Wednesday, August 11, 2010

[24 Days To Go] Let Your Mustache Move to the Music

In the fall of 1898, Louis Elbel composed “The Victors.” Legend has it that he was inspired to do so by a Michigan's rousing last-minute victory over Western Conference foe Chicago. Said account, however charming, is less than historically accurate. This is immediately clear to anyone enlightened enough to recognize the transcendental significance of the song itself. Mere inspiration had nothing to do with its penning. Inspiration is nothing. No. A far greater power was at work that magical day. It was an act of the supernatural. It was…

Louis Elbel, circa 1898

The Mustache. Yes, Louis Elbel’s mustache is responsible for what John Philip Sousa called “the greatest college fight song ever written.” Sousa wrote "The Stars and Stripes Forever." Sousa was known as "The March King." Sousa, too, understood the power of the mustache.

John Philip Sousa, Man with Mustache

Over the years, "The Victors" has inspired millions; Elbel's mustache, perhaps, millions and millions more—in particular, one Madonna Louise Ciccone. As a University of Michigan student in the mid-seventies, Madonna happened upon Elbel’s visage at the University’s School of Music. There was just something about it. The image stuck with her long after her time in Ann Arbor, inspiring her creative process going forward.

Madonna, During the Creative Process

According to countless in the recording industry, throughout the 80’s and 90’s, Madonna would forgo shaving during the recording process as it would allow for a more “transcendental experience with the music.” Her words. A rep for the artist stated, “the mustache and the mustache alone is responsible for ‘Like a Virgin,’ ‘Material Girl’ and ‘Vogue,’ among many others.”

Imagine: a world without the hallowed lyrics, "It's called a dance floor, and here's what it's for...Vogue, let your body move to the music...Vogue, let your body go with the flow. You know you can do it." Without these, it's quite possible that to this very day no one-NO ONE-would have any idea what a dance floor is, in fact, for. Moreover, on the off chance someone ever did figure it out, a highly unlikely scenario to be sure, would he or she have been so bold? Would he OR she (remember, per the mustached songstress, "it makes no difference...if you're a boy or a girl") have been so inclined to use said dance floor in such a manner without being so positively implored "you know you can do it?" In a word, no.

A world without dancing is no world at all. Hail to the mustache, without which the dance floors would be empty.

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