(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘rock music

Just let me hear some of that rock and roll music…

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… and not just any old way you choose it, but selected and explicated by that master of American music– both classical and popular– Leonard Bernstein:

Inside Pop – The Rock Revolution is a CBS News special, broadcast in April 1967. The show was hosted by Leonard Bernstein and is probably one of the first examples of pop music being examined as a “serious” art form. The film features many scenes shot in Los Angeles in late 1966, including interviews with Frank Zappa and Graham Nash, as well as the now-legendary Brian Wilson solo performance of “Surf’s Up.”

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As we tap our toes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1859 that Paul Morphy, an American chess prodigy who became the world’s leading  grandmaster, just returned from a competitive tour of Europe, gave up the game.  Morphy was so dominant that he’d taken to spotting his opponents– other masters and grand masters– a pawn and a move, or playing blindfolded… or both.  After reviewing his games, Bobby Fischer considered Morphy so talented as to be “able to beat any player of any era if given time to study modern theory and ideas.”  And Marcel Duchamp, who abandoned art to become a chess expert, found inspiration in Morphy’s open style and opportunistic strategy in crafting his theory of the endgame…  which means that Morphy was indirectly a contributor to Duchamp’s friends and collaborators Samuel Beckett (whose Endgame is rooted in Duchamp’s thinking) and John Cage (with whom, in 1968, Duchamp played at a concert entitled “Reunion;” music was produced by a series of photoelectric cells underneath the chessboard).

Morphy’s retirement from chess (an amateur’s game in those days) came the day after he was hailed by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes as “the World Chess Champion” at a banquet in Morphy’s honor attended by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Louis Agassiz, Boston mayor Frederic W. Lincoln, Jr., Harvard president James Walker, and other luminaries.  Morphy attempted then to start a law practice, but was side-tracked by the outbreak of the Civil War.  Still, with the resources of a family fortune, he lived comfortably in New Orleans until his death in 1884 in the ancestral mansion– the site today of Brennan’s Restaurant (at which, your correspondent suspects, several readers have breakfasted).

Morphy at the board (source)

Your correspondent is a few too many time zones away to allow for timely posting of a new missives; so this is a note from an April 30 past; regular service should resume May 6

Just let me hear some of that Rock And Roll Music…

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Metallica + The Smiths = Iron Maiden

Weezer – Air Supply = Grateful Dead

(Europe + Asia) x Foreigner = Outkast

Rage Against the Machine + Florence + The Machine = System of a Down

The Cars + Flo Rida + Boston + Chicago + Kansas = Journey

More Band Math at McSweeney’s.

 

As we tap our toes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1977 that then-emerging musician Elvis Costello bit the hand that feeds him.  Dangerous Minds reports:

Elvis Costello and The Attractions appeared on Saturday Night Live on December 17, 1977 as a last minute replacement for The Sex Pistols, who had run into problems getting into the USA because of some prior legal hassles in the UK. Costello’s performance on SNL would become the stuff of rock and roll legend.

Costello’s record label, Columbia, wanted him to perform “Less Than Zero”, the first single from his as yet unreleased (in the U.S.) debut album My Aim Is True. Elvis wanted to perform “Radio Radio,” his attack on corporate control of the airwaves – a punk move that would have been in the spirit of The Pistols. Columbia disapproved of the idea and SNL producer Lorne Michaels allegedly told Costello, on orders from his employer NBC, to not perform “Radio Radio.”

Come show time, the band started playing “Less Than Zero” and then abruptly stopped and shifted into “Radio Radio.” At the end of the tune, they defiantly walked off the set.

Michaels was furious. According to first hand accounts, he was flipping Costello the bird through the entire performance. Michaels ended up banning Costello from ever performing again on SNL. The ban lasted 12 years, which in TV years is an eternity.  SNL  was an essential promotional venue for jacking up a band’s record sales. Costello bit the hand that was supposed to feed him even before he even got a nibble of commercial success. In the long run, it didn’t stop him from becoming one of rock’s enduring forces.

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Written by LW

December 17, 2011 at 1:01 am

Special Summer Cheesecake Edition…

From Flavorwire, “Vintage Photos of Rock Stars In Their Bathing Suits.”

(Special Seasonal Bonus: from Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton to Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald, “Take a Dip: Literary Greats In Their Bathing Suits.”)

As we reach for the Coppertone, we might might wish a soulful Happy Birthday to musician Isaac Hayes; he was born on this date in 1942.  An early stalwart at legendary Stax Records (e.g., Hayes co-wrote and played on the Sam and Dave hits “Soul Man” and “Hold On, I’m Coming”), Hayes began to come into his own after the untimely demise of Stax’s headliner, Otis Redding.  First with his album Hot Buttered Soul, then with the score– including most famously the theme– for Shaft, Hayes became a star, and a pillar of the more engaged Black music scene of the 70s.  Hayes remained a pop culture force (e.g., as the voice of Chef on South Park) until his death in 2008.  (Note:  some sources give Hayes birth date as August 20; but county records in Covington, KY, his birthplace suggest that it was the 6th.)

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Your correspondent is headed for his ancestral seat, and for the annual parole check-in and head-lice inspection that does double duty as a family reunion.  Connectivity in that remote location being the challenged proposition that it is, these missives are likely to be in abeyance for the duration.  Regular service should resume on or about August 16.  

Meantime, lest readers be bored, a little something to ponder:

Depending who you ask, there’s a 20 to 50 percent chance that you’re living in a computer simulation. Not like The Matrix, exactly – the virtual people in that movie had real bodies, albeit suspended in weird, pod-like things and plugged into a supercomputer. Imagine instead a super-advanced version of The Sims, running on a machine with more processing power than all the minds on Earth. Intelligent design? Not necessarily. The Creator in this scenario could be a future fourth-grader working on a science project.

Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom argues that we may very well all be Sims. This possibility rests on three developments: (1) the aforementioned megacomputer. (2) The survival and evolution of the human race to a “posthuman” stage. (3) A decision by these posthumans to research their own evolutionary history, or simply amuse themselves, by creating us – virtual simulacra of their ancestors, with independent consciousnesses…

Read the full story– complete with a consideration of the more-immediate (and less-existentially-challenging) implications of “virtualization”– and watch the accompanying videos at Big Think… and channel your inner-Phillip K. Dick…

Y’all be good…

Mission Statement for (Roughly) Daily…

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My work explores the relationship between new class identities and midlife subcultures.

With influences as diverse as Kierkegaard and Francis Bacon, new combinations are generated from both explicit and implicit layers.

Ever since I was a student I have been fascinated by the theoretical limits of relationships. What starts out as triumph soon becomes corroded into a hegemony of power, leaving only a sense of nihilism and the chance of a new beginning.

As temporal phenomena become clarified through emergent and personal practice, the reader is left with a statement of the edges of our era.

Readers can create their own statements– for use in funding applications, exhibitions, curriculum vitae, websites, and the like– at Arty Bollocks Generator (an entry on the 10K Apart Challenge— in which developers built apps like this one in less than 10 kilobytes).

As we plan our next retreats, we might recall that it was on this date in 1978 that UNICEF named the rock group Kansas “Deputy Ambassadors of Goodwill.”  (Music historians have mused that, had the band operated with the benefit of a compelling artistic mission statement, they might well have joined the likes of Summer Sanders and Tami Erin as full Ambassadors.)

“Carry On Wayward Son” (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

 

News you can lose!…

From PR Gnus, an illustration of what one can do with the digital equivalent of scissors and some tape:  NPR News, remixed:

They’re all amusing, but one might start with, say, #90…  (TotH to our friends at Laughing Squid)

As we choose our thank-you gifts, we might recall that it was on this date in 1970 that the first true Heavy Metal rock album appeared– the eponymously-titled Black Sabbath.  (The band– which introduced the world to Ozzy Osbourne– had originally been called Earth, but changed it’s name to avoid confusion with another band playing under that name; they chose “Black Sabbath” in homage to a Boris Karloff horror film.)

“the worst of the counterculture on a plastic platter”
– Robert Christgau, Village Voice

Your correspondent is off to realms currently under a communications-inhibiting blanket of snow and ice.  Thus these missives may be sporadic for the next week or so… with apologies in advance for any interruptions in service, he notes that readers will have curling (and the rest of the Olympics) to amuse them during any such interstice.

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