Amoeba: noun (pl. amoebas or amoebae) a microscopic single-celled animal which is able to change shape — ORIGIN from Greek amoibe ‘change, alternation’.
Don’t have to humble yourself to me
I ain’t your judge or your king
And baby, you know you ain’t no Queen of Sheba
And we may not even have our dignity, no
This could be just a prideful thing
But baby, we can choose – you know,
We ain’t no amoebas
(John Hiatt, ‘Thing Called Love’)
Veteran blues rocker John Hiatt has been cranking out songs for decades now, seldom achieving a level of fame and fortune commensurate with his considerable talent. I first started listening to Hiatt after hearing his 1993 album Perfectly Good Guitar, which had been produced with a rawer, grungier sound to appeal to a youthful market, but the core of his songwriting ability drew me on to his more conventional recordings. At last count he’s released 18 albums, and his career hasn’t taken off for want of recognition in all the right places. His songs have been covered by multitudes of singers, including Bob Dylan (Hiatt says the royalties from Bonnie Raitt’s cover of Thing Called Love have put two of his children through college) and his 1987 song Have A Little Faith In Me is rightly regarded as a modern classic.
Hiatt’s songs often display his wry sense of humour, as in this performance of Thing Called Love, a track from the seminal Bring The Family album that also featured Have A Little Faith In Me. You have to hand it to a writer who can fit the word ‘amoeba’ into a song, particularly when it’s rhymed with ‘Queen of Sheba’! Here he is performing the track with Lyle Lovett on Saturday Night Live in February 2009: