Here in Southern Ontario, the End Times for summer is heralded by the opening of the Canadian National Exhibition. For me, the CNE works much better in nostalgic terms than actually going again. I’d rather preserve those memories as they are rather than risk having them corrupted forever.
For example, no visit to the CNE was complete without a spin on that ride with that guy who was always yelling “DO YOU WANNA GO FASTER?” while the music pounded. Even though the cars and walls were encrusted with centrifugally applied vomitus, I just had to give it a whirl, even though I knew the little donuts and corndogs would soon be liberated from my digestive tract.
A big draw for me was the music. Some unseen DJ, probably with fewer teeth than a chicken, spun the tunes from a booth somewhere in the back. He, the ride, and the fact that physics was about to push me very tightly against whatever girl was sitting next to me made even the lamest songs—“You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate comes to mind—seem unbelievably exciting. And for whatever reason, I’ll forever associate that ride—Polar Express, Himalaya, whatever it was called any given year—with “Frankenstein” by the Edgar Winter Group.
I decided to conduct an experiment in crowdsourcing. I posted this question on my Facebook and Google+ pages to see how this would work as an investigation into social music: What song do most associate with that ride?
Talk about striking a nerve. After ten minutes, I had fifty replies. After 30, a hundred. And they’re still coming in.
Metal from the 80s seemed to be the big favourite: Ozzy (Crazy Train), GnR (Welcome to the Jungle) and the Scorpions (Rock You Like a Hurricane) all showed up multiple times. Older (i.e. 70s-era) exhibition goers cite Ballroom Blitz by The Sweet, This Flight Tonight from Nazareth and Argent’s Hold Your Head Up. Someone also brought up Free Ride—another Edgar Winter Group song—because the “DO YOU WANNA GO FASTER” question always came just before bassline-heavy bridge leading into the final chorus. Once that bassline started, you knew the second-hand cotton candy wasn’t far behind.
Come to think of it, maybe I will go to the CNE this year, if just to hop on this ride. I wonder: Will I blend?