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Posts Tagged ‘pop music

“Life seemed nearest to acceptable at four a.m…”*

 

Passages from pop songs, clips from movies and TV Shows, literary lifts, and real-life reminiscences:  The Museum Of Four O’Clock In The Morning.

* Wally Lamb

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As we search for our slippers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1985 that the Miami Vice soundtrack, a mix of work by the show’s composer Jan Hammer and other artists’ songs used in the series, hit number one on the album chart, the “Billboard 200”– a position it held for 11 weeks.  Travel down memory lane: hear samples of each cut here.

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Written by LW

November 2, 2013 at 1:01 am

There but for the grace of God…

This (thankfully unexecuted) 1948 plan for traffic flow in San Francisco is one of the many fascinating specimens on Andrew Lynch’s Tumblr Hyperreal Cartography & The Unrealized City city planning maps collected from libraries, municipal archives, and dark corners of the internet, all memorializing metropolitan visions never actually instantiated.

[via MapLab; for a higher resolution version of the image above, which is courtesy of WalkingSF, click here]

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As we program our GPS units, we might recall that it was on this date in 1974 that Paper Lace’s “The Night Chicago Died” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  The tuneful tale of a (fictional) shoot-out between gangsters tied to Al Capone and the Chicago Police, the single was a follow-up to “Billy Don’t Be a Hero,” a #1 hit in the U.K. for Paper Lace (which wrote the song), but virtually unheard in the U.S. where Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods’ cover scooped the Paper Lace release, and reached #1.

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Written by LW

August 17, 2013 at 1:01 am

The Annals of Radical Juxtaposition: Bubbly Edition…

 

 artwork: shag

“Risque, Illicit and Adult” is RIAA’s 2007 collection – single tracks, compilation cuts, and miscellany, including such nuttiness asThe Violent Femmes “Blister In The Sun” mixed with “Smoke on the Water.” Not the Deep Purple original, but Senor Coconut’s kooky electro-Latin version.

RIAA: “Risque, Illicit and Adult”
(After clicking the above link, scroll down for a choice of downloading options. You may have to wait a few secs.)

1. I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend
2. Smoke on the Sun
3. Smells like your Muddah
4. Sexy Pipeline
5. sshhaakkee yyoouurruummpp
6. Everytime You Touch Titties
7. Pacifica Fish Dance
8. Revelation Fever
9. Down at Mississippi
10. The Harder They Party
11. Candy Enema Shok
12. (Models Gotta) Fight For Their Right (To Mambo)
13. Coming To Get Bloodstains
14. Wake Me Up When Sept 11 Ends
15. Mind Control CIA
16. Guess I’m Falling Into Bubbles
17. Walking on the Moog
18. Gristle Calypso
19. Lord Only Knows (with People Like Us)

TRACK SOURCES: 1. Avril Lavigne vs The Rubinoos 2. Senor Coconut vs Violent Femmes 3. Alan Sherman vs Nirvana 4. Lords of Acid vs The Chantays 5. Beastie Boys vs Reuben Wilson 6. Gravy Train!!! vs Moby vs Rusty Warren 7. Chemical Brothers vs Los Straitjackets 8. Peggy Lee vs Son House 9. Howlin Wolf vs. Violator & Doughbelly Stray 10. Manu Dibango vs Rocker’s Revenge 11. Village People vs Wayne Newton (title is an anagram of “Danke Shoen” and “YMCA.” ) 12. Beastie Boys vs Tito Puente vs Kraftwerk 13. Agent Orange vs The Who Boys 14. Rudolph Giuliani vs Green Day vs Nader (winner of the Remix Rudy contest!) 15. Stone Roses, Curtis Mayfield, The Last Poets vs tv documentary “Mind Control: America’s Secret War” 16. Velvet Underground vs U.S. Army Airborne 17. The Police vs Fred Weinberg 18. Throbbing Gristle vs Kon Tiki steel drum band 19. George Harrison vs Beach Boys vs My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult (with People Like Us)
Additional beats and sounds: RIAA

More, at Music for Maniacs!! (“Bothering normal people since 2004”).  And TotH to Dangerous Minds, where Marc Campbell added  video to Track 16, above, and created this marvelous mash-up:

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As we march to a different drummer, we might recall that it was on this date in 1996 that “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” began its record-setting run (14 weeks) at #1 on the pop charts.  Still a favorite at weddings and parties-of-a-certain-sort, “Macarena” is the #1 “Greatest One-Hit Wonder of all Time” (per VH1), ranks at #5 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100, #1 on Billboard’s All Time Latin Songs, #1 dance song, and is one of only five foreign language songs to hit #1 since 1995’s modern rock era began.

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Written by LW

August 3, 2012 at 1:01 am

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“It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it”*…

The Cold War was a pretty gloomy period, what with nuclear holocaust hanging over everyone’s heads.  But as CONELRAD: Atomic Platters points out, the purveyors of pop culture did their best to find purpose (even pleasure) in the panic…

Every art form had to deal with the arrival of the atomic age in one manner or another. Some artists were reserved and intellectual in their approach, others less so. The world of popular music, for one, got an especially crazy kick out of the Bomb. Country, blues, jazz, gospel, rock and roll, rockabilly, Calypso, novelty and even polka musicians embraced atomic energy with wild-eyed, and some might argue, inappropriate enthusiasm. These musicians churned out a variety of truly memorable tunes featuring some of the most bizarre lyrics of the 20th century. If it weren’t for Dr. Oppenheimer’s creation, for example, would we have ever heard lines like “Nuclear baby, don’t fission out on me!” or “Radioactive mama, we’ll reach critical mass tonight!”?

Consider, for example…

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Jesus Is God’s Atomic Bomb: Swan’s Silvertone Singers [1950]


Purcel Perkins, the otherwise unknown composer of Jesus Is God’s Atomic Bomb, takes the atomic divinity metaphor that is prevalent in some other Bomb songs to the next level (or one might even say, the highest level) and in so doing provides this box set with one of its most memorable titles. For a person of faith, and clearly this song was originally intended for a gospel audience, the metaphor is certainly an apt one…

Have you heard about the blast in Japan
How it killed so many people and scorched the land
Oh, yes
Oh, it can kill your natural body
But the Lord can kill your soul
That’s why I know Jesus
Oh, Jesus is God’s–I declare–atomic bomb
Oh, yes

Jesus is God’s atomic bomb
Proudest papa that ever was
Jesus is God’s, His atomic bomb
Shook the grave, causing death to rise
Yes, God shook the grave, child
Put old death on a rock
Through trials and tribulation
Lord when it was done
That’s why I know Jesus
Yes, is my God, His atomic bomb

Or this patriotic ditty…

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Mr. Khruschev: Bo Diddley [1962]


The genre of Cold War music could be considered complete without this track featuring Bo Diddley weighing in with a number performed with his trademark beat. This song, sung in the cadence of a drill instructor, pledges solidarity with President Kennedy and serves as a musical warning to the Soviet Premier…

(Hut 2, 3, 4, hut 2, 3, 4, hut 2, 3, 4, hut, 2, 3, 4)

I think I want to go to the army (Hut 2, 3, 4)
I think I want to go overseas(Hut 2, 3, 4)
I want to see Khrushchev (Hut 2, 3, 4)
I want to see him all by myself (Hut 2, 3, 4)

Refrain: Hey, Khrushchev (Hey, Khrushchev)
Hey, Khrushchev (Hey, Khrushchev)
Hey, Khrushchev (Hey, Khrushchev)
Hey, Khrushchev (Hey, Khrushchev)

He don’t believe that water’s wet
If he did he could’ve stopped those tests (Hut 2, 3, 4)
JFK can’t do it by his self (Hut 2, 3, 4)
C’mon fellas, let’s give him a little help (Hut 2, 3, 4)

Refrain
We as Americans to understand (Hut 2, 3, 4)
We got to unite and protect our land
We got to keep us on alert (Hut 2, 3, 4)
To keep our families from getting hurt

Refrain

We fightin’ over a six-wheel bus
My bald-headed crew just parked on up

Refrain

Hut, 2, 3, 4, yeah! (Drill chatter) Get in line there! Lord have mercy! Get inline and walk right! Your mom can’t help you now! Ain’t nothing like home!…

Dozens more at CONELRAD: Atomic Platters.

[TotH to EWW and Ploughshares]

* Response to Dick Clark during one of American Bandstand‘s “Rate-a-Record” segments

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As we check the use-by dates on the canned food in our fall-out shelters (appropriately enough on Proust’s birthday), we might recall that it was on this date in 1948 that Miss P. Bedrosova, an instructor at the Leningrad Trade Institute, argued in Izvestia that “foreign” names for Soviet pastries– e.g., “melba,” “parfaits,” “eclair”… and “madeleine”– should be banned.  The French, German, Italian and English names under which Soviet sweets were being sold were introduced in pre-revolutionary Russia, together with the recipes and machinery for making them.  Now that the Russians are able to run the machines and make the recipes themselves, she argued, the foreign names should be discarded.

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Written by LW

July 10, 2012 at 1:01 am

The British, Invaded…

The Red Navy Singers, Dancers & Musicians bringing down the Iron Curtain with their version of  “Let It Be” on a goodwill tour in Cardiff in 1989

click here for video

… and click here for 14 other so-dreadful-they’re-delightful perversions of the works of The Lads from Liverpool at Open Culture’s “The 15 Worst Beatles Cover Songs.”  William Shattner, Sean Connery, Mrs. Miller, Tiny Tim, Mae West, Wing (by all means, do check out Wing!)– the hits just keep on comin’!

[TotH to Pop Loser]

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As we reconsider Muzak and Mantovani, we might recall that it was on this date in 1963 that Japanese crooner Kyu Sakamoto became the first (and so far, the only) artist to #1 hit on the American pop charts with a song sung entirely in Japanese.  originally titled “Ue O Muite Aruk” (roughly, “I look up when I walk”), an American record company executive retitled Sakamoto’s ballad “Sukiyaki.”  (see/hear it here.)

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Written by LW

June 15, 2012 at 1:01 am

So it went…

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In the late 70s, Tony Wilson— who would go on to co-found Factory Records (the seminal independent label that embodied “The Manchester Sound”) and The Hacienda (the warehouse-based club that was the birthplace of the rave)– hosted a tea-time television show called So It Goes.

A weekly arts/culture/music series, the program’s passion was emerging new pop music…  which in those days meant Punk and New Wave.

The Way We Were is a Channel 4 (UK) retrospective first broadcast circa 1984.– a compilation of performances by bands performing on So It Goes– many of them making their TV debuts: Sex Pistols, Clash, Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop, The Fall, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Penetration, Wreckless Eric, Ian Dury, Tom Robinson, Magazine, John Cooper Clarke, XTC and Joy Division…

[TotH to Richard Metzger and his essential Dangerous Minds for the lead to TWWW]

As we slam dance down memory lane, we might recall that it was on this date in 1976– as we in the U.S. were beginning our Bi-Centennial Day celebrations– that the Clash gave their first public performance: they opened for the Sex Pistols at The Black Swan in Sheffield, England.  As U2 guitarist The Edge later wrote, “This wasn’t just entertainment. It was a life-and-death thing….It was the call to wake up, get wise, get angry, get political and get noisy about it.”

The Clash, 1976 (source)

The Sincerest Form of Flattery, Part Three: Got You Covered…

 

Readers will recall Europe’s “The Final Countdown” (brilliantly mashed up with “Smells Like Teen Spirit”); now, via Cover Song Archive (“a collection of songs you know, by people you don’t”)…

 

As we limber our fingers, we might wish an orderly Happy Birthday to agronomy pioneer Jethro Tull; he was born in Basildon in Berkshire on this date in 1674.  While probably best remembered for inventing the horse-drawn plow (around 1701), he is arguably more important for his promotion of sowing seeds in rows rather than “broadcast” (simply throwing them around), so that weeds could be controlled by hoeing regularly between the rows.  To this end, Tull invented a seed drill, which could plant three rows at a time: a  rotary hopper distributed a regulated amount of seed; a blade cut a groove in the ground to receive the seed; then the soil was turned over to cover the sewn seed.  Because of its internal moving parts, the seed drill has been called the first “agricultural machine”; in any case, its rotary mechanism became standard for all sowing devices that followed.

source: Royal Berkshire History

 

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