Video of the Week: Led Zep Mashup–The Howl of 80 “Black Dogs”

80 cover versions of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog”, stitched together by the Israeli mashup artist known as Kutiman. Individually, probably none would make for scintillating viewing. Together, they are pretty awesome.

Video

Video of the Week: Tom Waits and Cookie Monster Are Same Person

Tom Waits as the Cookie Monster singing, “God’s Away On Business”

Video

Video of the Week: Guitarist Randy Bachman Demystifies the Opening Chord of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

The following is reprinted from the website Open Culture:

You could call it the magical mystery chord. The opening clang of the Beatles’ 1964 hit, “A Hard Day’s Night,” is one of the most famous and distinctive sounds in rock and roll history, and yet for a long time no one could quite figure out what it was.

In this fascinating clip from the CBC radio show, Randy’s Vinyl Tap, the legendary Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive guitarist Randy Bachman unravels the mystery. The segment is from a special live performance, “Guitarology 101,” taped in front of an audience at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto back in January, 2010. As journalist Matthew McAndrew wrote, “the two-and-a-half hour event was as much an educational experience as it was a rock’n’roll concert.”

One highlight of the show was Bachman’s telling of his visit the previous year with Giles Martin, son of Beatles’ producer George Martin, at Abbey Road Studios. The younger Martin, who is now the official custodian of all the Beatles’ recordings, told Bachman he could listen to anything he wanted from the massive archive–anything at all.

Bachman chose to hear each track from the opening of “A Hard Day’s Night.” As it turns out, the sound is actually a combination of chords played simultaneously by George Harrison and John Lennon, along with a bass note by Paul McCartney. Bachman breaks it all down in an entertaining way in the audio clip above.

Video

Adele Is Queen…What Will It Mean?

  

As we’ve seen in the news in recent years, regime changes can be bloody affairs. And Adele’s takeover of pop music, confirmed by her Grammy Awards coronation in February, won’t be without its collateral victims.

Take a look at the following two lyric excerpts:

L-U-V Madonna!/Y-O-U You wanna?/I see you coming and I don’t wanna know your name/L-U-V Madonna/I see you coming and you’re gonna have to change your game/Y-O-U You wanna?…Give me all your lovin’ give me your love give me all your love today/Give me all your lovin’ give me your love Let’s forget about time and dance our lives away

and:

You know how the time flies/Only yesterday was the time of our lives/We were born and raised in a summer haze/Bound by the surprise of our glory days…Nothing compares, no worries or cares/Regrets and mistakes, they’re memories made/Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?/Nevermind I’ll find someone like you/I wish nothing but the best for you, too/Don’t forget me, I begged, I remember you said/Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead

How bizarre that of the two sets of lyrics, one sung by a 21-year-old, the other by a 53-year-old, the lyric of greater depth, gravitas and authenticity belongs to the kid singer. How strange to see a woman well over twice that kid’s age try to stay in the game with a fluff piece that evokes Toni Basil’s mock-cheerleading novelty “Mickey”? And how supremely ironic that Madonna’s lyric taunts: you’re gonna have to change your game. Well, Adele currently holds three of Billboard’s top ten pop slots, with songs that have spent a collective 117 weeks on the chart. Madonna’s “Give Me All Your Luvin'”, aided by massive Super Bowl halftime exposure, peaked at number ten last week, then sank like a proverbial stone to 39 in this, only its third week on the chart. Game over.

And it’s not only, or even primarily, Adele’s songs that have sounded the call of this revolution. Although it helps to be writing and singing songs that stand with pop classics of bygone eras–like “Rolling in the Deep” certainly does and will–it’s that voice that’s the real game-changer. People have already gone under in the wake of it. Like Lana Del Rey.

It seems like just late this morning that a “new” model of pop success was emerging: the DIY approach of uploading your guitar-and-software arrangements onto social media sites and (hopefully) going viral, then getting signed. Instant career. And instant cred–nothing seems more authentic than an artist who was discovered by fans before being discovered by a record label.

Then of course, labels started to see that cred as one more marketable commodity, and muddied the waters. Take the example of Lizzy Grant. She was renamed Lana Del Rey by her manager and her signing to Interscope Records went unannounced for 3 months to keep that “indie” cred intact while she was hyped as the next big thing. That part isn’t uncommon. Her currently ongoing flame-out, though, is atypical, and due in part to the aforementioned regime change. Cred is not as respected a currency as talent all of the sudden. Being a millionaire’s daughter probably hasn’t helped Del Rey in that regard, especially when she’s tried to present herself as a self-made artist who used to live in a trailer park. Regardless, she wasn’t ready prime time. She bombed on SNL in her national TV debut and subsequently postponed a 30-date tour.

In single-handedly raising the bar for talent and substance in pop music, even Adele’s less-than-supermodel-svelte appearance might be to her advantage. In a strange way it just drives home the point to fans that the music’s the thing. The quality of the music matters now–it’s depth, meaning and authenticity of performance–over style, image, artifice. And some artists who have gotten by without those qualities the past few years won’t in the next few. Having been given a whiff of something more real, fans will be sniffing around for fakes.

It will be interesting to see who’s left without a chair when the song stops.

Lady Gaga is safe: despite sharing with Del Rey a fake name and a reliance on a look, she actually has enough musical and especially songwriting talent to remain a mega-star. Plus she actually makes art out of the artifice. It’s actually part of her message, and although only her fans seem to understand she has a message, that’s not a real problem when your fans number in the millions. Britney Spears is more a product of writers and producers, but as long as she continues to work with the best ones in the business she’ll probably keep dropping great dance tracks and making videos people want to see. Ke$ha? She’s shown the ability to at least co-write hit songs time and again, even if she is sort of writing the same song every time. I guess we’ll see if the public tires of that shtick, or if her artistic vision reaches beyond songs about clubbing. If not, in twenty years’ time she might be this era’s KC & The Sunshine Band.

If Adele’s reign marks a shift toward music of greater resonance and meaning, I welcome it. Long live the queen.

And I did it all without shooting fireworks from my boobs!

Story Behind The Song: Rod Stewart–You’re in my Heart

rod 

Rod Stewart: “You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim)” (1977)

Listen here: http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/You+re+In+My+Heart+The+Final+Acclaim/3L3RKi?src=5

It seems Rod Stewart and his girlfriend du jour had conflicting ideas about the inspiration behind his 1977 hit. The following is reprinted from Tim Morse’s Classic Rock Stories:

Britt Ekland: We went out to dinner with Billy Gaff and a bunch of friends one night to St. Germaine’s, one of the poshest restaurants in Los Angeles. In the middle of the meal, Rod leaned over to me and whispered, “I’ve written a song for you”… No one took any notice as Rod softly sang the words into my ear. My eyes filled with tears. It was the loveliest song I had ever heard.

Rod Stewart: It wasn’t totally about Britt. The first verse could have been about Liz Treadwell. It could have been about anybody I met in that period–and there were a lot of them. It’s a very confused song in a way. It’s about a lot more than just women, it’s also about my love of soccer. That’s why my two favorite teams are mentioned at the end. The chorus is about Scotland. So it ends up being about three women, two football teams, and a country. And the line “You’ll be my breath should I grow old”–I think that must have been about my mum and dad.

Drink Me: ‘The Quietest Rock ‘n’ Roll Ever Made’

Listen to NPR’s “Dust-bin Bands” segment on 90’s Brooklyn duo Drink Me, the “dust-bin band” closest to my heart as well as my all-time favorite guitar-and-Fanta-bottle duo.

I consider myself fortunate to have seen them twice: first at Bloomfield Bridge Tavern in Pittsburgh and once more in a place called The Fez in Manhattan, where Jeff Buckley opened for them (I know). Mark Amft is alive and well and a high school teacher last I heard. Drink Me’s shtick is hard to describe but they sounded a little like Simon & Garfunkel with a sense of humor.

The term “Alternative” has never been properly applied in popular music. It should have been used to describe truly original artists like Drink Me.

“Ines” music video (most likely the only one they made):

 

Songs You May Have Missed #29

pelle

Pelle Carlberg: “I Love You, You Imbecile” (2007)

Swede Pelle Carlberg is a Swedish singer/songwriter with a wry point of view who hails from Sweden. Did I mention he’s Swedish?

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/03/01/songs-you-may-have-missed-345/

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2012/10/09/recommended-albums-26/

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: