Friday, October 24, 2008


Last night I was channel surfing among several of the music stations on my dish, trying to avoid all the election coverage, while waiting for the SNL Thursday spoof of the election coverage. Like many people at this late stage of the game (and I do mean game) I’d much rather watch a spoof than the real thing. I’m a real political junkie, but the US election crossed over into the rather-have-a-root-canal category for me some time ago. As someone who has lived and voted in both the US and Canada, I can tell you, Canada is waaaay easier. For example, how many of you even knew Canada just had an election – hands? I thought so. Once it was announced that an election was coming, the whole thing took a mere 37 days and cost just over 300 mil. I kid you not. Anyway, I’m digressing again. What I really want to tell you about is that, as I surfed, I happened to catch the old ABBA song, “Chiquitita.” Well, have to stop for that one. And wonder of wonders, as I listened to the old familiar lyrics…I suddenly heard…something different! Yes, it’s true. Thanks to the wonders of crisp new digital sound, I discovered another bit of misheard lyrics I’d been living with in my head since…hold on a sec, let me go look it up…1979!
There’s that one part where they sing:

“Chiquitita you and I know / How the heartaches come and they go /________________”

Okay, here’s where my revelation comes. The actual words that go in the space above are “and the scars they’re leaving.” Maybe you always knew that. Maybe you had the album with lyrics. Maybe you have a better ear. But to me, that missing phrase was always “on the Champs-Elysees.” I mean, why not? After all, ABBA was a European group, with all the continental stuff that implies. They could have been to the Champs-Elysees many times, for all we know. And, don’t forget, we’re talking Paris here. Not only that, we’re talking about of the most famous romantic spots in town. Trysting in the cafes, meeting clandestinely in the cinema. I’m sure people get their hearts broken there all the time. Plus, the instrumentation has a kind of a turn-of-the-century Folies Bergere feel to it, even if the title is Spanish. Hey, Spain is in Europe too! Come on, you know it makes a certain sense. No? Well, it doesn’t matter; it’s all behind me now.

And now that I know what the real lyrics are, I suppose I should be happy, but somehow I’m not. Sometimes what you incorrectly imagine can be preferable to what is actual. It’s always going to look like a Toulouse-Lautrec painting in my head. So, have a listen and see what you think of my musical misadventure, and try to be kind...

Video by YT member kamy876
Photo from

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can see how you mistook it. I watched SNL too. It was funny and I agree a nice change from the real thing.