Who was the first artist to put part of a song title in parentheses? I'd love to know who to blame. It's a phenomenon that pops up across genres and generations, and most frequently seems unnecessary. Of course, exceptions do exist.
At its most superfluous it just cages off what easily could have been part of the title without parentheses ("Lubie Come Back Home" works just as well, says I). Other times an artist may be using parentheses to express a matter of extent ("Yes, it's Voodoo Chile, but we do it with a slight return" or "Oh yeah, the girl was Knee Deep, but it's MORE than that."). The parentheses are sometimes used in attempt to wax poetic ("Sometimes it's Mothering and sometimes it's Smothering, don't you know" or "She's my Summer Babe, but this is the Winter version, or something.") or even deliver narrative ("This is a song about Lazy Susan, who, at the time this song takes place, happens to be with a client.") in song title.
Here's a playlist to put on and ponder the role of the parenthesis in modern music.Parenthetical Playlist
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) - Stevie Ray Vaughan
Lazy Susan (With A Client Now) - Charlie Hunter Trio
Lubie (Come Back Home) - The Who
Summer Babe (Winter Version) - Pavement
(S)Mothering and Coaching - Guided By Voices
(Not Just) Knee Deep - Funkadelic
P.S. Is it just me, or is anyone else getting odd behavior from the playlist link maker in Rhapsody today? The default method produced a blank text box this morning, so I had to email this list to myself and hardcode the link.