Perpetuum Mobile and the Ecstasy of Gold

For years, I would hear this one song in commercials and never knew what it was. But it would show up from time to time, usually somehow technology related. It sounds a little like Philip Glass. If you heard it you would recognize it right away. So tonight I was watching TV and a commercial came on for the restaurant Carrabbas and there was the music! I hoped it wasn’t too new to Google and searched the internet, knowing there are sites where people identify music in commercials. The answer popped up in no time! And from the responses this post got, I wasn’t the only one that had been looking for the name of this for a long time. Anyway, I’d never heard of the song or the group. The song is “Perpetuum Mobile” and it is by The Penguin Cafe Orchestra. You can see them playing it on YouTube. That led me to a YouTube video that makes a movie out 200 pictures that a pretty woman (girl? she can’t be that old) has taken of herself each day, set to Perpetuum Mobile. Penguin Cafe Orchestra has some other videos here and here. They made this one using a dial tone (not my favorite).

That got me thinking about another song I really enjoyed lately. Back around Thanksgiving you might remember that I bought the Blu-ray DVD of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. The theme to that movie is really good, very famous all by itself, and I knew that as an Italian-made movie (that’s why they are called Spaghetti Westerns) that the composer is Italian Ennio Morricone, who Clint Eastwood presented with an honorary Oscar in 2007 for all of his (not Oscar-winning) movie music (nominated 5 times, not for any movies Clint was in). But there is another song towards the end of the movie when Tuco (the Ugly) goes running through the cemetery looking for the grave Clint Eastwood (the Good) has told him has the gold. It’s just a really good song and a great scene in the movie and part of why I realized this movie is really all about Tuco and a lot less about Clint Eastwood than I realized. The song is called L’Estasi Dell’oro in Italian, or The Ecstasy of Gold.

So I am watching the winter Olympics the last couple of weeks, entirely too much Olympics, and way more figure skating than I ever need to watch (though I only watch every four years). But I noticed that some of the songs sounded a little like The Ecstasy of Gold, but then would turn out to be something different. And I thought that would be a perfect figure skating song, and even better for the Olympics where everyone is after the Gold! So since I was looking around for music, I thought I would see if anyone else had made the connection and found a commercial on YouTube with American skater Sasha Cohen set to that music, although she has only recently restarted her career after winning silver in 2006 and is not in the Olympics. As I was looking this up, I also found a pretty good version by the heavy metal band, Metallica, if you’re in to that sort of thing.

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