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Thread: The Importance of Cowbell

  1. #1
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    The Importance of Cowbell

    Believe it or not, the humble cowbell has an important place in American pop culture. If you did not already know, a cowbell is a bell a cow wears so that it can be located more easily by its owner. At some point in musical history, it became used as a percussion instrument.

    One of the most famous modern examples of the use of cowbell in music is the exceptionally famous song by the Blue Oyster Cult known as "Don't Fear the Reaper."



    (The "Reaper" is, in English, a personification of death, commonly depicted in a cloak carrying a large scythe. In America, dressing as the "grim reaper" is standard fare on Halloween.)

    The cowbell is an inherently silly instrument, but it is also so damn catchy in "Don't Fear the Reaper", so the writers at Saturday Night Live came up with a skit about it.

    In it, they depict the original 1976 recording session of "Don't Fear the Reaper" using Saturday Night Live actors. Will Ferrell, the very famous and hilarious American actor, is the fictional "cowbell" player in the band. Hilarity ensues.



    Christopher Walken, who is playing the famous music producer Bruce Dickinson in this skit, delivers one of the most famous and funny lines of the past decade: "Guess what?!? I got a fever! And the only prescription is more cowbell!"



    It is worth knowing about this cultural reference because it is so well known.

    You will earn the endless respect of your English speaking friends if you drop this line in normal conversation --

    - What's wrong, you don't like your sandwich?

    - Nah, needs more cowbell.

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  2. #2
    zxc
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    It's worth noting that the episode first aired in 2000. Some people in their late teens to early twenties even probably didn't watch SNL at that time, and the phrase isn't prevalent enough to where a lot of younger people would recognize it.

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    True. I bet you my 21-year-old cousin doesn't know it.

    But I'm 28 and I remember it... yeah, it still cracks me up.

    Then again, it's hard not to laugh when it's Chris Walkien.
    luck/life/kidkboom
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