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Thursday November 11, 2004

Pre-Intermediate +

THE ARTICLE

The Beatles have picked up many accolades since they began in the 1960s, including that of greatest and most influential rock band ever. They can now add a new award to their pile – that of having produced the worst song ever made. This may sound like sacrilege to Beatles aficionados, but their classic song Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da has been voted the worst song ever in an online poll in the UK, home of the Beatles.

This seems an unusual choice as the song comes from the White Album, which is often regarded as one of the best albums ever made. It is also an unusual choice as it was not written as a ‘novelty’ song, which so often top the UK pop charts. Ian Edwards, lecturer at the Academy of Contemporary Music, says, "That is the nature of pop music as a part of fashion. Songs are popular at the time, but times change and often this results in embarrassing additions to your record collections.

No one surrounding the Beatles has commented on this new award. Sir Paul McCartney has yet to be found. It is unclear how he will react. What is clear, perhaps, is that in spite of this dubious award, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da will always be sung in karaoke bars around the world, unlike the other horrors which toped the poll, including Meatloaf’s ‘I’ll do anything for love’. Life goes on.

WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about one/several of the following: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / the Beatles / music awards / Brit Pop/Rock / doctors …

2. BEATLE’S CLASICS: Write on the board the following classic Beatles songs ‘Yesterday’, ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, ‘Help’, ‘The Long and Winding Road’, ‘Yellow Submarine’, ‘Hey Jude’, of course add your own, or brainstorm from students. Decide in pairs what kind of songs they are.

3. KARAOKE: Write the words to Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da on the board and sing with your class. They talk about the song after. Play the Beatles version if you prefer / have it.

4. MY LIST: Students list their worst 3 songs of all time and explain why.

5. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da: What does it mean? Have your students discuss the meaning. Also in need of definition are shoo-be-doo-bee-do, doo-wop doo-wop, and be-boppa-lula (amongst others). Ask students about these. In multicultural classes ask students to share similar nonsensical refrains from songs in their own languages.

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. LISTEN: Listen to the song and read the lyrics to give the reading some perspective.

2. SYNONYMS: Match the definitions with their synonyms:

 

accolade
aficionado
sacrilege
regard
novelty
contemporary
react
dubious
horror

believe / deem / view
award / distinction / honor
modern / latest / current
enthusiast / fan / devotee
monstrosity / abomination / shocker
a sin / blasphemy / heresy
acknowledge / answer / reply
fun thing / not serious / stupid
fishy / iffy / unlikely

3. LYRICS:  Students look at the lyrics to find anything that could warrant being the worst song ever.

4. DISCUSSIONS:  Students take parts in discussions based on the article:
Who is the greatest and most influential rock band / artist ever?
What is the worst song ever made?
What classic Beatles song(s) do you like?
What is the best album ever made?
Do you have any embarrassing records?
What do you think Sir Paul will say about the award?
What’s your favourite karaoke song?.


 
 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. UNSCRAMBLE:  Unscramble the words in the underlined part of the article:

The Beatles have many up picked accolades since they began in the 1960s, including that of greatest and most ever rock influential band. They can now add a new award to their pile – that of having produced the worst song ever made. This may sound like sacrilege to Beatles aficionados, but their classic song Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da has been voted ever the song worst in an online poll in the UK, home of the Beatles.

This seems an unusual choice as the song comes from the White Album, which is often regarded as the best of one albums ever made. It is also an unusual choice as it was not written as a ‘novelty’ song, which so often top the UK pop charts. Ian Edwards, lecturer at the Academy of Contemporary Music, says, "That is of the nature pop music as a part of fashion. Songs are popular at the time, but times change and often this results in embarrassing additions to your record collections.

No one surrounding the Beatles has commented on this new award. Sir Paul McCartney has yet to be found. It is unclear react will how he. What is clear, perhaps, is that this spite of in dubious award, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da will always be sung in karaoke bars around the world, unlike the other horrors which topped the poll, including Meatloaf’s ‘I’ll do anything for love’. Life goes on.

TOP 5 'WORST' SONGS
 1. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - The Beatles
 2. Fog on the Tyne - Gazza and Lindisfarne
 3. I'll Do Anything For Love - Meat Loaf
 4. Diamond Lights - Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle
 5. We Will Rock You - 5ive featuring Queen

2. SYNONYMS:  Check your answers to the above synonyms activity.

3. QUESTIONS:  Students make notes on anything they read in the text they want to ask their partner / the class about later.

4. MY POLL:  As students read they think of categories for conducting their own polls later in the lesson.

5. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.

POST READING IDEAS

1. UNSCRAMBLE: Check the answers to the scrambled words.

2. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the questions they thought of above.

3. MY POLL: Students carry out surveys from the poll categories they thought of above.

4. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

5. SUPERLATIVE:  Students create their own superlative surveys based on music / movies / food etc.

 

What
Who

is the
are the

worst
best
most ~
least ~
~ est

____?___

ever
in history
of all time
this year
in the past few years
since 2000
in your life
you’ve ever _____

?

Students report the findings of their surveys to the class. Discussion on the results. Focus on the language used to report using superlatives throughout the reporting stage.

6. DISCUSSION: In pairs/groups students think of 2 or 3 questions for a class discussion on the article. Teacher corrects on board and puts students into discussion groups.

7. READY-MADE DISCUSSION: Copy and give the following discussions to students:
Do you like reading polls like this?
Are you interested in other awards (e.g. the Oscars, the Guinness Book of Records, MTV music awards)?
How has your musical tastes changed? How have your tastes in fashion, movies, design… changed?
Are polls such as this meaningless
Who is the greatest and most influential rock band / artist ever?
What is the worst song ever made?
What classic Beatles song(s) do you like?
What is the best album ever made?
Do you have any embarrassing records?
What do you think Sir Paul will say about the award?
What’s your favourite karaoke song?

8. THE SONG: Students look at the lyrics of the song, check vocabulary and talk about its meaning. Is it a good song or a bad one, a happy and hopeful song or not…?

9. ROLE PLAY: Role play a discussion on this award with the characters below. Repeat role play and rotate characters. Have a pre-role play ‘what to talk about’ ideas brainstorm in pairs / groups. With bigger classes have ‘team roles’ – each team sits behind their role player, teacher tags that player to change team members when contribution is flagging:
Sir Paul McCartney, a Beatles aficionado, a rap music lover who hates the Beatles, someone who gets angry about such ridiculous and meaningless polls …

10. MY COUNTRY: Students prepare and make a speech on the pop music in their own countries. Pair up students from the same countries to generate more conversation / ideas.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on the Beatles. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. POLL: Create your own music poll, complete with at least 8 categories.

4. LETTER: Write a letter to MTV explaining who your favourite artist is and why.

ANSWERS

UNSCRAMBLE:

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

The Beatles have picked up many accolades since they began in the 1960s, including that of greatest and most influential rock band ever. They can now add a new award to their pile – that of having produced the worst song ever made. This may sound like sacrilege to Beatles aficionados, but their classic song Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da has been voted the worst song ever in an online poll in the UK, home of the Beatles.

This seems an unusual choice as the song comes from the White Album, which is often regarded as one of the best albums ever made. It is also an unusual choice as it was not written as a ‘novelty’ song, which so often top the UK pop charts. Ian Edwards, lecturer at the Academy of Contemporary Music, says, "That is the nature of pop music as a part of fashion. Songs are popular at the time, but times change and often this results in embarrassing additions to your record collections.

No one surrounding the Beatles has commented on this new award. Sir Paul McCartney has yet to be found. It is unclear how he will react. What is clear, perhaps, is that in spite of this dubious award, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da will always be sung in karaoke bars around the world, unlike the other horrors which toped the poll, including Meatloaf’s ‘I’ll do anything for love’. Life goes on.

SYNONYMS

 

accolade
aficionado
sacrilege
regard
novelty
contemporary
react
dubious
horror

award / distinction / honor
enthusiast / fan / devotee
a sin / blasphemy / heresy
believe / deem / view
fun thing / not serious / stupid
modern / latest / current
acknowledge / answer / reply
fishy / iffy / unlikely
monstrosity / abomination / shocker

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