Disco-Y History

Jun 14, 2019

Contestants listen to parody songs of famous disco hits and guess what 1970s phenomenon the lyrics were rewritten to describe.

Heard on Josh Gondelman And Catherine Cohen: Brooklyn Famous.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

JONATHAN COULTON: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.



Thank you, Jonathan. Before the break, we met our contestants, Michelle and Matt. Let's go to your next game. Michelle, what would you name your pet rock?

MICHELLE BARRAS: I would have to say Bullwinkle because Rocky would be too obvious.

EISENBERG: Oh, nice. I like it.

BARRAS: Sorry. That came out sounding like a pun. I didn't mean it to.


EISENBERG: Good one. Matt, what would you name your pet rock?

MATT SPIEGEL: How about Dwayne the Rock?

EISENBERG: Yes, also good.


EISENBERG: I enjoy it. I enjoy it. Your next game is a music parody called Disco-y History. Michelle, stay in the lead, and you're in the final round. Matt, you need to get more points, or your mood ring will turn black, and you will not be able to figure out what that means.


COULTON: It's probably not good news.

EISENBERG: I don't think so.

COULTON: We rewrote disco classics to be about things from the height of disco - the 1970s. Ring in and tell me what '70s thing I'm singing about. If you're right, you can earn a bonus point by naming the original song or artist who made it famous. You ready?



COULTON: OK. (Singing, playing guitar) We're celebrating the U.S. of A. Happy 200th to the U.S. of A.



SPIEGEL: The bicentennial.

COULTON: That is correct - the bicentennial.


COULTON: For a bonus point, Matt, can you name the original song or artist?

SPIEGEL: That was the "YMCA" by The Village People.

COULTON: That's correct.


COULTON: (Singing, playing guitar) Oh, I love this game show. I'm guessing letters, circles spinning around for me. Yeah, it's just like hangman. Vanna turns letters. Going to buy a vowel - an E.


COULTON: Michelle.

BARRAS: "Wheel Of Fortune."

COULTON: "Wheel Of Fortune" - you got it.


COULTON: And can you name the song or artist for a bonus point?

BARRAS: I can't, but I'll just guess John Denver.

COULTON: That's a great guess, but it's incorrect. That was "I Love The Nightlife" by Alicia Bridges. (Singing, playing guitar) I'm on the air. But if you want to see, you must subscribe to me. I'm on the air. My tagline does decree that this is not TV.




COULTON: HBO is the answer. You got it.


COULTON: And can you name that song or artist?

SPIEGEL: I can sing it. Is it "I'm Coming Out"?

COULTON: Yeah, that's right - Diana Ross.



EISENBERG: Can I hear you sing it? Are you a good singer? Do you want to sing?

SPIEGEL: No, you may not.



EISENBERG: I felt like it was in you, and...

SPIEGEL: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: Yeah, you know?

COULTON: (Singing, playing guitar) Got to make a move 'cause this town is unsafe for me. Southeast Pennsylvania got some radiation energy. Reactor 2, Reactor 2, Reactor 2, it's Reactor 2. Melting down, melting down - holy crap, it's melting down.



SPIEGEL: That was Three Mile Island.

COULTON: It was. That's correct.


COULTON: And can you name the song or artist?

SPIEGEL: Is that "Electric Avenue?"

COULTON: That is a - oh.

SPIEGEL: Oh, no.

EISENBERG: People are, like...


COULTON: You shocked the crowd, Matt.

SPIEGEL: Oh, no.

COULTON: No, that is that is incorrect. That was "Funkytown" by Lipps Inc. This is your last clue. (Singing, playing guitar) Oh, baby. I broke into the office of the DNC. Screwed up pretty bad, and they arrested me. These two reporters noticed, and they asked around. They followed the money, and guess what they found? President's involved in this conspiracy. Then impeachment, resignation and a guilty plea.


COULTON: Michelle.

BARRAS: Watergate.

COULTON: Watergate is correct.


EISENBERG: It's fun reminiscing.

COULTON: Oh, boy. Remember when?


COULTON: For a bonus point, can you name the song or artist?

BARRAS: Sorry, no.

COULTON: You don't have to apologize to me. That's "Don't Leave Me This Way" by Thelma Houston. How did our contestants do, Ophira?

EISENBERG: Congratulations. After two games, Michelle is moving on to our Final Round.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.