Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

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Istanbul (Not Constantinople) is a swing-style song, written by Jimmy Kennedy and Nat Simon. It is based on the music for "Puttin' on the Ritz", written by Irving Berlin in 1929.

It was originally performed by The Four Lads in a recording made on August 12, 1953. This recording was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 40082. It first reached the Billboard magazine charts on October 24, 1953, and it peaked at #10.

The song was later famously covered by the rock group They Might Be Giants, who released it on their LP Flood in 1990, and on its own EP that same year.

The lyrics humorously remind the listener the change of the name of the city Constantinople to the Turkish name of Istanbul, professing uncertainty about how and why the names of cities change.

[edit] Cultural uses

The They Might Be Giants version of the song was used for a music video in an episode of the animated children's series Tiny Toon Adventures.

An episode of The Simpsons in which Homer buys an RV with Marge's "scrimpings", features the TMBG version of the song when the family is invited on the deck of a Turkish Freighter upon which the RV landed.

The song was also featured in the 2003 film Mona Lisa Smile, and the Pierce Brosnan episode of Muppets Tonight.

The Duke's Men of Yale, an all-male a cappella group at Yale University, have sung the song at the end of most of their concerts for over fifty years.

In 2005, the song was featured in Konami's Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX 3, for Microsoft's Xbox console.

The song is also on the album "Bette Midler Live at Last."

They Might Be Giants
John Flansburgh | John Linnell
Dan Miller | Danny Weinkauf | Marty Beller
Brian Doherty | Dan Hickey | Graham Maby | Tony Maimone | Eric Schermerhorn
See Also: Dial-A-Song
Albums: They Might Be Giants | Lincoln | Flood | Apollo 18 | John Henry | Factory Showroom | Long Tall Weekend | Mink Car | No! | The Spine | Here Come the ABCs
EPs: Wiggle Diskette | 1985 Demo Tape | Don't Let's Start | (She Was A) Hotel Detective | They'll Need a Crane | Purple Toupee | Birdhouse in Your Soul | Istanbul (Not Constantinople) | The Statue Got Me High | The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) | I Palindrome I | Why Does The Sun Shine? (The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas) | O Tannenbaum | Back to Skull | S-E-X-X-Y | Working Undercover for the Man | Boss of Me | Man, It's So Loud in Here | They Might Be Giants in Holidayland | Bed, Bed, Bed | Indestructible Object | The Spine Surfs Alone
Live albums: Live!! New York City 10/14/94 | Severe Tire Damage | Live | The Spine Hits the Road | Almanac | Venue Songs
Compilations: Don't Let's Start | Miscellaneous T | Then: The Earlier Years | Best of the Early Years | They Got Lost | Dial-A-Song: 20 Years of They Might Be Giants | A User's Guide to They Might Be Giants | Venue Songs DVD/CD
"Don't Let's Start" | "Ana Ng" | "Birdhouse in Your Soul" | "Particle Man" | "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" | "Doctor Worm" | "Experimental Film"
Video Releases
Direct From Brooklyn | Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) | Here Come the ABCs DVD/CD | Venue Songs DVD/CD

Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

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