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Morse Code in the "Western Union" Song
Kirt's Cogitations™ #319

RF Cafe University"Factoids," "Kirt's Cogitations," and "Tech Topics Smorgasbord" are all manifestations of my rantings on various subjects relevant (usually) to the overall RF Cafe theme. All may be accessed on these pages:

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Morse Code in the "Western Union" Song, Kirt's Cogitations #318 - RF CafeThe other day a song entitled "Western Union" played on my local over-the-air oldies radio station. It was released by the group The Five Americans in 1967. I've heard it many times before, but it finally occurred to me that the use of Morse code-like symbols in the refrain made it a perfect candidate for a spot here on RF Cafe.

The full lyrics of "Western Union" can be found at the bottom of the page, but notice the "Dah-Dit-Dah-Dit-Dah" repeats in the refrain. Even though I'm a licensed (as of 2010) Ham, my shameful (according to some veterans) status as a post-Morse-code era did not require demonstration of code proficiency. As such, my lack of a Morse code deciphering ability required that I rely on an online translator for considering what the code might be. Depending on how you separate the dits and dahs, the string of characters can be interpreted as TETET (- . - . -), TAA (- .- .-), KA (-.- .-), NK (-. -.-), CT (-.-. -) or other combinations, none of which seem to mean anything in particular - to me, anyway. Maybe the girl addressed in the song has initials represented therein; the world may never know.

Telegram service, in case you don't know, was the world's first commercial long distance, real-time messaging service. It was a combination of wired and wireless services, and had the advantage of reaching across continents and oceans before subsea and intercontinental cables enabled otherwise. Western Union was the prime provider of telegram services, which delivered its final message in 2006. Telegrams, like text messages and e-mail today, were admissible as evidence in court since they were transmitted by independent, third-party entities.

Peter Brady, Christopher Knight - RF CafeA video of The Five Americans appearing on The Sump'n Else Show in 1967, hosted by Bud Buschardt, is embedded below. From a distance, at least IMHO, the lead singer (on the guitar) looks a bit like a younger Tom Cruise, and the keyboard player reminds me of Peter Brady from The Brady Bunch (before he got his whiteboy-fro). There are of course other examples of Morse code being included in pop songs, but none as central tot eh theme as this.

"Western Union" song by The Five Americans

Here Are the "Western Union" Lyrics:

If you do an Internet search for the lyrics, you will find that most have the dits and dahs reversed, when they are clearly discernable when listing to the audio - more prima facie evidence of how often false information is repeated and perpetuated on line.

 

Things went wrong today, Bad news came my way, I woke up to find, A wire had blew my mind

Western Union man, Bad news in his hand, Knocking at my door, Selling me the score

Fifteen cents a word to read, A telegram I didn't need, Says she doesn't care no more, Think I'll throw it on the floor

Got your cable just to day, Killed my groove, I've got to say - ay

Western Union

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

 

Now you've gone away, and, How it's sad to say you've gone

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

I remember what they said Now, I'm going out of my head

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

Telegram just had to say, You've learned your lesson all the way - ay

 

[short pause]

 

Telegram just had to say, You've learned your lesson all the way - ay

Western Union

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

 

I'll be on my way, 'cause, There's another girl for me

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

I'll be sure of her, and, Things will be as they were

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

dah-dit-dah-dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit-dah

Oh, Western Union (dah-dit-dah-dit-dah)

Oh, Western Union (dah-dit-dah-dit-dah)

Oh, Western Union (dah-dit-dah-dit-dah)

Oh, Western Union (dah-dit-dah-dit-dah)

Oh, Western Union (dah-dit-dah-dit-dah)

 

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Posted April 23, 2020

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