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Posts Tagged ‘Eric Clapton

Tottering Towers…

From The Economist:

The British Parliament’s Clock Tower (more commonly known as Big Ben) is leaning north-west by 0.26 degrees, or 17 inches (43.5cm), according to documents that were recently made public. But Big Ben isn’t alone; architects have been correcting the Leaning Tower of Pisa since the 1170s when it was still being built. Germany’s Leaning Tower of Suurhusen, which at an angle of 5.19 degrees holds the Guinness World Record for the most tilted tower in the world, dates back to the 1450s. In modern times, many buildings have been designed at a deliberate slant. The 165-metre Montréal Tower, finished in 1987, is the world’s tallest man-made leaning tower and inclines at a 45-degree angle. In 1996, the Puerta de Europa in Spain was completed with two towers sloping towards each other at a 15-degree angle. Late this year the Capital Gate is set to be finished in Abu Dhabi at a slant of 18 degrees.

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As we hum “Lean on Me” to ourselves, we might send soulful birthday greetings to Robery Leroy Johnson; he was born on this date in 1911.  A master of the Mississippi Blues, Johnson’s guitar work and vocals have been hugely influential: he ranks fifth on Rolling Stone‘s list of all-time greatest guitarists, and is cited by Eric Clapton as “the most important blues singer that ever lived.”  But this regard developed posthumously; during his lifetime, Johnson was effectively unknown– an itinerant, playing juke joints and street corners.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that a legend has arisen around Johnson: as a young boy committed to music, he was “instructed” to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. There he was met the Devil who, after bargaining for Johnson’s soul, took the guitar, tuned it, played a few songs, and then returned it– giving Johnson his otherwordly mastery of the instrument.

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Written by LW

May 8, 2012 at 1:01 am

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!…

Michael Deal, a Brooklyn-based graphic designer, has created “Charting the Beatles“:

These visualizations are part of an extensive study of the music of the Beatles. Many of the diagrams and charts are based on secondary sources, including but not limited to sales statistics, biographies, recording session notes, sheet music, and raw audio readings.

Consider, for example, “Authorship and Collaboration” (based on authorial attributions quantified by William J. Dowlding in the book Beatlesongs):

See Mike’s other nifty infographics e.g., (Self-Reference, Song Keys) here.  And check out the “open source” collection of Beatles charts and graphs that Mike has solicited here…  where one will find your correspondent’s favorite:

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Many thanks to reader MH-H for the lead.

As we tap our toes, we might recall that on this date in 1964 Tollie Records (the fourth label to release a Beatle’s disc in the U.S.) released “Twist and Shout” (B-side: “There’s a Place”); it went on to spend 11 weeks on the Billboard chart, rising as high as #2.

Across the Pond on this very same day, George Harrison met Patty Boyd, his future wife (and the inspiration for Eric Clapton’s “Layla”), while filming the train sequence for A Hard Day’s Night.

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