Dizzy Dizzy: Violins & Dizziness in Can’s Classic

Can's song Dizzy Dizzy

After Damo Suzuki left Can in 1973 (see the song Future Days), the band no longer had a singer. Step forward guitarist Michael Karoli. Not only was he the band’s pin-up, but he was adept with violins, too.

This is simultaneously of of the Krautrock band’s most accessible tracks… whilst also highlighting how weirdly, wonderfully experimental the band could be. And we think it’s worth a good old look at it. Time to get dizzy!

Soon Over Babaluma With Dizzy Dizzy

Dizzy Dizzy is the opening track to Soon Over Babaluma, the band’s 1974 album. Lyrics were provided by English novelist Duncan Fallowell.

Karoli is singing on the track, although the style he uses isn’t too far removed from what Damo Suzuki did.

The album was a considerable atmospheric advance over 1973’s Future Days, but Dizzy Dizzy is the accessible opener with looping, jittering violins and drums.

And in classic Can fashion, the lyrics are indistinct. What you can make out is also rather cryptic, leaving you to make up your own ideas about what’s going on. Let’s just say this clearly isn’t a standard love song.

In the daydream, on a crusty chest,
Head is slightly to one sound, head is curly and messy,
Got to get it up, got to get it over,
Got to get it up, got to get it over with,
Got to get it up, got to get it over,
Got to get it up, got to get it over with.

Around the lyrics is some inspired violin work, which soars about the place in glorious fashion and kind of acts as a chorus.

Whatever’s going on in the song, the rhythmic loops make for an upbeat experience of it all. It’s removed from the band’s heavier works, notably Halleluwah off Tago Mago.

Instead, it’s a shimmying number peppered with bedraggled lyrics that don’t bely much other than the singer is having a rough day of it.

Ding dong rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat in the daydream,
On a crusty chest,
Head is slightly to one sound, head is curly and messy.

Got to get it up, got to get it over, over.
Got to get it up, got to get it over, over.

All of which is cut down quite a bit across the single version (see Can the singles), shifting the running time to a more radio-friendly three minutes.

This version gets to the lyrics faster, cutting out the extended intro.

So yeah, it’s more in line with the likes of Spoon on Ege Bamyasi. Melodic, quite harmonic—it hooks you in with its peculiarities.

It’s also another demonstration of Karoli’s brilliance as a musician. One hell of a guitarist (highly underrated, criminally so) here he is demonstrating the breadth of his talent.

Sadly, he died in November 2001 at the age of 53.

But all this music, which new generations keep discovering, is a fitting tribute to him, the rest of the band, and what they accomplished in the early ’70s.

Dizzy Dizzy’s 1974 Promo Video

Canband released a promo video to go with the song. This is the full version, too, but shows the band at work in the studio they converted for the projects.

Alongside it being an excellent bit of history of the band in 1974, it’s just a nice little nod to the working environment they made for themselves.

They’d stick themselves into the studio, jam endlessly, make music, and then from everything they created condensed it down into album form.

Soon Over Babaluma, as a whole album, is another sprawling work from the band. It doesn’t match the peaks from the previous three landmark albums they launched from 1971-1973, but it’s still a mighty fine, innovative effort.

Dizzy Dizzy being the highlight, of course, as we bet you’ll remember this number have it looping in your head for the next few days, weeks, months, YEARS!

Some Dizzy Dizzy Live Moments

Recorded a year before the band split up, here’s a funky version of the song in 1977.

The band’s previous bassist, Holger Czukay, had left the band by 1977. In his place was Jamaican bassist Rosko Gee.

But here’s an excellent demonstration of the band’s musical abilities, as they basically turn this into an extended jam. And you can see how integral drummer Jaki Liebezeit is to all of that, holding things together so the others can do their thing.

Not that the audience is exactly going wild. But they were treated to a great band nearing the end of its creative run.

Thankfully, someone decided to record this for posterity. We’d be bloody dizzy with rage had they not done so.

Dispense with some gibberish!

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