Videos

They Say It’s Your Birthday

Today, 9 October, would have been John Lennon‘s 78th birthday. Sadly, along with my favorite Beatle, George Harrison, he is no longer with us.

But let’s talk of music, and not sad things.  I have been trying to decide which is my favorite Lennon song. He’s written some of the best music of my generation. From All You Need Is Love, Cry Baby Cry, Dear Prudence to Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey and of course, the iconic Imagine.  And those are just a few. Here’s the Wiki page for a list of Beatles songs, and solo songs.

I’m stuck between two songs for my “favorite” Lennon tune. It’s almost impossible to pick just one song out of all of his stuff. The first track I’ve selected is Rain. This song was before it’s time. Although it uses the “standard” I – IV- V chord structure (in this case G – C – D), it has unusual features such as backwards vocal tracks.  From the Wiki article;

Rain has a simple musical structure. Set in the key of G major (the final mix pitches it about a quarter of a semitone below this, while the backing track was taped in G sharp), it begins with what Alan W. Pollack calls, “a ra-ta-tat half-measure’s fanfare of solo snare drums”, followed by a guitar intro of the first chord. The verses are nine measures long, and the song is in 4/4 time. Each verse is based on the G, C, and D chords (I, IV, and V). The refrain contains only I and IV chords, and is twelve measures long (the repetition of a six-measure pattern). The first two measures are the G chord. The third and fourth measures are the C chord. The third measure has the C chord in the so-called 6/4 (second) inversion. The fifth and sixth measures return to the G chord. Pollack says the refrain seems slower than the verse, though it is at the same tempo, an illusion achieved by “the change of beat for the first four measures from its erstwhile bounce to something more plodding and regular”. After four verses and two refrains, a short solo for guitar and drums is played, with complete silence for one beat. Following this, the music returns accompanied by what Pollack terms “historically significant” reverse lyrics. Musicologist Walter Everett cites this closing section as an example of how the Beatles pioneered the “fade-out–fade-in coda”, a device used again by them on Strawberry Fields Forever and Helter Skelter, and by Led Zeppelin on Thank You.

Allan Kozinn describes McCartney’s bass as “an ingenious counterpoint that takes him all over the fretboard … while Lennon and McCartney harmonize in fourths on a melody with a slightly Middle Eastern tinge, McCartney first points up the song’s droning character by hammering on a high G (approached with a quick slide from the F natural just below it), playing it steadily on the beat for twenty successive beats.”

Ringo Starr called it his best drumming ever recorded.

The other track and I would probably place it above Rain in my list is Hey Bulldog. This is from the Yellow Submarine soundtrack. It was cut from the USA release of the movie to shorten the time but was added back in for the 1999 re-release. When granddaughter-the-elder was an infant I would sing Yellow Submarine to her when she was fussy. Both granddaughters still love the song.

The biggest appeal for this song is that I can play the riff (along with the riff from Day Tripper). I know that’s not a good reason to call this a favorite, but it works for me. You can always make your own list!

So here on John’s birthday, I implore everyone to follow his advice, and “Give Peace A Chance”.

Have a different favorite of John’s? Tell me in a comment!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 5 October

This song has been going around and around for the better part of a month. I almost posted it before, but let it sit instead.  In the time that it’s been on hold, I found out some more cool things about the song.

First, it was written by Shel Silverstein, he of The Giving Tree, Where The Sidewalk Ends and so many other cartoons, books, albums, you name it.

It’s based on a true story. From the article on Songfacts;

In the song, Sylvia’s mother is Mrs. Avery, and while that wasn’t her real last name, the rest of the story – exaggerated a bit – was true. Silversteen told Rolling Stone in 1972: “I just changed the last name, not to protect the innocent, but because it didn’t fit. It happened about eight years ago and was pretty much the way it was in the song. I called Sylvia and her mother said, ‘She can’t talk to you.’ I said, ‘Why not?’ Her mother said she was packing and she was leaving to get married, which was a big surprise to me. The guy was in Mexico and he was a bullfighter and a painter. At the time I thought that was like being a combination brain surgeon and encyclopedia salesman. Her mother finally let me talk to her, but her last words were, ‘Shel, don’t spoil it.’ For about ten seconds I had this ego charge, as if I could have spoiled it. I couldn’t have spoiled it with a sledge hammer.”

It’s interesting to know that it was based on a true story because I always thought it could happen to me!

Dr. Hook is one of my favorite musicians. His style (and by that I mean the Medicine Show since there is no real Dr. Hook) has always intrigued me. And of course, the crazy hit (also penned by Shel Silverstein) The Cover Of  ‘Rolling Stone is absolutely hysterical! And it did land them on the cover.  Although only in caricature.

But back to our song, Silvia’s Mother.  I found two very humorous articles about the song. The first is from UnNews.

4 October 2008

Sylvia’s mother, Mrs. Avery, who famously prevented her daughter from continuing her relationship with eyepatch-wearing boyfriend Dr Hook, admitted yesterday to lying during the famous telephoneconversation.

For the first time in over 35 years, she came clean about the call that ended forever hopes of a reunion between Hook and Sylvia.

Yes, Sylvia’s mother lied. What a surprise.

The second is from Ultimate Classic Rock.  The article linked is an excerpt from Dear Mr. Pop Star, by English father-and-son team Derek and Dave Philpott.  This is a collection of Monty Python-like letters to artists and witty responses from a large number of targets. The book follows the project’s online success over the past 10 years.  It’s a “letter” written to Dr. Hook advising him what he should have done during the infamous phone call. The reply is written by Dr. Hook frontman Dennis Locorriere.  It’s quite entertaining. (Hint: Click the link above to read it…).

So that’s all I have for this entry.  Please enjoy the video, I have a feeling some folks may have never heard this track before.

Oh yeah, please leave your comments here if you can. Thanks!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 27 September

Neil wrote this song about the caretaker that “came with” a ranch he bought in 1970. He tells the whole story on the video below. As he’s quoted in wiki page about the song;

About that time when I wrote (“Heart of Gold“), and I was touring, I had also—just, you know, being a rich hippie for the first time—I had purchased a ranch, and I still live there today. And there was a couple living on it that were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avila and his wife Clara. And there was this old blue Jeep there, and Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep. He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, “Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?” And I said, “Well, just lucky, Louis, just real lucky.” And he said, “Well, that’s the darnedest thing I ever heard.” And I wrote this song for him.

I’ve always enjoyed Neil’s work. Some time ago I read where (but don’t remember exactly where) he was voted as one of the top 10 guitarists. I wouldn’t go quite that far. He is very skilled in his playing, but not top 10, at least not in my opinion. You can make up your own mind about that. And we won’t get into his singing other to ask “Who told him he could sing”?

Mr. Young was elected to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame (1982) and twice to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. First in 1995 for his solo work and again in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield.

This song speaks to me in the way it tells the title character that even younger folks have a lot of the same wants and needs. Some things just don’t change over time.

What do you think of this song or Neil Young? Leave a comment!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 11 September

Have a weird one running through my head this morning. Jesus Christ Superstar! Now I’ve posted about this before here.  I guess the reason this song is screaming at me is that the Live In Concert show has won several Emmys and the three lead performers are also nominated.

Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and John Legend (who plays the title character), along will all the other executive producers won the Outstanding Variety Special (Live), Emmy.  This makes all three of those gentlemen “EGOT”.  That means they have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony! Now that’s entertainment.

John is also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie, for his portrayal of Jesus Christ, Brandon Victor Dixon is nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie for his Judas, and the nominee for Outstanding Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie is Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene. You see all the nominations and awards for this amazing show here.

I have two questions about the awards. First, why use the term “Outstanding”? I never see any nominations much less any awards for “Mediocre” or “So – So” performances. (“And the award for the Meh Lead Actor goes to…”) Isn’t the “Outstanding” implied?  Second, why is “Jesus” listed as the lead actor? The story is told from Judas’ view, and Judas has a bigger stage part than “Jesus”. But I didn’t write the script, so I’ll leave it alone. I enjoy the music and the entire performance (except the movie – that sucked).

So here’s Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas;

Did you see this show or any performance of Jesus Christ Superstar? Give me your thoughts!

Peace,
B

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P.S. It’s Patriot Day – Never Forget.

countries-usa_patriotic_ribbon

DJ Tips

(Granted, techniques have changed since I was a DJ, but the basic idea of keeping the music and your comments as coherent as possible is timeless)

So yesterday as I was driving home from work (in the rain of course), listening to Classic Vinyl, and they played a clip of Graham Nash saying how underappreciated Stephen Stills is as a guitar player.  And I totally agree. Stephen, with his custom tunings, is an outstanding player. I love to listen to him play.

But here’s the issue. They play a clip about a guitar player and follow it up with what, Suite: Judy Blues Eyes, or maybe Southern Cross? Nope, they played Our House. Now don’t get me wrong, Our House is a wonderful song. But it’s a piano song – a guitar is not heard.

From the Wiki:

The song originates in a domestic event that took place while Graham Nash was living with Joni Mitchell (and her two cats) in her house on Laurel Canyon (Los Angeles), after they had gone out for breakfast and had bought an inexpensive vase on Ventura Boulevard. Nash wrote the song in an hour, on Mitchell’s piano.

In October 2013, in an interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air”, Nash elaborated:

Well, it’s an ordinary moment. What happened is that Joni [Mitchell] and I – I don’t know whether you know anything about Los Angeles, but on Ventura Boulevard in the Valley, there’s a very famous deli called Art’s Deli. And we’d been to breakfast there. We’re going to get into Joan’s car, and we pass an antique store. And we’re looking in the window, and she saw a very beautiful vase that she wanted to buy… I persuaded her to buy this vase. It wasn’t very expensive, and we took it home. It was a very grey, kind of sleety, drizzly L.A. morning. And we got to the house in Laurel Canyon, and I said – got through the front door and I said, you know what? I’ll light a fire. Why don’t you put some flowers in that vase that you just bought? Well, she was in the garden getting flowers. That meant she was not at her piano, but I was… And an hour later ‘Our House’ was born, out of an incredibly ordinary moment that many, many people have experienced.

 

So, to get back on topic here. When you talk about a great guitar player you probably shouldn’t play a piano song right after. No matter how good that piano song is.

So here’s a live version of Suite: Judy Blue Eyes for you. Have a great Labor Day weekend for us in the USA or just a fabulous weekend everywhere else!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 29 August

Actually, this song has been stuck in my head for two days now. I didn’t have time to post it yesterday. But that allows me to add something I heard on SiriusXM Classic Vinyl this morning.  Earle Bailey (the DJ) mentioned that this song was about Fats Domino, the legendary R&B artist. So I had to look that up. Not that I don’t trust Mr. Bailey, but I wanted confirmation.  Turns out, it is. Click here to read the wiki.

Peace,
B

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A Sad Day In Music History

27 August 1990 – the day Stevie Ray Vaughan died.

Son-the-younger was almost named for Stevie, but at the last-minute we changed it to honor his maternal grandfather.

From http://ultimateclassicrock.com/stevie-ray-vaughan-dies/

After the second of two shows on Aug. 26, everyone from Vaughan and Clapton’s bands and crews boarded four nearby helicopters to take them to Chicago. Vaughan himself was on a craft with Clapton’s agent, bodyguard and assistant tour manager. Reports indicate that there was fog and haze as they departed around 1 a.m. and attempted to fly over a 1,000-foot ski hill.

The helicopter didn’t make it — it veered to the left and crashed into the hill. Everybody on board was killed, including the pilot. An air patrol team wouldn’t locate the accident site until hours later. No drugs or alcohol were involved in the tragic crash. And contrary to rumors, Clapton did not hand over his seat to Vaughan.

One of my favorites of Stevie’s The Sky Is Crying

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 27 August

It’s a bit funny that I’m just adding this song to the series, as it’s almost always stuck in my head.

People generally associate this song with Vietnam. But according to Stephen Stills, it’s about “The Sunset Riots”. Seems that the folks that lived on and around sunset boulevard in L.A., were getting fed up with the kids that were hanging out at the clubs, cruising and just basically being kids. When the police started enforcing the law and probably not being very nice to the kids (what do I know? I grew up on the other coast, and was only about 9), the kids did what kids did in 1967. For the little I’ve been able to find about the riots, it wasn’t very nice.

The video isn’t the best quality, but I love the hat and outfit that Stephen is wearing in the beginning. Also off to the right is Neil Young in his signature jacket. Richie Furay is on the left sitting, Dewey Martin is handling the drums and Bruce Palmer on bass with his back to the camera.

So here is “For What It’s Worth”.

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 25 August

Today’s entry is an easy one. The opening guitar riff, played by Paul – not George, is stuck in my head on a lot of days. Plus I’m drinking my coffee from my “Rubber Soul” mug (I used the “Revolver” mug yesterday).

John listed this track in his “Worst 20 Beatles songs”, claiming it was all Paul and called it “the son of Day Tripper“, another song with a great guitar riff. Although recorded in 1966, and released as a single (hitting #1), it was not included on an album until “Hey Jude” which was released in 1970. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paperback_Writer)

So without further delay here is The Beatles! Geez.. I feel a little like Ed Sullivan…

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 24 August

It was a bit tough picking just one thing stuck in my head today. I’ve had lots of great songs running all around in my head (one of the nicer side effects of not sleeping). Everything from The Band’s The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, to Pat Travers and the old blues standard Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights).  But I just had to pick this one. Mainly because not only has it been playing in my head, I heard it on SiriusXM ClassicVinyl on the way in! It’s like kismet or something.

So here it is; It Don’t Come Easy by the one and only Ringo Starr.  You can file this under videos that have nothing to do with the song.

Please leave a comment (or if you’re part of my family – text me. Seems they can’t figure out the comment deal)…

Peace,
B

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