Monday, September 12, 2016

Pop Head Canon

You're familiar with this "headcanon" thing, right?  It's just the idea that there are some stories and characters that we love so much, we can't resist filling in the gaps a bit.  Who among you doesn't have your own private little story about what Luke Skywalker was doing between Cloud City and Jabba's palace?  Or what Kermit and Miss Piggy's kids might look like?

For as long as I can remember, I've done this for pop songs.  They pack so much emotion into 3 or 4 minutes, but not a lot of detail.  I heard an old song today that reminded me of this, because sometimes the headcanon takes over the reality.  In all my desire for a happy ending, I forgot that Dave Loggins' Please Come To Boston doesn't end with him going back to Tennessee like he really, seriously, oughta.

Other times the headcanon is just me imagining specific people (real or fictional) as the protagonist of the song.  Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down came out around the same time as some other stirring world events, and the two are linked in my head.  On a lighter note, I can't help but thinking about fictional Al & Peg Bundy whenever Meatloaf's Paradise by the Dashboard Light is on the radio.  More recently, I realized that that the lyrics to that silly "cups" song is actually the perfect accompaniment to Clara Oswald's departure from Doctor Who last year... even including the "long way round."

Sometimes the stories from songs and TV shows are explicitly intertwined.  I'm sure virtually nobody will remember Christopher Cross' Swept Away, but it always makes me wonder whether, after the final episode of Growing Pains, Mike Seaver eventually fell out with whats-her-name and got on a plane back to Hawaii.

Then there are the ones that I'm convinced have some secret backstory, but I don't know what it is.  Do you know there are 2 seemingly unconnected songs, released 11 years apart by completely different artists, that both: (1) mention the River Seine in France, (2) are sung in an admonishing way to a listener who better stop doing something bad, or else, and (3) are positioned as the second to last track on the B side of their respective albums.  So, were Billy Joel ("Somewhere Along the Line") and Don Henley ("Drivin' with Your Eyes Closed") sending out a coordinated message to the same person, across the years?!

There are some songs, of course, into which I have to put myself as the protagonist, but no need to mention those.


  1. Dan Folgelberg's "Same Auld Lang Syne" does this to me. I always wonder about their relationship, why things when wrong, etc.

    1. I almost forgot about that song -- haven't heard it in a while. Yes, it's like those movies or plays that restrict themselves to just like 1 day of events (or less!), leaving the viewer to fill in the whole past & future.

    2. Well, I'm back and have given this all a bit more thought. Just read the comments for the first time, too. There are actually a number of films and novels for which I have relished wondering. It's a nice idea on so many levels.

      --The Countess :)

    3. Welcome, Contessa de la Chocolate! So let me ask... is there a property for which you'd have ideas for fan fiction?!

    4. Not to sound dense, but ... I don't understand the question! :D

    5. Maybe my use of the term "property" was too vague... Do-over:

      Are there any existing characters out there in the big, wide, copyrighted world (e.g., Joel and Maggie?) that you'd consider writing new stories about? Extending their lives into the unfilmed interstices... or even calling, well, a do-over when the original writers may have flubbed something up?

      Some think it an inferior form, but I've seen powerful stuff. Anyway, just an idle thought.

    6. I see. I know that fan fiction can be a very powerful, uniting way to appreciate story but I have never tried my hand at it. I just ponder. The world changed very, very quickly around me. (Not just me, but I'm speaking from my perspective here.) I watched things, wondered about the characters and storylines, but it never occured to me to actually sit down and create a do-over--or even an extension of existing 'property.'

    7. It's a weird world out there, these days. I came close to giving this a try when we recently re-watched Space: Above and Beyond, which was cancelled way before its time.

      Hey, good luck at the book signing! I came across it on Facebook and chimed in. :-)