What's odd is that I've played this very song on some of the most recherche
keyboards on Earth: an Elizabethan spinet
? the Woolsey Hall
organ? as well as on toy keyboards in Wal-Mart
and gotten much the same response...what IS that melody, anyway? You sound SO good...
It's not even a melody. Transcribed for keyboards, it's easier than Chopsticks, and I've even programmed it into my cell phone: CCC(rest), BBB(rest),AAAAAAAA. Fleshed out, you simply add fifths to each note, and the singer's voice (under the chords, not over), which repeats the basic pattern.
My musicologist friend concurs that it's not 'just' a trivial pop song: it's a Moroccan folk song, that The Stooges latched onto in emulation of The Rolling Stones and Philip Glass, who were trying to divine just what music IS, a common obsession in those days. It speaks volumes that this simplest of all musical phrases -- three notes in natural minor -- can evoke such emotion even when picked out on an E-Z 2 Play Karioke Lite-Guide synthesizer, and heard two aisles away. If there is anything good about the production, it's that John Cale simply allowed the 'raw power' of the group to speak for itself, rather than tarting it up.
To my poetic mind, it sounds like the Dance of Shiva, the first atomic bomb, air become so warm and thick as to be like flesh....