Well, I never knew that – the theme tune from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was a shortened version of an Eagles track called Journey of the Sorcerer.
I quite like the Eagles. They’re one of a handful of bands I was introduced to during my time in Germany. As part of my degree, I spent six months living at the Otto von Guericke Universität, Magdeburg, in one of the less-visited-by-brits parts of already unvisited East Germany. I was supposed to spend my time productively in
quiet reflection and prayer talking to German people and learning the language. Instead, I spent an inordinate amount of time playing Civ on my laptop, reading Usenet in the computer lab and drinking crates of cheap German beer and mixing my own margheritas.
It’s a wonder I ever passed my year abroad, let alone my French/German degree. And yet, bizarrely, all my anxiety dreams about being ill-prepared for exams, which I still get on a regular basis despite having graduated over a decade ago, are always about the French novels I never read ((years later, I was shocked to learn that – spoiler – Mme Bovary dies. Had somehow missed that whilst studying the book)) rather than my frankly appalling grasp on the German language.
Still, of the lasting things that came with me out of my time in Germany were those handful of tracks. I had my radio tuned to Hit Radio Brocken which changed its name shortly before I left and appears to have changed back subsequently. It was one of those commercial radio stations with a short play list, so a number of tracks came up repeatedly, and stuck in my head.
Towards the end of my time there, never quite having understood enough German to hear from the DJs what the songs were, I emailed them to ask. I then hotfooted down Breiter Weg ((literally Wide Way)) (formerly Karl Marx Allee) to Karstadt and bought copies on CD that I could take with me when I moved to Paris.
So, the link to the Eagles? One of the tracks was Hotel California. The CD I bought was Eagles Greatest Hits Vol.2 which had a whole bunch of things on it I really liked and have listened to loads since, particularly Sad Café, New Kid in Town, Seven Bridges Road, and Victim of Love.
Strangely, it wasn’t until years later, when my driving instructor turned out to be a lead guitarist in a Pink Floyd tribute band that dabbled in Eagles tracks, that I even bothered buying Vol.1
. And I’ve never really got into the tracks on that. I’ve never done what I’ve done with other bands over the years, in trying to buy up the back catalogue and find other songs I like, so I never knew it was the Eagles who came up with the distinctive sound that introduces Douglas Adam’s radio masterpiece.
Other tracks in my head that date back to my time in Germany were: Jonny Farnham with the Human League singing the (actually quite creepy when you think about the lyrics) Every Time you Cry:
Surely in any relationship the goal would be to prevent/minimise your partner crying rather than coming up with a bizarre reason why crying is a good thing? Cf Today’s Teardrops. (“yeah yeah yeah!”)
Another song that stuck was the Hollies The Air that I Breathe:
Now the Hollies *were* a band whose back catalogue I bought up. Everything else was shit.
Strange how none of the songs I ended up liking from my time in Germany actually ended up being in German.