, and that he is permanently associated with Boy George as his single defining musical moment--that vocal occurred only once. Bam, Perfect. If you or I perform Karaoke, well, we're actually sort of singing along to the song that is stored in our brain. It's there as a reference. We're sort of just copying it. It props us up as we sing along, and if go flat or lose our place or stray too far, it's there for us to return to as a safety net. Even Top 40 artists get to listen to a guide track, typically performed by the songwriter, and they use this guide track to help them understand the song and the melody. They're just copying, albeit with arguably better pipes.

Boy George didn't have that. There was no net, and his first attempt destroyed the target. Full-package deal.

Oh, man. What a gift. What a talent. What I'd give.


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