Why Does The Sun Shine? (Live STD)

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Music video for "Why Does The Sun Shine? (Live STD)"


Screenshot from the Nickelodeon KaBlam! video

song name Why Does the Sun Shine? (The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas)
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Severe Tire Damage, Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants, TMBG Clock Radio
year 1998
run time 2:16
sung by John Flansburgh, with John Linnell reciting facts


Trivia/Info

  • This rocking version of the song has a completely different feel than the mellow and slow-paced 1993 studio recording. The rock version is typically the only one performed at concerts.
  • A portion of this song was used on a "Verb" commercial for Cartoon Network.
  • When introducing the rocking version of this song at a show, John Flansburgh has been known to announce, "We want you to want the sun!" which is a reference to Cheap Trick's I Want You To Want Me.
  • Occasionally in live shows, this song is sung with British or "pirate" accents.
  • During live shows, the part about the nuclear reactions is almost always changed. Presented here are just a few variations:
    • Scientists have found that the sun is a huge atom-smashing machine. The heat and light from the sun come from the nuclear reaction between oxygen, hydrogen, helium, and hydrogen. (From Dial-A-Song performance)
    • The heat and light from the sun are caused by the nuclear reaction between hydrogen, helium, oxygen, estrogen, and hair. (From a guest appearance on Nick Rocks, 1985)
    • You know, Frank, scientists have found that the sun is a huge atom-smashing machine. The heat and light from the sun are caused by the nuclear reaction between hydrogen and you, Frank O'Toole. (From performance on the Frank O'Toole Show, 1987)
    • Scientists have found that the sun is a huge atom-smashing machine. The heat and light from the sun come from the nuclear reaction between hydrogen, nitrogen, helium, carbon, boron, chloron, fluoron, moron, and estrogen. (Unknown)
    • The heat and light from the sun come from the nuclear reaction between estrogen, estrogen, estrogen, and more estrogen. (Often, 2000-2001)
    • The heat and light from the sun come from the nuclear reaction between estrogen, estrogen, estrogen, and aluminum foil. (Show at the Recher Theatre, Towson, Maryland, 2001)
    • The heat and light of the sun are caused by a reaction between Long Island, Staten Island, Rikers Island, and Roosevelt Island (Central Park show, 8/15/2002. After the song, Flans added - "I wish I could've fit City Island into it, but I couldn't figure out how to do five.")
    • During the latter term of George W. Bush's presidency, Flansburgh had been saying "The heat and light from the sun are caused by the nuclear reaction between a failed foreign policy, a failed domestic policy, and a failed presidency."
    • At the Crazy Donkey show in October 2008, it was stated that the heat and light from the sun come from the nuclear reactions between Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk (counties)! They then proceeded to forget which county the venue was in (Suffolk).
  • The part about what's a gas on the sun is also frequently changed. Variations follow.
    • The sun is so hot that everything on it is a gas: aluminum, copper, iron, wood, and hair. (from a guest appearance on Nick Rocks, 1985)
    • Ladies and gentlemen, on the surface of the sun, everything is a gas. The Pontiac Vibe, the Ford Focus, even that beautiful Mini. They're all a total gas. On the sun. - Central Park show, 8/15/2002
    • There was a version which used various kinds of aromatherapy oils, like patchouli and lavender. (Show at Sheffield University, November 2001)
    • At the XPN Singer/Songwriter Festival in Philadelphia, PA on 7/20/03, things on the sun that were a gas included patchouli oil, hemp, gimp, kilns, and crystals (a jab at the mostly "hippie" crowd at the show).
    • At the Harrisburg show in 2002, included among what was a gas on the sun was "kilns...even kilns, that get up to five thousand degrees".
    • On the Florida leg of their 2002 tour, the list of gaseous things on the sun included ducks and guitars.
    • The sun is so hot that everything on it is a gas like our tour manager Brendan Hoffman. (This refers to the fire-eating routine that Hoffman performed during the song, as seen in the bonus video on the Direct From Brooklyn DVD (from an April 6, 2002 concert at Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH).
    • Balsa wood has also been mentioned as an item that is a gas on the sun.
  • An animated music video for this song was shown on the Nickelodeon TV show "KaBlam!" in 1999, along with Doctor Worm. The video was created by Brian O'Connell and Richard O'Connor, who both later went on to form the production company, Asterisk.

Song Themes

Educational, Precious Metal, Questions, Science, Size, Space, Title Not In Lyrics, TMBG Remakes

Videos

  • Watch it on Youtube.png - Animated music video from the Nickelodeon TV show, KaBlam! (circa 1999)

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Why Does The Sun Shine? (Live STD) is currently ranked #59 out of 844. (38 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.95)