Beyoncé's "TEXAS HOLD 'EM" Sort of Sounds Like Bruce Cockburn's 'Franklin' Theme

"There's a turtle / In my city"

Photos: Daniel Keebler (left), Nelvana Ltd. (centre), Columbia Records (right)

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Feb 23, 2024

Beyoncé's "TEXAS HOLD 'EM" recently raced its way to the top of the country charts in historic fashion, but the Act II single has some listeners thinking of tempos slower and steadier — like that of a turtle named Franklin, perhaps.

This week, Beyoncé listeners on social media felt that the opening of "TEXAS HOLD 'EM" bore a striking similarity to that of "Hey, It's Franklin!" — the main title theme of the Franklin television series written and performed by celebrated Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist Bruce Cockburn.

With the single already boasting a Canadian co-writer, chatter of the popular music icon tapping into Canadian children's television nostalgia would eventually reach hosts at Vancouver's 94.5 Virgin Radio. Seeking to find just how well the sounds of the Texas native and the turtle TV series fit together, the station's Amy Spencer and DJ Flipout cut Cockburn's isolated vocals together with a snippet of "TEXAS HOLD 'EM" to incredible results.

As similar as they sound, the opening melody of "TEXAS HOLD 'EM" clearly isn't a direct sample or interpolation of the Franklin theme, and it's unlikely that "jaunty strings in D major" is enough to earn Cockburn a co-write on Beyoncé's latest. But it's undeniably another odd moment of Canadian crossover for Queen Bey — like the time Ottawa punk was mispressed to her Lemonade vinyl.

You can compare and contrast both "TEXAS HOLD 'EM" and "Hey, It's Franklin!" in the players below.

Cockburn wrote and performed title themes for both the original Franklin series and its CGI successor Franklin and Friends, both based on the Franklin the Turtle books by Brenda Clark and Paulette Bourgeois. 

In another Canadian musical connection, the first five seasons of the former series saw the titular reptile voiced by singer-songwriter and Schitt's Creek star Noah Reid.

Act II, Beyoncé's follow-up to 2022 Renaissance, has yet to receive a release date.

Cockburn, meanwhile, is touring this spring behind last year's O Sun O Moon with six performances set for Ontario in May.


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