The Song

Billy told us a great story last night. His first big gig at like 18 or 19 was playing with this smooth jazz superstar who plays one of the softer-sounding brass instruments. There had been a song at—as an instrumental—was a top ten chart-topper for a long time and everyone knew it. The dude would pay it everywhere: Happy Mood, or something.

The band would get on a plane and out pops the horn. Everyone recognizes the popular melody and applauds. At restaurants after the gig they’d arrange champagne bottles for Billy to play the accompanying beat on.

Smooth Jazz was an object of ridicule and scorn at this point for hipsters and serious musicians, but it was a good gig and took Billy around the world for years as the guys popularity gruelingly waned. Eventually iLLy-B was able to establish himself on a hipper scene and moved on.

When he got married, Billy invited the guy to his wedding, but begged all his friends, “don’t let him play the song.”

During the reception all these edgy, esoteric musicians and the “the song” guy are smoking out back and the guy goes, “ya think it’s time to play the song?”

John—who can’t say no to anybody despite is mischievous nature—breaks the pensive silence with a slow, “yeah.”

So they all go in. Billy’s in his wedding suit. Dude starts playing “the song”: doo doo dawh, dot dot ta-dah. dot dot ta-dah, dee dah dah… . Billy’s heart is sinking. His wedding is ruined. Then someone starts playing along on their beer bottle. And another. Soon everyone is playing. It was the peak of magic. And for Billy, an epiphany.