Day 75: Your favorite song beginning with the letter A.

“Ah! Leah!” – Donnie Iris

donnie-iris-ah-leah-mca-4There was a time in the not-long-distant past where you couldn’t just go to Google or Shazam and instantly find out what a song was or who it was by. Back in the day when you heard a song on the radio that you didn’t know, you had to hope that the DJ would actually tell you.

The problem, of course, was that the DJ’s sucked and they would only ever tell you what the last song was. Of course, that was always the song you already knew, the one that had been all over the radio for months.

That was “Dancing In The Dark” by Bruce Springsteen, wrapping up 24 in a row commercial free on WSCK. Now it’s time for another 3 hours of uninterrupted music. We’ll kick it off with “Jump” from Van Halen.

Wait! What about that song right before “Dancing In The Dark” that I’ve never heard? The one that sounds like it could be The Scorpions, but probably isn’t? That was good. Tell me what it was! I said tell… me… what… it… was.


Not familiar with a song I’ve mentioned?
Click the > button above to hear samples.

But they never listened.

Such was the case with “Ah! Leah!” I had heard it a reasonable number times on the radio—although not a ridiculous number of times—and never knew any of the words. I couldn’t even tell what it was they were singing when they harmonized in the chorus. (Which, in retrospect was very understandable. The lyrics were complex and cryptic. Who could ever expect to decipher them? You know the ones I mean: “Ah! Leah!” Oh, shaddap. What do you know, anyway?)

Anyway, it wasn’t until the mid-aughts (’00s) when I finally learned what the song was, thanks to two designers I worked with. They worked in their own little room, which they liked to keep very dim, and they always had music on back there, courtesy of iTunes Radio. I happened to be there checking up on the status of some projects when “Ah! Leah!” came on. I immediately went over to see what (and who) it was. When I read the title, it all immediately made sense.

It didn’t take me very long to acquire it. And once I got it, I played it a lot. Perhaps it was because it’s such a good song. Perhaps it’s because, right around that same time, the company hired a girl named Leah and every time I passed her, it made me think of the song. Either way, it’s become a favorite. (It currently resides at #4 on my most-played list.) I like it for its layered backing vocals, its bass line, and the impassioned lead vocals of Donnie Iris. From what I hear, it’s written about his ex-wife (who—get this—was named—wait for it—Leah”) and… well… the lyrics pretty much sum up the story. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Great physical relationship. Not-so-great everything else relationship.)

Thankfully the days of being in the dark are over. It’s easy now to find out who a song is almost instantly. In fact, there’s a song on right now that I like.

What is it? Wait. Find my phone! Open it!
Damn it, I mistyped my passcode. Gah! I did it again!
Now open Shazam… Come on. Connect! Damn it! The song is over.
It would be so much simpler if there was just some guy who could tell me what it was…

Ah! Technology!