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Some mesmerizing music to remember Dr. Mesmer

Let’s hear it for Dr. Franz Mesmer, the infamous Austrian physician considered in some circles as the Father of Hypnosis. He was born this month in 1734. Unfortunately, his unusual techniques and claims of “animal magnetism” ultimately led to professional disgrace.

His mesmerizing name lives on, though, so, how about some hypnotic and/or mesmerizing songs to remember the man? Here are a few of my favorites. And, of course, I’d love to hear about your favorites, too, in the Comment section below.

Who better than the Mayo Clinic to explain the workings of hypnosis in layman’s terms? 

And who better to push the serious side of hypnosis way over the edge than director/writer Mike Judge, the “Beavis and Butt-Head” creator who captured a giant slice of the corporate world’s craziness in his 1999 movie “Office Space”?

Let’s start with a snippet from the film’s hypnosis scene. The whole scene isn’t available online, but this amateur re-creation covers the key scene.  

 And then we’ll move on to the music — three hypnotic songs from three mesmerizing women:

• Tracy Chapman’s intense “Fast Car.”

• Sade’s smooth “Smooth Operator.”

• Anita Baker’s soaring “Sweet Love.”

• And two compelling songs from Enya: “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)” and “Only Time.”

And then let’s check out five wide-ranging songs covering very diverse singers and styles:

Ballad: The Little Dippers’ “Forever.”

Blues-tinged: J.J. Cale’s “Magnolia.”

Folk: The Weavers’ version of “(Bring Me a Little Water) Sylvie.”

Pop: Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner.”

Rhythm and blues: The Floaters’ soulful background chant in “Float On.”

And we’ll end with two songs with great guitar riffs:

• Neil Young’s subdued, haunting “Harvest Moon.”

• And Fleetwood Mac’s driving “Gypsy,” with the marvelous Stevie Nicks.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Tim Walker on 05/13/2011 - 09:34 am.

    Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, “I Put a Spell On You”

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/13/2011 - 11:24 am.

    Man, what a disappointment. This is good music but the connection with Mesmer is way bogus. I thought you were going to write about the fact that Mesmer invented the Glass Harmonica (which he did). Bach wrote music for it and the Beach Boys used one in “Good Vibrations”.

  3. Submitted by Wayne Swickley on 05/13/2011 - 12:30 pm.

    Sorry, but I can’t hear any glass harmonica on “Good Vibrations.” I hear a Theramin, though.

    The most mesmerizing record I have is “Sonic Seasonings” by Walter (Wendy) Carlos (1972). Just put it on and float away.

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