Friday, January 6, 2012

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

Does anyone remember my post about Cary Grant and the wonderful movie, Father Goose?  I was reminded of that movie when I heard a few whistled notes from someone while I was at work.  Today, the song "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress" came on the radio and I was transported back to the 70's and I was on the skating rink floor, moving exactly in time to the music.   That song was by the Hollies,  who are English, of course, but I thought it was amazing how very SOUTHERN they sounded.  They also did the song, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother".  I really liked that song.  When I looked it up, the wording is described as a "paraprosdokian" which is a figure of speech in which a sentence or phrase has an unexpected or surprising ending usually for comedic effect.    Here are some examples that were given:

From Groucho Marx:  I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's still on the list.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Light travels faster than sound.  That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Comedians often use this.  I remember Rodney Dangerfield saying  "Take my wife....please!"
Can you think of any others?

Now, you know I can't just mention these songs by the Hollies and not find them for you!

Ya'll enjoy this... I am still skating at Duvall's Roller Rink in 1972!


  1. trekking your lovely blog!!! thanks for sharing and keep posting! Happy New Year!


  2. Love the music and love learning a new "big" word. The examples of paraprodokian (is that right?) speech were funny. Roller skating. What a blast from the past. I used to love it. Not very coordinated, but loved the music. LOL

  3. Icedgurl,
    Thanks so much for commenting! I just looked at your post and your two little white dogs are adorable! Happy new year to you and get very healthy walking those dogs!

  4. Kay,
    Oh, it made me so happy to see your comment here!
    You see, I didn't think that you were going to do your blog there for a while, so... it makes me so happy to see that photo of the beautiful woman reading!
    Paraprosdokian almost sounds made up to me!
    Roller skating! I loved it! Do you remember that the boys would skate backwards and then they would ask the girls to skate and it was just like dancing?
    Listen to "How Do You Mend A Broken Heart" by the Bees Gees...I especially remember that one as being a slow skate couples song.

  5. Those were some oldies but goodies! I haven't thought of those in years, especially "Long cool woman in a black dress" . . . such fun!

    Happy New Year! Thank you for visiting my blog. I'm now following you! You are welcome to visit anytime. I love company and new friends are always welcome!


  6. Hello Mary!
    I very much enjoy your comments on Maike's blog! I thought that I had followed your blog before, but apparently not...hmmm, I just tried again, and I am still not sure if I did it right. Love your photo of the seal!
    Glad you enjoyed the music! Isn't it funny how music can invoke such strong memories?

  7. I wonder: Does Winston Churchill's comment about Clement Attlee conform to the definition:
    "He is a sheep in sheep's clothing"?

    And what always puzzled me in the "He ain't heavy.." was the bit where he sings "He's a-well fed on Mackeson" Stout is such an out of fashion drink these days.

  8. Hey PerlNumquist!
    Thanks for your comment. I love that quote from Churchill and I think that would apply to this. Pretty funny, too.
    Winston Churchill was half American, so I hope no one will mind if I quote this also from him:
    "You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing-after they have tried everything else".
    Sorry, but I have no idea what you mean about the Mackeson Stout, maybe an inside English play on words, sort of like "When The Going Gets Tough", sounded like "Go and Get Stuffed"?

  9. If you listen to the words of "He ain't heavy", he sings at one point ""His welfare is my concern" and for years I thought he was singing "he's well fed on Mackeson". Mackeson Stout is an old geezer drink: A very dark sweet beer that my grandad used to drink occasionally.
    Its just one of those misheard lyric situations which once you have it in your head, is hard to hear any other way.
    Just me being sill really :-)

  10. I play He aint' heavy quite regularly - it's on my pop favourites list but I'd forgotten all about the other song. Memories!

    By coincidence I blogged paraprosdokian on my (now much neglected) word blog.

  11. Perl Numquist,
    Oh, I see what you mean now. I did the same thing to songs. "Bad Moon Rising" sounded like "There's a bathroom on the right" to me!
    I just looked at it on Youtube and one of the comments said exactly the same, so I don't feel TOO silly! Do you remember the movie "American Werewolf In London" that had that song in it? I was very excited to recognize the London Tube in that movie. I think my husband only had eyes for Jenny Agutter!

  12. Scriptor,
    I DID think of you and your word blog when I wrote about "paraprosdokian". I had never heard of that word until I looked up that info on "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother". This is why I love to write on my blog. Learning something new is what makes life fun and interesting to me.

  13. I love both of these songs - especially He Ain't Heavy - it gives me chills.

    How about these two:

    War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

    If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

  14. Dear Jane,
    I like both of those examples!
    And I am glad that you liked the songs too!