Monday, July 12, 2010

Dinge Dong

Each year, many European countries participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. As the name suggests, each country selects a song to be sung at an annual event that alternates among locations. Many of these songs become hits.

In 1975, the Netherlands' entry, sung by a group named Teach-In, won. The song was reportedly criticized for its apparent non-sense title and lyrics.

When songs are "ported" from one language to another, the lyrics are changed completely. For example, the lyrics that go with the melody of the song "Killing Me Softly With His Song" in Danish go "Chicken, hotdogs, and soft serve ice cream." When the song "Ding Dong" was ported to Danish, it became "Dinge Dong." Now it involves a woman on her wedding day reflecting on the impending event. The "dinge dong" first refers to the sound of her alarm clock and later to the church bells that ring. "Listen to how [the bells] bring joy with each beat." Some of the additional lyrics go "I am wide awake and can hear someone. The mail carrier rings the bell. There are letters and cards. Many people have written to congratulate. Flowers in bouquets and telegrams. ... With a 'Yes' and 'Amen,' we are tied together and you are mine from today on."

My family left Denmark for California in November of 1978. At that time, the song was popular and something apparently stuck with me. For the last two years, I asked friends from Denmark if they knew the song. Nobody could identify it based on the few fragments of the lyrics I could remember back then. However, my cousin suggested that I contact Radio Denmark and they identified the song for me two weeks ago. I was able to order the CD by mail and it arrived today.

This is a touching song. It almost seems it must be to be remembered after more than thirty years.