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Posts Tagged ‘Velvet Underground

“That’s what music’s all about, messing with people’s heads”*…

 

Musicians and dancers, stair riser, Pakistan, first century.

I look at music and language in their deep histories, reaching back to a point before there was any music or language in their modern forms. So we’re talking, say, a 500,000-year stretch, perhaps all the way back to Homo heidelbergensis. I see the antecedents of these things falling into place along parallel tracks that overlap one another but are not the same track, and I follow the parallelism and the distinctness of those tracks from a very deep period. Which is to say that what we are left with as human beings in the world today, as the product of those tracks, is in fact a set of overlapping yet distinct capacities, functions, and capabilities in dealing with our world and our environment and in our social interactions with each other.

And so these things are loaded into both language and music in very complex but different ways…

Explore the deep history of humans and music with Gary Tomlinson, author of A Million Years of Music: “The Prehistory of Music.”

* Jimi Hendrix (whose third album, Electric Ladyland, was released on this date in 1968)

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As we get the beat, we might recall that it was on this date in 1965 that the Velvet Underground (see also here and here) made their live debut, playing at Summit High School in New Jersey; the group was paid $75 for the show.

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“I don’t care what they do with my book so long as the flippin check clears”*…

 

What do Ray Bradbury, Madeleine L’Engle, Arthur Hailey, Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Salvador Dali and Dick Cheney’s wife have in common? They all appear on the annual BookFinder.com list of the top 100 most searched for out-of-print books.

As usual, the list is topped by Madonna and her famous spiral-bound Sex photo-book, which is still in demand 22 years after its publication. Putting aside the pop star and her sexual antics with Naomi Campbell and Vanilla Ice, the list offers an interesting snapshot of American culture, including guns (four books), needlework (five), food (three) and art (six). The gun-related books include an example of pro-gun lobby fiction called Unintended Consequences by John Ross – a firearms enthusiast who, according to his website, “fires upwards of 20,000 rounds of ammunition per year.” Stephen King has four titles on the list, including Rage, which will never be brought back into print as it concerns school shootings…

See the full list, and read more background at “The top 100 most searched for out-of-print books in 2013.”

(Image above from The Afronauts, a photography book by Cristina de Middel that reimagines the bizarre true story of the 1964 Zambian space program.)

* Chuck Palahniuk

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As we adopt orphan books, we might send masterly birthday greetings to Lewis Allan “Lou” Reed; he was born on this date in 1942.  A musician, singer, and songwriter, Reed had a successful solo career, landing two entries on Rolling Stone‘s list if “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”  But his biggest impact may have come in his first gig, as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground.  The band’s influence on rock, art rock and punk was memorably captured in Brian Eno’s observation that although the first Velvet Underground album may have sold only 30,000 copies in its first few years, “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.”

 Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side

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Written by LW

March 2, 2014 at 2:02 am

From the Plague-On-Both-Their-Houses Department: It’s come to this…

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The Andy Warhol banana that graced the cover of the Velvet Underground’s 1967 debut album has become the subject of litigation between the band and the artist’s estate.

In a nutshell, the estate believes that it holds the copyright, and is licensing the image (for everything from iPad covers to Absolut ads).  The band argues that there is no copyright (as the original ran without a notice), but that the image is protected as a trademark of the band– so the estate is infringing.  (There’s a more detailed recounting of situation and its background at Final Boss Form.)

One is tempted to launch into a discussion of the case as a symptom of the diseased state of intellectual property law and practice in the U.S.; but your correspondent has already burned pixels doing that, e.g., here, here, and here.  Suffice it here to quote the ever-insightful Pop Loser: “This whole story is an excellent metaphor for the world we currently live in and should probably make us all a little bit sad.”

 

As we re-up our affiliation with Creative Commons and write our Representatives to oppose SOPA, we might recall that it was on this date in 1919 that “The Noble Experiment”– the national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol that was better known as “Prohibition”– was ratified (the 18th Amendment).

By the time it was repealed in 1933, organized crime had become a major feature of American city life, and the American public had adopted the invented-for-the-occasion word “scofflaw.”

Ku Klux Klan: “Defender of the 18th Amendment” (source)

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