Music · Omnibus · Trivia

How to revive the music lyric quiz in the Information Age

The Internet has been a boon for many of things. Unfortunately, it was also the death knell for one particular niche topic: the music lyric quiz. Thanks to the advent of search engines such as Google, anyone can find the name and artist of any song that was ever published. Any #1 hit, any B-side, any demo track ever recorded can be found on the internet. Outside of real-time quizzes, (e.g.: trivia night at the pub), one can not conduct a “Name That Song” Contest. I have a plan to rectify that, and resurrect the popular (and if done properly, fun) music lyric quiz.

Here is my proposal: the questions will not consist of the actual lyrics themselves, but a slight variation. The question will be either a(n): (1) mondegreen; (2) anagram; (3) synonyms; or (4) a double or triple Babel fish . The only hint given would be the year the son’s lyrics were recorded. (It’s a safe double-up, just in case multiple answers are possible.) Yes, it is completely easy to find an anagram, or translator programs on the internet. That is why questions involving example #2 will be few and far between, and why questions involving example #4 will probably involve 3 or more languages.

As an example, let’s use the classic lyric from Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, “Excuse me, while I kiss the sky.” Here are the possible ways this can be listed as a trivia question:

  1. Excuse me while I kiss this guy. (1967)
  2. Likewise cheek mushy sexist. (1967)
  3. Begging your pardon as I osculate the firmament. (1967)
  4. Sorry, Kiss the sky. (1967)    [Note: this was created by using a (English -> Japanese -> Dutch -> English) translation]

So what do you think? Would this work? And equally important, would you participate in a quiz like this?

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