Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

There is a song on a They Might Be Giants album called Istanbul (Not Constantinople), part of the lyrics of which are:

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you’ve a date in Constantinople
She’ll be waiting in Istanbul
One of the few popular songs to include the word Istanbul and a confusing lead-in to an invoice that I received today from FedEx for $1,042.26. The invoice was to pay for the shipment of a 110 lb. parcel from Greensboro, North Carolina to Istanbul, Turkey.

The invoice came as something of a surprise given that I have never shipped anything from Greensboro, NC to Istanbul, nor indeed to anywhere in Turkey.

I phoned FedEx this morning and relayed this to their “correction on invoice” department. Their response, oddly enough, was “yes.” I found this response rather unhelpful.

I pressed my case further, and they agreed to reverse the “Third Party Billing.” Presumably this means I won’t have to pay the invoice.

I am very curious, however, to know what one would pay $1,042.26 to air ship from North Carolina to Istanbul. Stay tuned for more information as I’m on the case.

Comments

Oliver's picture
Oliver on June 4, 2002 - 00:04

Actually, that Istanbul song (the lyrics of which in my book count as brilliant, by the way) has probably played on grammaphones and predates the birth of every bandmember in TMBG. I see a couple sites on the Web attribute it to “Jimmy Kennedy & Nat Simon.” I dunno. I just know it’s not TMBG.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 4, 2002 - 00:04

Well there you go.

Johnny's picture
Johnny on June 4, 2002 - 00:34

Actually, the first time I heard that song it was on an old 78 RPM record player that belonged to our maternal grandfather in Cochrane, Ontario. If I’m not mistaken, that version was by the Four Lads, and I prefer it to the TMBG version.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on June 4, 2002 - 01:55

Even Old New York, was once New Amsterdam. Why they changed it, I can’t say. I guess people like it better that way…

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 4, 2002 - 01:55

And our friend Catherine Hennessey maintains that Charlottetown is properly Charlotte Town.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on June 4, 2002 - 02:28

Charlottetown/Charlotte Town.” It rhymes, but I think it’s more of a song for reading than for listening to.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 4, 2002 - 02:29

In fact there was a Johnny Wayne (aka 1/2 of Wayne and Schuster) song called Charlottetown that used that rhyme exactly.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on June 4, 2002 - 02:33

Then again, may be it’s workable. “Charlottetown, Charlotte….Town, removed a space that only slowed you down” etc

Ann's picture
Ann on June 4, 2002 - 11:59

A friend of my brother taught me the song “Charlottetown is burning down, good bye, goodbye…Charlottetown Town is burning down, good bye Liza Jane.” On the first Charlottetown, you say it as all one word…on the second, you say it as two.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on June 4, 2002 - 20:35

Maybe the pause there is just an accomodation to the melody? Anyway, if you can hear it it’s a proof of principle. If Catherine Hennessey wants to win some converts to the pronuciation she deems proper, she might do well to assemble a few couplets and a ukulele.

Bludger_Boy's picture
Bludger_Boy on November 17, 2004 - 16:46

Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
“Istanbul” 1953

Words by Jimmy Kennedy
Music by Nat Simon

It’s Istanbul, not Constantinople now ….” Leave it to Tin Pan Alley to turn centuries of ethnic and religious struggles into a catchy ditty. This song, although copyrighted by Kennedy and Simon, is a direct descendant of the humourous piece, “Al-Bar the Bubul Emir” that could be found in the pages of “Captain Billy’s Whizbang,” an early 20th century precursor to “Mad Magazine.”

Lyrics:

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you’ve a date in Constantinople
She’ll be waiting in Istanbul

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can’t say
People just liked it better that way

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can’t go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks

Istanbul (Istanbul)
Istanbul (Istanbul)

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can’t say
People just liked it better that way

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can’t go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks

Istanbul

Istanbul (Not Constantinople) is the fourth (4th) song on the Flood album and is the eighth (8th) song, in live format, on the Severe Tire Damage album.

evah's picture
evah on August 8, 2005 - 02:18

i hate to resort to idiotic pop culture moments-
but this song is played at the end of an episode of the simpsons.
Yes, yes i also hate people who assume to be intellectual messiahs simply because they heard 2 lines of something in tv program
(knowing castons “its is a far better thing i do…” doesnt make you into a philosoper) nonetheles it does get the message out… even to todays image woshipping youth (lol anyone??)

Alyssa's picture
Alyssa on January 26, 2007 - 04:09

as an assignment for my chorus class, I was asked to look up if Charlottetown had actually burned down…if anyone knows the answer, please, feel free to email me. :)
Thanks
Aly

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