April 20th, 2012
03:32 PM ET
The late Levon Helm, who died Thursday, had a wonderfully distinctive voice, but his drawling delivery didn’t always make it easy to discern the words of The Band’s songs – which only added to the music’s charm.
Nevertheless, with Helm’s passing, an old debate has once again flared up: In “The Weight,” is the lyric “Take a load off, Annie” or “Take a load off, Fanny”? In our obituary of Helm, we went with “Annie,” but the CNN newsroom has divided into factions passionately defending one or the other.
The Internet, the world’s biggest game of Telephone, is little help. Some lyrics sites say the former; others go with the latter. The unofficial Band site goes with “Fanny," and has a terrifically detailed list of reasons why – including an explanation featuring an old girlfriend and her pregnancy (or was it venereal disease?).
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