Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hal David

Johnny, I said we were through
Just to see what you would do
You stood there and hung your head
Made me wish that I were dead!
Oh, Johnny get angry, Johnny get mad
Give me the biggest lecture I ever had
I want a brave man, I want a cave man
Johnny, show me that you care!
From "Johnny Get Angry," which was a top 10 hit for Joanie Sommers in 1962.

Bad romances come in many varieties.  There are romances that are bad because your partner steals your money, lies, is a drunk or drug addict, and so on.  And there are romances that are bad because you're the only one involved in the romance -- like the poor girl who sings this song.  (Wake up, Johnny!  She wants you!)

Hal David wrote the lyrics for dozens of great songs.  He and Burt Bacharach were one of the greatest songwriting tandems of all time -- their hits include "The Look of Love," "Walk On By," and "What's New, Pussycat?"

This song is notable for the use of the subjunctive mood in the counterfactual dependent clause in the 4th line: "Made me wish that I were dead!"  But I'm wondering about the use of the past subjunctive -- would the pluperfect subjunctive have been more appropriate given that the author is referring counterfactually to the past?

Anyone have an opinion on that?  Anyone at all?  Bueller?

No comments:

Post a Comment