In our first column, we asked you to tell us what these ten songs have in common:
"Gloria" (Laura Branigan) from the Italian song by Umberto Tozzi and Giancarlo Bigazzi
"I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" (Elvis Presley) from the 18th century French ballad "Plaisir d'amour" by Jean-Pierre Claris
"It's Now or Never" (Elvis Presley) from the 19th century Italian song "O Sole Mio" by Giovanni Capurro and Eduardo Di Capua
"Jealousy" (Frankie Laine) from the "gypsy tango" by the Danish composer Jacob Gade
"Let It Be Me" (The Everly Brothers) from the French song "Je t'appartiens" by Gilbert Becaud and Pierre Delanoe
"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (The Tokens) from the South African chant "Wimoweh"
"Mack the Knife" (Bobby Darin) from the German song "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer" by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill
"My Way" (Frank Sinatra) from the French song "Comme d'habitude" by Jacques Revaux and Claude François
"Skokian" (The Four Lads) from the Zulu song by August Msarurgwa
"Strangers in the Night" (Frank Sinatra) from the German song by Bert Kaempfert
"You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" (Dusty Springfield) from the Italian song "Io Che Non Vivo" by Pino Donaggio and Vito Pallavicini
The answer: all were English-language adaptations of music from other languages."World music" is the phrase du jour for exotic sounds from Africa, Asia, South America — what used to be called the Third World. Today world music is available everywhere; type the words into your Google search line and get about 3,070,000 websites. World music has its own Billboard chart, its own radio shows, if mostly on college stations. But it's a specialized, affirmative-action genre. Even if the definition is enlarged to include pop music from the Old World (from France, Italy, etc.), world music rarely catches the notice of the kids who dote on Destiny's Child or Uncle Kracker.
Once upon a time, however — and you already know we mean the '50s — the airwaves were alive with the sound of world music.