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Posts Tagged ‘rock

“Never miss a good chance to shut up”*…

 

 

Death metal band Dead Territory performing 4’33”, a 1952 composition by John Cage.

Written for any instrument or combination of instruments, the score instructs the performer(s) not to play their instrument(s) during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements.  Though often referred to as as “four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence,” the purpose of the piece is to focus the audience’s ears on the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed.

[TotH to The Whippet]

Black Sabbath, arguably the first heavy metal band, is turning 50 this year…

Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi credits a welding accident with the creation of the band’s signature sound. A machine at the factory where he worked as a teenager chopped off the tops of two of his fingers, which could have ended his guitar-playing days. But he fashioned thimbles with plastic and leather and put lighter-gauge strings on his guitar, down-tuned so they were looser and easier to play. The low, sludgy riffs he went on to write set the tone for metal music to this day…

The history of headbanging: “Heavy Metal.”

* Will Rogers

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As we savor the sounds of silence, we might recall that it was on this date in 1967, in Portland, that The Who began their first U.S. tour… as the opening act for Herman’s Hermits.  The Who played “Pictures of Lily” (a power-pop tune about masturbation) and their guitar-smashing finale, “My Generation” to warm the crowd for Peter Noone and his crew singing “There’s a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)” and “I’m Henry VIII, I Am.”

42321-photo-of-pete-townshend-and-who source

 

Written by LW

July 14, 2019 at 1:01 am

“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected”*…

 

populationmap

Change in population aged 65 and older, 2010-2023. [Screenshot: ESRI]

 

We’re all getting older. It’s the one thing that every single person alive right now has in common. But we’re also getting older as a population, with Americans both living longer and having fewer children. Census projections show a major demographic shift already underway and accelerating in the years to come.

At the same time, populations are not aging evenly, and issues related to aging will impact individual communities in vastly different ways, boosting economic opportunity in some areas while putting a strain on social services in others.

For instance, real estate developers that invest in progressive senior housing projects now could benefit down the road as demand for modern facilities that cater to active seniors grows. Similarly, American tech companies will see opportunity in developing innovative high-tech solutions for senior care, such as health-monitoring devices, ride-share services aimed at seniors, and care-bots. (Take a look at how Japan has embraced high-tech solutions for its aging population for more on how that might play out in the United States.)

On the flip side, social safety nets are likely to face increasing financial challenges with the continued retirement of America’s Baby Boomers, the youngest of whom will reach 67 by 2031. As that happens, rural counties—where people on average rely on Social Security as a larger portion of their overall income—may disproportionately feel the economic effects of aging.

One way to sort out who will be most impacted by aging is to look at age demographics across the country and how they will change over time…

America is aging, but not evenly: “7 maps that tell the incredible story of aging in America.”

See also this essay by Don Norman, the 83 year-old dean of user-centered design (author of The Design of Everyday Things and a former VP at Apple): “I wrote the book on user-friendly design. What I see today horrifies me.”

* Robert Frost

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As we stand up to senescence, we might recall that it was on this date in 1965 that Peter Townsend wrote “My Generation”– inspired by the Queen Mother, who’d had his 1935 Packard hearse towed off a street in Belgravia because she was offended by the sight of it during her daily drive through the neighborhood.  The song was released as a single later that year and became first a hit, then an anthem.

 

Written by LW

May 19, 2019 at 1:01 am

“In our world of big names, curiously, our true heroes tend to be anonymous”*…

 

Carol Kaye2

Carol Kaye, in a Wrecking Crew session

 

Beginning with “La Bamba,” [Carol Kaye], best known as a bassist with the Wrecking Crew [see here], played on more hits than you can name: sessions with the Beach Boys (Pet Sounds), Ike & Tina Turner (“River Deep, Mountain High”) and Simon & Garfunkel (“Feelin’ Groovy”), soundtracks with Quincy Jones, and the theme songs for Mission: Impossible, Batman, Shaft, and M*A*S*H...

See also this remarkable interview with Carol:

[TotH to the ever-illuminating The Morning News]

* Daniel J. Boorstin

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As we give credit where credit is due, we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that The Turtles played a formal White House ball at the request of their fan, President Nixon’s elder daughter.  The New York Times reported:

Tricia Nixon covered her face with a white lace mask, shimmering with crystals and held like a lorgnette, to greet some 450 of Washington’s prettiest, handsomest, slimmest 20-to-30-year-olds at a masked ball tonight, her first White House party.

It was likely one of the stranger social gatherings in the recent history of that august home.  The Turtles’ web site recounts:

Kids with obvious SDS connections were passing out literature, while Tricia was dashing around with all the genuine charm of a Cinderella. Despite the fact that the tipsy [Mark] Volman kept falling off the stage and was challenged by Pat Nugent because Mark was trying to pick up on Lucy Baines Johnson,

Still, the Turtles were a big enough hit to be asked by one of the guests, the daughter of the president of U.S. Steel, to play at her coming out party.

Tricia Nixon dances with her date, U.S. Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr., at her masked ball

The Turtles on the cover of their 1969 album “Turtle Soup.” (Mark Volman, second from left)

source

 

Written by LW

May 10, 2019 at 1:01 am

“One of These Days”*…

 

Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground at The Record Plant on May 6, 1969, during a session for VU. L to R: Doug Yule, Lou Reed, Maureen Tucker, Sterling Morrison, engineer Gary Kellgren

 

The Velvet Underground album VU is the binding agent in a career of releases that differ so dramatically one from another as to be almost artistic reversals. VU has the dark majesty of The Velvet Underground & Nico, the neurotic strut (if not the head-wrecking dissonance) of White Light/White Heat, the tenderness and emotional insight of The Velvet Underground, and the pure pop sensibility of Loaded. In its 10 tracks, it contains refined versions of what the band did well during the four years they lasted. The irony is that VU wasn’t released until more than a dozen years after the Velvet Underground disbanded.

Recorded primarily in 1969, after the ouster of multi-instrumentalist John Cale, and later cannibalized by principal songwriter Lou Reed for his solo career, the recordings that make up VU were shelved for 16 years. They stayed in the MGM vaults, mostly unmixed, until discovered during the process of reissuing the band’s catalog in the early 80s. As a result, VU benefitted from much improved audio technology and was released to a world not only better prepared for the Velvet Underground, but one that had largely absorbed its lessons. The album made a beautiful tombstone for the band’s career, at a time when all the members were alive to see it…

The story of an epic album that almost never was: “Shelved: The Velvet Underground’s Fourth Album.”

* Lou Reed (title of one of the cuts on VU)

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As we slip on the headphones, we might recall that it was on this date in 1973 that Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert premiered on U.S. television, featuring a performance by the Rolling Stones. It ran until 1981.

Don-Kirshner-logo-red-SM-v1 source

 

Written by LW

September 27, 2018 at 1:01 am

“Take a sad song and make it better”*…

 

A rehearsal of the musical <i>Hair</i> at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, September 1968

A rehearsal of Hair.  Premiered in late 1967; photo taken, 1968

 

Certain years acquire an almost numinous quality in collective memory—1789, 1861, 1914. One of the more recent additions to the list is 1968. Its fiftieth anniversary has brought a flood of attempts to recapture it—local, national, and transnational histories, anthologies, memoirs, even performance art and musical theater. Immersion in this literature soon produces a feeling of déjà vu, particularly if one was politically conscious at the time (as I was).

Up to a point, repetition is inevitable. Certain public figures and events are inescapable: the tormented Lyndon Johnson, enmeshed in an unpopular, unwinnable war and choosing to withdraw from the presidential stage; the antiwar candidacies of Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy; the intensifying moral challenges posed by Martin Luther King; the assassinations of King and Kennedy; the racially charged violence in most major cities; the police riot against antiwar protesters (and anyone else who got in their way) at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; the emergence of right-wing candidates—George Wallace, Richard Nixon—appealing to a “silent majority” whose silence was somehow construed as civic virtue. And the anticlimactic election: the narrow defeat of Hubert Humphrey by Nixon, who promised to “bring us together” without specifying how.

What togetherness turned out to mean was an excruciating prolongation of the war in Vietnam, accompanied by an accelerating animosity toward dissent. The effort to satisfy the silent majority by exorcising the demons of 1968 would eventually lead to the resurgence of an interventionist military policy, the dismantling of what passed for a welfare state, and the prosecution of a “war on drugs” that would imprison more Americans than had ever been behind bars before.

Revisiting this story is important and necessary. But difficulties arise when one tries to identify who those demons actually were…

Rutgers professor Jackson Lear considers several attempts to distill the lessons of the late 60s: “Aquarius Rising.”

Special bonus: film critic J. Hoberman on why, in 1968, an especially rich year for cinema, Night of the Living Dead was his pick for best movie.

* The Beatles, “Hey Jude”

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As we Let The Sunshine In, we might recall that on this date in 1968, our post’s title source, “Hey Jude,” sat at #2 on the pop chart– just ahead of “1,2,3, Redlight” by the 1910 Fruitgum Co. at #3 and The Rascals’ “People Got To Be Free” at #4… and just behind that week’s #1, “Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Jeannie C. Riley.

jeannie-c-riley-harper-valley-pta-1968-a source

 

Written by LW

September 14, 2018 at 1:01 am

“I like to open people’s eyes”*…

 

The #PurpleSyllabus presents essential topics, readings, and multimedia related to Prince. Prince’s impact and influence spreads across nearly all aspects of society and culture. This syllabus presents works written by scholars and journalists across diverse topics. Our hope is that this syllabus will serve as a resource for teachers and curriculum designers looking to infuse their classrooms and courses with Prince content.

Created by Prince fans affiliated with the University of Minnesota Libraries in conjunction with the Prince From Minneapolis Symposium

Dive deep at “The #PurpleSyllabus.”

* Prince

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As we acclaim The Artist, we might recall that it was on this date in 2015 that Prince staged a Dance Rally 4 Peace at Paisley Park to pay tribute to Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American who died in police custody after his arrest in Baltimore, and to show support for the activists protesting his death.  With his backup band 3RDEYEGIRL, Prince performed a 41-minute concert including his protest song “Baltimore,” which was inspired by Gray’s death.

 source

 

Written by LW

May 2, 2018 at 1:01 am

“Superstition is the poetry of life”*…

 

Charles Dickens
Slept Facing North

Charles Dickens (1812–1870) carried a navigational compass with him at all times and always faced north while he slept—a practice he believed improved his creativity and writing.

Nine other personal peculiarities at “Ten Superstitions of Writers and Artists.”

* Johann Wolfgang Goethe

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As we knock on wood, we might spare a thought for Michael “Mick” Ronson; he died on this date in 1993.  A guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and producer, he is best remembered as the foil to David Bowie in his breakout years, the leader of the Spiders from Mars.  But Ronson also served as arranger and occasional producer on Bowie’s work.  He went on to a successful career as a session musician recording with the like of Ian Hunter, John Mellencamp, Elton John, and Morrissey, and as a sideman in touring bands with Van Morrison and Bob Dylan (Ronson was the anchor of the Rolling Thunder Revue band).  He wrote and recored successful solo albums, and produced albums for acts including Ellen Foley, Roger McGuinn, Morrissey, and many others.

Ziggy and the Spider

source

 

Written by LW

April 29, 2018 at 1:01 am

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