In the field of music therapy, sometimes melody and/or chords are taken from an existing song and lyrics are changed to make a new song. Music therapists call this piggybacking. Regular humans call this parody. I guess the difference is that parody implies humor whereas piggybacking does not. Weird Al singing “Eat It” to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” = funny. A music therapist singing hello to the tune of “Good Night Ladies” = not funny.
As a songwriter, I prefer to start from scratch and write a totally original tune to address whatever goal the client needs to achieve. This does not always happen. Some days the muse is nowhere to be found and I am not satisfied with anything I’m creating. Other times piggyback songs are created with the specific musical preferences of a particular client in mind. And on certain occasions while brainstorming lyrics for a new song, an existing song will come to mind that these new lyrics would fit perfectly into.
On this particular occasion, I wasn’t trying to write a song. I was just listening to music: “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M. Despite it’s somewhat apocalyptic title, it’s a fun song. After all, it’s not necessarily the end of the world, it’s just the end of the world as we know it. The verse lyrics don’t add anything to the theme implied by the title. In fact, they make no sense – just a verbal barrage of non-sequiturs. But again, fun to listen to. It made me consider parents being informed that their child has a disability: the end of the world… as they know it. Not better or worse, just different. It made me think of these parents learning and doing everything they can to keep their children happy and healthy and thriving to the best of their abilities. And it made me empathize with these parents struggling to navigate the jargon filled world of special education. This piggyback/parody song is for the parents. I hope that it educates as well as entertains.