McCafferty's Bib

From This Might Be A Wiki
Music video for "McCafferty's Bib"

song name McCafferty's Bib
artist They Might Be Giants
releases I Like Fun, Dial-A-Song (2018)
year 2018
run time 2:35
sung by John Linnell

People march with portraits of Bob Hope and Chairman Mao


I think there's only one point of reference that is not perfectly obvious in that song, which is a reference to a work of art by Öyvind Fahlström. He did this wonderful thing in the mid-'60s where he filmed a bunch of people walking down the street with huge placards of Chairman Mao and Bob Hope (laughing) which I think Flansburgh and I both really latched onto. It had an enormous influence over our stage design, which was sort of like Citizen Kane with these huge black and white photos. So the song makes a reference to that 'marching down the street with Bob Hope.' But otherwise it remains a willfully cryptic song. There's no real explanation for what McCafferty's Bib really is. It sounds like a euphemism or a reference to some occult thing. [...] It's just sort of a spooky reference to something for which there is no reference on the internet... it's an un-knowable thing. And that's really what the song is about, I guess.
  • The performance art piece by Öyvind Fahlström mentioned above also influenced TMBG's iconographic use of William Allen White's head as a cutout, as explained by Linnell in a 2015 interview with Bearded Magazine. Footage of Fahlström's march can be found on YouTube.
  • In July 2018, John Flansburgh noted that he "programmed the rhythm track that became the foundation of McCafferty's Bib (drums, percussion and that ring modulated triangle synth sound) using some of the same sounds we worked with on Rowboat Mayor."[2].
  • In an October 2018 interview with Metro, Flansburgh stated that McCafferty's Bib has "microtonal chords in it. John has this microtonal fixation. I'm a little bit more skeptical of how awesome micronality is, although it's an interesting fresh breeze...the way it's dealt with in the track is actually super vivid and not exactly hard on the ears. It's a fun musical song...I don't know of any popular music being made with microtonality right now. I guess we get a little bit of pleasure being a cultural Trojan Horse. We can bring in ideas that don't happen even on the left hand side of the dial!"[3]

Song Themes

Cities, Body Parts, Colors, Drugs, Hands, Heads, In Back, Mathematics, Microtones, Music, Numbers, Oblique Cliches Or Idiom, People (Real), Traded Tracks


  • Watch it on Youtube.png

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McCafferty's Bib is currently ranked #492 out of 1009. (66 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.27)