Tag Archives: National Stuttering Association

A Stutter Makes These Songs Special

The National Stuttering Association (NSA) is holding its 31st Annual Conference in Washington, DC, this week (July 3-7, 2014). [Hashtag #NSAinDC14] This will be the 6th time I’ve attended an NSA conference.

My husband, who stutters, has been a long-time member of the NSA.  I’ve had more fun at these conferences than I’ve had at other (professional and technical) conferences I’ve attended.  I’m so looking forward to seeing friends that I’ve made over the years.

I’ve decided to do a riff on my series of blog posts about my favorite lyrics and to highlight some hit songs that feature stuttering.   It’s my opinion — and, I hope, that of my friends who stutter — that the addition of this feature is natural to the song.  It doesn’t feel like a gratuitous stutter; it’s just right for that particular lyric.  And it just wouldn’t be the same song if sung without the stutter.

Herewith, for your listening pleasure, are my picks:

  • “You should never argue with a crazy mi- mi- mi mi- mi- mind /You oughta know by now.” — Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song) by Billy Joel.  (Video and lyrics.)
  •   “Why don’t you all fffff-fade away (Talkin’ ’bout my generation).”  — My Generation by The Who.  (Video and lyrics.) By the way, this video is worth watching for a variety of reasons.  It’s classic old-school Who, complete with Pete Townshend’s guitar destruction and trademark windmill move. It’s got Keith Moon well, just being Keith Moon. And Rodger Daltry. Need I say more about Roger Daltry?  The reaction by  Tommy Smothers is classic.   The genesis of the use of stutter in the song is unclear.    After being inspired by John Lee Hooker’s Stuttering Blues, Pete Townshend reworked the song to include the stutter. Whatever the story, this song would definitely NOT be the same without it. [NOTE: For the information of my readers who do not stutter, John Lee Hooker was a person who stutters (PWS). Although people who stutter generally do not stutter when they sing, it is interesting that Hooker included stuttering in this recording.]
  • “My my my i yi woo. M M M My Sharona…” — My Sharona by The Knack.  (Video and lyrics.)  I dare you not to tap your toes to this one. OR to envision it without the stutter. 🙂
  • “F-f-f-f” — Foolin’ by Def Leppard.  (Video and lyrics.)  Just try to imaging this with a just plain “foolin.” I can’t. (Video and lyrics.)
  • “B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen n-n-nothin’ yet.” — You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet by Bachman Turner Overdrive.  (Video and lyrics.)  Randy Bachman , who wrote the song, insists that the song was performed as a joke for his brother, Gary, stuttered. BTO  only intended to record it once with the stutter and send the only recording to Gary.  Bachman reportedly said that “when I tried to sing it normal, but I sounded like Frank Sinatra. It didn’t fit.”  For more about this song, and it’s stuttering lyrics, see this Wikipedia informationThis article by  The Stuttering Foundation notes that “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet ranks as not only the first song with stuttering vocals to hit number one, but also the first with stuttering vocals to actually be written about a real person who stutters.”

There are several compilations of songs that include stuttering (or about stuttering. Here are two, if you are interested:

  1. 16 Best Stuttering Songs of All Time
  2. Songs With Stuttering

See you at the National Stuttering Association conference!

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