Friday, October 31, 2008

Drop Me Off In Harlem

When I tell people I was on Jeopardy, the natural question is, "Did you win?" Sadly, like Weird Al Yankovic, I did not.

I like to rationalize my loss by saying that 25,000 people try out for the show every year and only 400 or so get on, so I beat considerable odds just to be there, and I was apparently on the show's highlights reel for years. I'll expound on my appearance at greater length at some point, but here's what sank me, an Audio Daily Double: "This song was the theme for what TV show?"

I'd wagered heavily before I heard the question, based on my demonstrable music expertise. The song was "Harlem Nocturne", written by the great Earle Hagen. I knew I'd watched the show in question, but as I searched my brain wildly, the answer refused to appear. It was an ignominious failure of my usually very reliable information storage and retrieval system. But hey, at least I looked good.

If you look at this very informative post on WFMU's blog, you'll find out what the answer was. The post is also loaded with 42 MP3s of the song, and there are many more here.

I recently met a Grammy-winning music producer who was able to come up with the answer in the time it took me to hum the Jeopardy theme. His response was even in the form of a question. I was impressed.

Here's Ray Anthony's version:

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