The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Madcap Laughs

Canned laughter can be a freaky thing. A rush of laughter which hasn’t been solicited; there’s something sinister about it, not being in on the joke, and the artificial parody of a warm human response.

Music list time. Songs which contain canned laughter or audience cheering!


The Beatles – Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Not sure if it was the intention for it to be so eerie, but it is. Particularly at about 48 seconds in. There’s also that brief snort of giggling after Within You Without You, because George was under the impression all the songs would have an audience.


Erasure – Love To Hate You. Has taped applause at the beginning to give it that ‘live performance’ excitement. It’s present elsewhere in the track, and one theory has it that the crowd are chanting ‘love’ and ‘hate’. I’m unconvinced.


The Monkees – Listen To The Band. What’s weird about this Mike Nesmith country and western number – which is brilliant, by the way – is that the fake audience only turns up right at the end. Rather an unsettling effect.


XTC – The Loving. Would probably have been included on the Love Actually soundtrack if it wasn’t for the annoying canned cheering at the beginning. Oi, bumpkins – no!


David Bowie – Diamond Dogs. ‘This ain’t rock and roll, this is genocide!’ Now that’s how you start a track. The peopleoids of hunger city having a knees-up, having put on their best leg warmers (formerly shiny silver foxes).


KLF – 3 AM Eternal. It was a thing in the early 90’s. The whole album’s a fake concert.


Pulp – Sorted For E’s And Wizz – not really recorded at a music festival.


Pet Shop Boys – Where The Streets Have No Name. There they go again, ripping off Erasure pre-emptively.

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