Just got back from hearing Beethoven’s 33 Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli performed by Andras Schiff. It is a marvelously obsessive piece, which takes a fairly simple theme and expands, contracts, and spins it into something which seems to straddle the fence between music and what I suspect might have been Beethoven reflecting on his view of infinity.  What makes it brilliant music is that you can hear his mind talking (if that makes any sense).

Earlier I found three variations on a poignant (and IMO beautiful) theme from 1966. Nowhere nearly as varied as Beethoven’s, but they’re simply three groups’ versions of the same song — You Baby –by P.F. Sloan.

The Turtles did it first. I like the live version because of the fish in the aquarium in the foreground (and the female mannequins holding spear guns in the background):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0p5wB0l0BQ

Here’s the Mamas and the Papas version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbPZD0gVvzE

And finally, the Grass Roots version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RlTcO9NkAw

I remember the song so well that it makes me feel old.

MORE: If you like ancient music, check this out.