Dammit Janet: the playful proposal song
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Dammit Janet is a memorable song from the original 1973 The Rocky Horror Show British musical stage production as well as its popular 1975 film adaptation. It was composed by Richard O'Brien with musical arrangements by Richard Hartley.
The song serves as an opening scene in both the stage production and film, featuring the characters Brad Majors and Janet Weiss attending a wedding. The scene establishes their sexually uptight and naive personas. Dammit Janet sets the tone for the musical with its deliberate awkwardness and innocence.
Within the context of the musical, Dammit Janet functions as an ironical marriage proposal by Brad to Janet. The song takes place after the couple attends the wedding of their high school friends. Brad expresses his love for Janet using metaphors of deep rivers and the future. The lyrics and tone of the song offer a playful and satirical take on the traditional notions of romance and courtship.
The music and lyrics of Dammit Janet draw inspiration from 1950s rock 'n' roll songs incorporating their upbeat rhythms and innocent romantic themes. The phrase "Dammit, Janet!" has become an iconic part of the cinematic and pop culture lexicon often quoted and recognized.
Compositionally, Dammit Janet follows the tonal theory and features chord progressions representing the Ionian mode. In the harmonic analysis of the verses' chord chains, the scale degrees (denoted with Roman numerals) show the chord progressions in the key of B♭ major:
- B♭–Dm–Gm or I–iii–vi
- B♭–Dm–Gm–E♭–Dm–F or I–iii–vi–IV–iii–V
The catchy choruses are accompanied by chord chains showing the V–I classic authentic cadence:
- E♭–F–B or IV–V–I
- E♭–F–B–Gm–E♭–F or IV–V–I–vi–IV–V
Discover more songs composed in Ionian major mode and check out their harmonic analysis in the following articles:
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- 9 Beatles songs that combine harmonic major with Ionian mode
- 50 Beatles songs using Ionian mode
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