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Don't play your kids Chinese versions of cover songs

Don't play your kids Chinese versions of cover songs

Mir has recounted one of the hilarious consequences of playing your children 1970s Chinese pop songs. I’d like to recount another.

When I was young, my parents would keep going on long road trips, and playing musical tapes by various Hong Kong Cantopop artists. These were invariably covers of Western songs – except I never knew that at the time. And seeing as my parents’ English-language record collection was an 8-track tape of Top of the Pops 1974 (which has indelibly seared itself into my memory forever on account of being repeated ad nauseum) they weren’t going to be much help.

So when I would hear the English-language versions of said songs, I just assumed that they had ripped off/covered the Chinese versions to create an English-language version.

To my eternal shame, it was thus not till I was about 15 that it dawned on me that Paul Simon may have had something to do with Mother and Child Reunion, aside from just singing it.

Of course, that’s nothing compared to the shock of when I went to a friend’s barmitzvah ceremony, and heard what I had assumed was a Chinese pop song riff. To everyone else in the room, of course, it was a traditional Jewish song.

The laughter haunts me still.

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