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Posts Tagged ‘pop music

“If you had a sign above every studio door saying ‘This Studio is a Musical Instrument’ it would make such a different approach to recording”*…

 

Sun-Studios-web-optimised-740

At 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, you’ll find a reconstruction of the legendary Sun Records studio (home to Howlin’ Wolf, BB King Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, anog others) complete with a recording studio where the likes of U2 and John Mellencamp have recorded. Photo: Paul McGuinness

 

When The Beatles were photographed in August 1969, striding over a zebra crossing in St John’s Wood, London, for the cover shot of their album Abbey Road  they were celebrating a building that had played an essential part in helping them take the music world by storm – and, in the process, turned Abbey Road into one of the most famous recording studios in the world.

The names of iconic recording studios – Sun, Muscle Shoals, Motown, Electric Lady, Trident, Sunset – have become almost as famous as the musicians who have created masterpieces at these venues.

Important recording studios are more than just bricks, mortar and audio equipment to musicians. The Rolling Stones named a song in honour of the Chess Records Studio and Sonic Youth acknowledged New York’s Echo Canyon Studios by naming their 12th studio album, Murray Street, in tribute to a site that had played a key role in their success…

A history of the recording and a celebration of some of music’s storied studios: “Sound Matters: A History Of Legendary Recording Studios.”

* Brian Eno

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As we hum along, we might recall that this date in 1963 was the “official” release date of Introducing… The Beatles, the Fab Four’s first U.S. album.  But confusion at Vee-Jay, the album’s label, delayed the actual release until January 10 of the following year…  one week before Capitol’s Meet the Beatles!.  The latter album, however, entered the U.S. album chart one week before the former. And so, while Meet The Beatles! peaked at No. 1 for eleven consecutive weeks, Introducing…The Beatles stalled at No. 2 where it remained nine consecutive weeks.

Coincidentally, it was on this same day (July 22, 1963) that The Beatles began their first U.K. tour (with Gerry and the Pacemakers) at the Odeon Cinema in Weston-Super-Mare.

introducing_the_beatles source

 

Written by LW

July 22, 2018 at 1:01 am

“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present”*…

 

The 13 most popular Christmas songs on Spotify, a music-streaming service, have amassed 1bn plays between them. The most popular of them, “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, written in 15 minutes and recorded by Mariah Carey in 1994, accounts for 210m of those plays. It has earned over $60m in royalties since its release.

Despite its ubiquity during December, the appeal of festive music varies significantly by geography. Spotify provided The Economist with data for Christmas listening across 35 countries, and for every American state, on a day-by-day basis for the two months leading up to Christmas Day 2016. The data demonstrate that music lovers in Sweden and Norway listen to festive tunes most frequently. One in every six songs they streamed on Spotify during December last year received this classification (the list includes some 1,500 Christmas songs performed in English and local languages). By contrast, during the same period in Brazil—a country with a comparable proportion of Christians—just one song in 150 was Christmas-themed. Listening habits in American states also vary, though to a smaller degree: in New Hampshire Christmas songs accounted for one in nine streams, whereas in Nevada, the state where such tunes are least common, it was one in 20…

Why?  Find out at “The music industry should be dreaming of a white Christmas.”

* Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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As we deck the halls, we might recall that it was on this date in 1957 that 55-year-old German accordionist Will Glahé outsold many established Rock And Roll artists when his “Liechtensteiner Polka” reaches #19 on the Billboard Pop chart. Glahé’s first success in America had come in June, 1939 when his rendition of “Beer Barrel Polka” hit the top of the US Hit Parade, selling over a million copies. (Your correspondent has no explanatory link for this one…)

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Written by LW

December 8, 2017 at 1:01 am

“A copy is a meta-original”*…

 

History tells us that Walter Benjamin, the influential German critic of literature, art, and culture, died more than seventy years ago. So how is it that he’s now out doing lectures and has published a new book?

The fascinating tale in its entirety at “An Investigation Into the Reappearance of Walter Benjamin.”

Conceived by an anthropologist of art and culture as a collection of recent texts by Walter Benjamin written between 1986 and the present, this book includes interviews by Beti Zerovc, Maxine Kopsa and Milo Rau as well as lectures including “Lenin and Coca-Cola,” “The Unmaking of Art” and “The Making of Americans.”

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[TotH to Tyler Hellard’s Pop Loser]

* Walter Benjamin

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As we celebrate simulacra, we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that “Sugar, Sugar” hit the top of the U.S. pop charts.  Written by Jeff Berry and Andy Kim as one of 16 musical segments performed by “The Archies” (a group of studio musicians) in the CBS “The Archie Comedy Hour,” the tune went on to become the number-one single of the year.

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Written by LW

September 20, 2014 at 1:01 am

“Life is a desire, not a meaning”*…

 larger version here

Mashable created a map of what each state wants (according to Google’s Autocomplete).

The resulting map reads like a list of New Year’s resolutions made by Civil War veterans. Did you know, for example, that more than anything, Wyoming evidently wants an aircraft carrier? Are you close enough to Wisconsin that residents revealed their secret wish to be called “The Mitten State?” Who could forget existential Florida, whose only desire is simply “to know.”

Check out the map below and see what Google thinks your state wants most. If your state happens to be blank, it’s because Google says it doesn’t want anything, which has to count for something, right?

Mashable’s map was inspired by the somewhat more existential work of of Tumblr user Gaysquib, who used Google’s auto-complete to determine what each state is

 larger version here

* Charlie Chaplin

[Update:  here is Europe autocompleted; and here is the Middle East and Asia]

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As we deliberate on desire, we might recall that it was on this date in 1964 that the Beatles occupied the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time, when “I Want to Hold Your Hand” reached #1.  It had already ascended to the pinnacle of the British charts:  indeed, with advance orders exceeding one million copies in the U.K., “I Want to Hold Your Hand” would ordinarily have hit the top of the British record charts on its day of release (November 29, 1963), but it was blocked for two weeks by the group’s first million-seller, “She Loves You.”  The release order was reversed in the U.S.: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” held the number one spot for seven weeks before being replaced by “She Loves You.”  It remained on the U.S. charts for a total of fifteen weeks, and became the Beatles’ best-selling single worldwide.

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Written by LW

January 25, 2014 at 1:01 am

“People still come up to me and ask me to sign their records. That’s right, records! Man, they don’t even make records no more!…”*

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Actually, they do– and the British music retailer Rough Trade is betting big on them.  Last week, Rough Trade opened a massive (15,000 square foot) store stocking some CDs and lots and lots of vinyl records.

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It took 20 employees and various friends and family members 30 hours, over three days, to stock the shelves with 23,000 discs and CDs in time for the store’s opening party– a process documented by Stephen Mallon for the New York Times:

 click image above, or here, for video

* The Rev. Al Green

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As we fish out our turntables, we might take a memorial moment to dangle our pinkies from the pier, in memory of the great Otis Redding; he died in a plane crash near Madison, Wisconsin on this date in 1967, at the age of 26.  Redding had left the studios of Stax/Volt Records in Memphis, planning to return to finish the song he’d been recording– he needed to replace the whistling track he’d used as a placeholder for lyrics he still needed to write.  But first he had to appear on a TV show in Cleveland, and perform a concert in Madison…  “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” was released in its “unfinished” form several weeks later. It became the first posthumous #1 hit and the biggest pop hit of Redding’s career.

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Written by LW

December 10, 2013 at 1:01 am

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