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Bill Roper's Journal
An Old Filk Mystery Solved 
1st-Dec-2015 10:16 pm
Over 40 years ago, at the Toronto Worldcon in 1973, a young man joined the filk circle, sang a song, and vanished without a trace. The song was a lovely piece based on Arthur C. Clarke's story, "The Sentinel". Anne Passovoy was there and ended up reconstructing the song as best she could and adding it to her repertoire, noting that the song wasn't hers, but presumably was something written by the anonymous young man.

And that was where things rested until last weekend at Chambanacon, when Bill Rintz and Bill Furry pulled out a song at their concert.

It was almost, but not quite the song that Anne had reconstructed. It was clearly the song that Anne had heard. All of the bones matched.

And so, as it turned out, did the feathers. Because this song was on The Byrds 1968 album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, and titled "Space Odyssey".

So now we know where the song came from.

Finally. :)

If you'd like to hear the original, click here.
2nd-Dec-2015 10:54 am (UTC)
Was the song a cover of the Byrds or a filk based on their tune?
2nd-Dec-2015 04:02 pm (UTC)
It was a cover of the Byrds.
2nd-Dec-2015 04:06 pm (UTC)
And what a fun story that is. Did someone tell Bill?

2nd-Dec-2015 05:01 pm (UTC)
We did. Margaret sang Anne's version for him later that evening.
3rd-Dec-2015 07:56 pm (UTC)
Having listened to the original, I can also say that the melody is very similar to Steeleye Span's Galtee Farmer -- not identical, but close enough that listening to the Byrds piece popped up the Steeleye as an earworm afterwards.
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