More Cowbell, By the Numbers
Ever since Will Ferrell played Blue Öyster Cult cowbell soloist Gene Frenkle in a SNL parody of Behind the Music, "more cowbell" has been galloping across the web and inundating our culture. (For a ridiculously straight-faced exploration of the phenomenon, check Wikipedia's "more cowbell" entry.)
Now there's no better arbiter of culture and taste than Google. And since they're bound to replace the Library of Congress within the next five years and the entire U.S. government within the next 10, we sure better listen to what they say. I conducted a Google search for "more cowbell" today and got an astonishing 3,100,000 hits. Sure, that doesn't compare to George Bush's 44,800,000 hits or Britney Spears' 34,000,000, but 3.1 million Google hits is heavy hitting on the web.
For the sake of comparison, you would need to combine the results for Rutherford B. Hayes, James Polk, James Garfield, William Howard Taft, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland and Zachary Taylor to equal the number of hits for "more cowbell" alone. That's a lot of mediocre presidents!
"More cowbell" has even outstripped its source material. Compare 3.1 million hits to 2,940,000 for Will Ferrell and 1,860,000 for Blue Öyster Cult. Poor producer Bruce Dickinson, played with trademark creepiness and panache by Christopher Walken, musters only 807,000 hits when you filter "Iron Maiden" (different guy—less cowbell, more fencing) out of the mix.
If we can trust Google as a fame-meter (and Google says we can, nay, must), "more cowbell" is about as famous as mid-echelon stars like Brittany Murphy (3.2 mil.) and Nick Lachey (3.4 mil.), and the cowbell didn't even have to marry Jessica Simpson. "More cowbell" even holds its own against another dominant craze in American Culture: American Idol. Check out these stats:
Kelly Clarkson—3,950,000Looks like America's calling out for a new idol! Here are a few more standards of comparison from my scientific-ish research that leave "more cowbell" looking pretty good:
Stephen Harper—2,440,000 (that's the new Prime Minister, moron!)
Queen Elizabeth II—1,840,000
Camilla Parker Bowles—730,000
Toni Morrison —1,740,000
Harold Bloom —1,010,000
William F Buckley Jr—867,000
Tchaikovsky—5,790,000And just in case you might think this is nothing more than a call for more percussion in general:
More Cowbell—3,100,000Whether you view all of this as a step forward or a step backward for world culture is a matter of personal taste. Don't be surprised, however, if your choice is what determines whether or not Google lines you up against a wall and shoots you when the revolution comes.
More Wood Block—470
More Jew's Harp—37
Update: I realize that the melodica is not a percussion instrument, but how often do you get to send a shout-out to the Hooters?