“One Day, One Night, Saturday’s Alright!”

Jim Gaulke sat down for a quick chat at the Bryn Mawr Coffee Shop. Brian Hazlett, the shop owner, put a lid on a to-go cup and followed suit. Both wore button-down shirts and jeans. Hazlett wore a baseball cap. Sipping coffee at the window table, they looked like decent, responsible citizens, family men even. But they are superstars, of a kind. For starters, Hazlett’s resume lists Prince and Carole King as references; Gaulke played the ill-fated state trooper who had his head blown off in the Coen brothers’ film Fargo.

These two longtime friends write songs under the name All Around Sound. And if you’ve lived in the Twin Cities (or any number of other major metropolitan areas), then it’s likely you’ll recognize their latest hit tune in ten notes or less. Ready?

Well played, reader! That’s “One Day, One Night, Saturday’s Alright,” the commercial jingle for National American University. NAU is a private community college with campuses in a number of cities, including Denver, Kansas City, Dallas, and Albuquerque. There are local campuses in Roseville, Brooklyn Center, and at the Mall of America. The jingle that Hazlett and Gaulke composed for NAU has had a shelf life now of three years and counting. It is frequently identified as a most insidious “ear worm”—a tune that gets into your head and will not get out. WCCO’s “Song Stuck” project lists it, and the folks at TC Punk, an angry online bulletin board of local hipsters, have suggested that only a gun to the head can eradicate the song.

As with most love-hate relationships, it started innocently enough. NAU wanted to advertise its offerings on television and hired the local duo to help out. “They gave us information on the program,” Gaulke said. “The magic of the whole thing is that you can be a student going only one night a week. So we started working on the lyrics and playing around with it. We found that our lyrics didn’t fit the meter that we were working in, so we hit a bunch of snags. But one morning I woke up at two A.M. and I had this little line. It came to me in the middle of the night.” Satisfied with the germ of the melody, they settled in for hours of fine tuning. Hazlett said, “It was so much damn work for a thirty-second song, because we did about seventeen different spots for it. We inserted different words. Like, ‘Get your degree/Massage ther-a-py,’ and so on.” Eventually they settled on a set of lyrics, hired KARE 11’s Minnesota Idol, Harmony LaBeff, to sing, and holed up in the studio to lay down the whole thing in wax.

Since that day, the song has spread like the flu and become more than a successful jingle. It’s become a piece of local color. Gaulke said, “My twelve-year-old daughter called me up from school and said, ‘Dad, you’re not going to believe it, but the kids are linking arms and skipping up and down the halls singing your song.” Similarly, Hazlett has a friend who, while working as a camp counselor last summer called to tell him that on the last day of camp, the only song that all three hundred of his teenage campers had in common was “One Day, One Night.”

“It’s thirty seconds that you actually hear it, but it’s stuck in your head the rest of the day,” said Gaulke. Hazlett said, “One of the best compliments we got was from a friend, a professional singer, who told us, ‘I know people complain because the song won’t get out of your head, but when it comes on the radio, I don’t turn the channel.’”

Aside from the dashboard drummers and shower stall sopranos, the song is receiving little appreciation. It seems the music community is not certain how to reward commercial songwriters. In fact, it appears they torment them a little, possibly because a particular strain of the arts community considers commercial art a “sellout.” On the brink of a cringe, Gaulke admitted that “certain personalities will just needle you when they find out you wrote that song.” But then he smiled devilishly. “We’ve got jingles that have never hit the airwaves that are still stuck in my head.” He broke into a rousing chorus: “You love to gorge on Papa George’s pure pork sausage!”—Sarah Sawyer