Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree (1973) – Tony Orlando & Dawn

The sprightly prance of “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” finds an ex-convict returning home, anxiously anticipating the sign which will indicate whether his woman wants him back or not. Apparently, Tony Orlando enjoyed communicating with the aid of symbols and code: a yellow ribbon around an oak tree meant “Welcome Home!”; three knocks on the ceiling meant you wanted him, twice on the pipe meant forget about it (“Knock Three Times”). What was his signal for the response to a marriage proposal? Leave the hot water running for yes, cold for no? In any event, his inability to take an answer face-to-face like a man brought us some great pop songs. However, “Yellow Ribbon” asks the listener to believe that a man just released after three years in prison would be content to accept “no” for an answer and keep on riding past her house. You said what, Tony? Nah, I ain’t tryin’ to hear that. Dude’s gonna be stalking her until she relents. I don’t know . . . maybe things were different in the seventies. Still, you can’t help but be moved when he gets the O.K. a hundredfold. Maybe it’s the power of forgiveness and the spirit of redemption, but you have to feel happy for the guy.

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